Joan Feigenbaum, newly appointed as the inaugural Grace Murray Hopper Professor of Computer Science, focuses her research on Internet algorithms, computational complexity, security and privacy, and digital copyright.
While at Yale, she has been the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded project called Privacy, Obligations and Rights in Technologies of Information Assessment, working with colleagues to design and develop a next generation of computer technology for handling sensitive information, as well as to create a conceptual framework for policymaking and philosophical inquiry into the rights and responsibilities of data subjects, data owners and data users. She has also been engaged in the Office of Naval Research-funded Stanford-Penn-Yale-Cornell Experiment, a project focusing on the design of new software and mechanisms for diffuse computer systems.
Feigenbaum has also been interested in fundamental problems in complexity theory that are motivated by cryptology, and she is co-inventor of the security-research area of "trust management." In addition, she has worked on basic algorithms for massive data sets, particularly those generated in network operations and businesses-to-consumer e-commerce.
Her Yale courses in computer science explore such topics as e-commerce, dealing with sensitive information and economics and computation, among others.
Feigenbaum graduated from Harvard University and earned her Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University. Between finishing her Ph.D. in 1986 and joining the Yale faculty in 2000, she worked for AT&T, where she participated broadly in the company's information sciences research agenda. She created a research group in the emerging area of algorithms for massive data sets and served as manager of the group for two years.
The computer scientist has been an organizer and participant in the National Academy of Sciences' "Frontiers of Science" symposia, and she has organized and chaired symposia sessions on information security and on economic aspects of computation at the annual meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She currently serves on the Scientific Council of the Web Sciences Research Institute, as a member-at-large of the executive committee of the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM) Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computational Theory, as vice chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Electronic Commerce, and as the program co-chair of the 2008 Sigcomm Workshop on the Economics of Networks, Systems and Computation.
Feigenbaum is a fellow of the ACM. She has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cryptology and has been an editorial board member for a number of professional journals. She also has been engaged in international conferences, lectures and other activities that celebrate women in computing science.