Robert Kleinberg Wins Sloan and Microsoft Fellowships
In April, Microsoft Research announced that Kleinberg is a recipient of a 2008 New Faculty Fellowship grant totalling $200,000. He is one of five young faculty selected by the fellowship program this year, from a pool of about 100 who were nominated by their universities. According to Microsoft, "the objective of the program is to stimulate and support creative research undertaken by promising researchers who have the potential to make a profound impact on the field of computing in their research disciplines." This year's winners are featured in a full page advertisement on the back cover of the Communications of the ACM.
Earlier this year, Kleinberg received a Sloan Research Fellowship, one of 118 awarded in science and technology this year by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Sloan awards "are intended to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in specified fields of science," including chemistry, biology, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics in addition to computer science. Thirty-five Sloan Fellows have won Nobel Prizes later in their careers.
Both Microsoft and the Sloan Foundation give recipients considerable freedom in planning the focus of their academic research. Kleinberg says "the most important resource that my research requires is interaction with gifted colleagues, and the fellowship funds give me a wide range of options such as supporting graduate students and postdocs, and organizing symposia."
Kleinberg says his research looks at "practical questions in computer science and operations research -- such as how to design more robust adaptive systems for web search, network routing, online auctions, and product recommendations -- and I address these questions using mathematically rigorous techniques that build on ideas from learning theory, game theory, and information theory." He is particularly interested in how algorithmic design is impacted by limits in the information available for decision-making.
Kleinberg received his bachelor's in mathematics from Cornell in 1997, graduating summa cum laude. He undertook Ph.D. study at MIT but after a couple of years there he left to work for Akamai, a company that provides a platform of thousands of specially-equipped computer servers that provide internet service for the online business of hundreds of enterprises worldwide. At Akamai (the word means 'clever' in Hawaiian), Kleinberg helped invent the algorithm that choses the server to respond when a user clicks on the website of one of those enterprises, taking into account Internet problem spots and vulnerabilities.
After several years at Akamai, during which he received several patents, Kleinberg returned to MIT, receiving his doctorate in 2005. After an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Berkeley, he returned to Cornell as an assistant professor. At Cornell he has also received a NSF Early Career Grant.
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