Michael J. Fischer is a computer scientist best known for his work on cryptography, algorithms and data structures, parallel and distributed computing and computational complexity. He earned a B.Sc in mathematics from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard University.
He has spent his career as an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an associate professor of electrical engineering and a professor of computer science at the University of Washington and Yale University.
His computer science research work has yielded important theoretical and practical applications for the creation of parallel algorithms and protocol for oblivious transfer. His most-cited work, “The string-to-string correction problem”, explores methods for string matching and parsing and formal grammars.
With colleagues Nancy Lynch and Michael Paterson, he was awarded the PODC Influential-Paper Award for their work on consensus problems. Their research found that if one processor crashes, consensus will be impossible.
Fischer also served as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of the ACM from 1982 to 1986 and is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. Today, he teaches courses in cryptography and computer security, object-oriented programming and internet-scale applications.
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