Michael Sipser

Michael Sipser

Donner Professor of Mathematics

MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Phone: (617) 253-4992

Office: 2-438


Algorithms, Complexity Theory


Michael Sipser is a theoretical computer scientist. He is the Donner Professor of Mathematics, a member of CSAIL, and served as the Dean of Science at MIT from 2013 to 2020.

Sipser received a PhD in Engineering from the University of California/Berkeley 1980 under the supervision of Manuel Blum in the EECS Department, and a BA in Mathematics from Cornell University in 1974. He has been on the faculty of MIT since 1980, where he served as Chair of Applied Mathematics 1998-2000, and Head of the Mathematics Department 2004-2014. He was a research staff member at IBM Research in 1980, spent the 1985-86 academic year on the faculty of the EECS department at Berkeley and was a Lady Davis Fellow at Hebrew University in 1988. His research areas are in algorithms and complexity theory, specifically efficient error correcting codes, interactive proof systems, randomness, quantum computation, and establishing the inherent computational difficulty of problems. He is the author of the widely used textbook, Introduction to the Theory of Computation (Cengage, 2005).

His distinctions include the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award, 1984, 1989 & 1991, the MIT School of Science Student Advising Award, 2003, the U.C. Berkeley Distinguished Alumni Award, 2015.

In 2016 Professor Sipser received the MIT Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellowship in recognition of his long, outstanding commitment to undergraduate education. He also received the Irwin Sizer Award of the MIT Graduate School Council, with faculty colleague Tom Leighton, for the most significant improvements to MIT Education. -- in particular, for their development of the highly successful 18C major: Mathematics with Computer Science. Sipser is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as of 2009, and Fellow of the Association of Computer Machinery, 2017.