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Sandy Irani

On Jan. 18, 2023, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) named 57 of its members ACM Fellows, including Computer Science Professor Sandy Irani of UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). “The accomplishments of the 2022 ACM Fellows make possible the computing technologies we use every day,” reads the announcement, which recognizes Irani for contributions to the theory of online algorithms and quantum complexity theory.

“I feel truly honored to be named as an ACM Fellow,” says Irani, who spent the first part of her career working on online algorithms. She explains that with online algorithms, “the information about the problem to be solved comes in slowly over time and the algorithm must make irrevocable decisions with only partial information.” Such problems come up in many settings, but she focused on applications in computer systems such as memory management, power-management strategies and scheduling.

Then, about 15 years ago, Irani switched to working in the area of quantum computation. “Although the prospect of building large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computers seems much more likely than it did when I first entered the field, we still don’t have a very good understanding of what kinds of problems they can solve more efficiently than classical computers,” she says, noting that understanding this question has been a major theme of her research. “I have focused in particular on the complexity of problems inspired by condensed matter physics, which are anticipated to be one of the primary applications of near-term quantum computers.”

The ACM Fellows program recognizes the top 1% of ACM members for their outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community. Fellows are nominated by their peers, with nominations reviewed by a distinguished selection committee.

Irani joins the following ICS colleagues who are also ACM Fellows: Pierre Baldi, Michael J. Carey, Rina Dechter, Paul Dourish, Nikil Dutt, David Eppstein, Michael Franz, Michael Goodrich, Ramesh Jain, Gary Olson, Judy Olson, Padhraic Smyth, Richard Taylor and Gene Tsudik.

 Shani Murray