Lixin Gao Selected as 2021-22 Radcliffe Fellow

Lixin Gao
Lixin Gao

Lixin Gao, Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a 2021–22 fellow at Harvard Radcliffe Institute, joining an extraordinary group of artists, scientists, scholars and practitioners who will learn from and inspire one another in a year of discovery and interdisciplinary exchange in Cambridge.

Gao, who was named the Katherine Hampson Bessell Fellow in the Radcliffe program, will pursue an individual project in a community dedicated to exploration and inquiry. 

She will investigate how to perform data analytics on complex networks in a privacy-preserving manner. Performing analytics on the data is crucial but raises privacy concerns for people and organizations. The key challenge is that there is an underlying or hidden structure in the data that forms a complex network and the network can be exploited to discover private information. The ultimate goal is to gain a substantially better understanding of the capabilities of privacy-preserving computation on data analytics for complex networks.

Gao’s extensive research focuses data communication networks, multimedia computing and data-intensive computing. She was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and fellow of the Association of Computing Engineering (ACM), both highly selective achievements that are reserved for a small number of outstanding researchers. She has published more than 200 journal and conference publications, which have been cited in total more than 17,700 times, giving her an h-index of 58. (An h-index of 58 means that she has published 50 articles that have each been cited at least 50 times.) Her research has been supported through numerous external research grants from the National Science Foundation and industry. She has received the National Science Foundation CAREER award and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award. 

Gao earned her Ph.D. in computer science at UMass Amherst and joined the faculty in 2000 as associate professor after four years as assistant professor at Smith College. She was promoted to professor in 2007, and elevated to distinguished professor in 2018

“The 2021–2022 fellowship cohort is characterized by intellectual reach, excellence in scholarship, and creativity,” said Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin RI ’17, who is also the Daniel P. S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “Many of them are also focused on the most urgent problems of the day.

“In the wake of an unprecedented—and profoundly difficult—14 months, the challenges facing our society are daunting. Some of these challenges are new, others are merely new to the spotlight—deep and longstanding issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and its far-reaching consequences. Our newest class of fellows will reckon with this moment and its meaning, and they will push the limits of knowledge and practice across the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. We cannot wait to welcome them.”

The acceptance rate for the class, which represents nine countries, was 2.4%, from 1,383 applications. 

About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

Harvard Radcliffe Institute is a unique space within Harvard—a school dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines. Each year, the Institute hosts leading scholars, scientists, and artists from around the world in its renowned residential fellowship program. Radcliffe fosters innovative research collaborations and offers hundreds of public lectures, exhibitions, performances, conferences, and other events annually. The Institute is home to the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library,the nation’s foremost archive on the history of women, gender, and sexuality. For more information about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute, visit www.radcliffe.harvard.edu.