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Maria Klawe (pronounced CLAW-vay) is the fifth president of Harvey Mudd College (since July 1, 2006).[1] She was previously Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University.


Klawe was born in Toronto, lived in Scotland from ages 4 to 12, and then returned to Canada, living with her family in Edmonton, Alberta.[2] Klawe studied at the University of Alberta, dropped out to travel the world, and returned to earn her B.Sc. in 1973.[2] She stayed at Alberta for her graduate studies, and in 1977 she earned her Ph.D. there in mathematics.[3] She started a second Ph.D., in computer science, at the University of Toronto, but was offered a faculty position there before completing the degree.[2] She spent eight years in the industry, serving at IBM Almaden Research Center, in San Jose, California, first as a research scientist, then as manager of the Discrete Mathematics Group and manager of the Mathematics and Related Computer Science Department. She and her husband Nick Pippenger then moved to the University of British Columbia, where she stayed for 15 years and served as head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995, vice president of student and academic services from 1995 to 1998, and dean of science from 1998 to 2002. From UBC she moved to Princeton and then Harvey Mudd College. Previously a Canadian national, Klawe was among 5,996 persons who became citizens of the United States at a ceremony held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.[4] Later in 2009, she joined the board of directors of the Microsoft Corporation.[2][5]

In addition to her career as a scientist and academic, Maria is well known for her water color painting.[6]

Awards and honors

In 1996 Klawe was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2006, Klawe was inducted as a founding Fellow of the Canadian Information Processing Society.[7] She was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in a ceremony at the University of Alberta on June 12, 2007. The University of Ottawa also conferred an honorary doctorate to her in a convocation on June 8, 2008.


Some of Klawe's best-cited research works concern algorithms for solving geometric optimization problems,[8] distributed leader election,[9] the art gallery problem,[10] and the effects of gender on electronic game-playing.[11][12] She founded the Aphasia Project, a collaboration between UBC and Princeton to study aphasia and develop cognitive aids for people suffering from it, after her friend Anita Borg developed brain cancer.[13][14] Klawe's Erdős number is 1.[15]


  1. Maria Klawe Named Fifth President of Harvey Mudd College.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Semuels, Alana (March 15, 2009), "Microsoft did the math, chose her", Los Angeles Times: B2 .
  3. Maria Klawe at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. President Klawe Becomes U.S. Citizen
  5. Microsoft adds new board member
  6. [1]
  7. "CIPS Fellow Members". CIPS (the Canadian Information Processing Society). Retrieved April 02, 2010. 
  8. Aggarwal, Alok; Klawe, Maria M.; Moran, Shlomo; Shor, Peter; Wilber, Robert (1987), "Geometric applications of a matrix-searching algorithm", Algorithmica 2 (1–4): 195–208, doi:10.1007/BF01840359 .
  9. Dolev, Danny; Klawe, Maria; Rodeh, Michael (1982), "An O(n log n) unidirectional distributed algorithm for extrema finding in a circle", Journal of Algorithms 3: 245–260, doi:10.1016/0196-6774(82)90023-2 .
  10. Kahn, J.; Klawe, M.; Kleitman, D. (1983), "Traditional galleries require fewer watchmen", SIAM Journal on Algebraic and Discrete Methods 4 (2): 194–206, doi:10.1137/0604020 .
  11. Inkpen, Kori; Upitis, Rena; Klawe, Maria; Lawry, Joan; Anderson, Ann; Ndunda, Mutindi; Sedighian, Kamran; Leroux, Steve et al. (1994), "“We Have Never-Forgetful Flowers In Our Garden:” Girls’ Responses To Electronic Games", Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching .
  12. Inkpen, K.; Booth, K. S.; Klawe, M.; Upitis, R. (1995), "Playing together beats playing apart, especially for girls", Proceedings of CSCL .
  13. The Aphasia project web site.
  14. Cook, Michelle (February 5, 2004), "UBC Project Makes Life Easier for Those Suffering Aphasia", UBC Reports 50 (2) .
  15. Erdős Number Project

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