Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences Professor Among Foremost Emerging Academic Inventors

Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences Professor Dennis Shasha in front of Oregon's Mt. Hood. Photo credit: Elsie Tai.

New York University Professor Dennis Shasha, who co-created software systems to combat epidemics, to prevent software piracy, and to create energy-efficient blockchains, has been named a senior member by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the organization announced today.

“NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists, and administrators from NAI Member Institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society,” the Academy said in announcing this year’s selections. “They also have growing success in patents, licensing, and commercialization, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors.”

Shasha, who holds 31 patents, is among 95 of the foremost emerging academic inventors identified by NAI’s Member Institutions and welcomed to the 2023 class of Senior Members.

“This latest class of NAI Senior Members, the largest to date, demonstrates a shared commitment to celebrate the diversity of the academic ecosystem, with 48 outstanding female and/or minority academic inventors included,” the Academy added. “Hailing from 50 NAI member institutions and research universities across the nation, this impressive class are named inventors on over 1200 issued U.S. patents with many of those being licensed and commercialized.”

Shasha, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and co-author, with Cathy Lazere, of Natural Computing: DNA, Quantum Bits, and the Future of Smart Machines (W.W. Norton, 2010), conducts research in biological computing, pattern recognition, and energy-efficient blockchains among other areas. A renowned puzzle creator, Shasha penned Scientific American’s “Puzzling Adventures” series and has authored six puzzle books, including Puzzles for Programmers and Pros (Wrox, 2007), Doctor Ecco’s Cyberpuzzles: 36 Puzzles for Hackers and Other Mathematical Detectives (W.W. Norton, 2004), and Puzzling Adventures: Tales of Strategy, Logic, and Mathematical Skill (W.W. Norton, 2005).

In 2021, Shasha and his colleagues created a software system, EpiPolicy, to combat epidemics, with the aim of maximizing public-health protections while minimizing economic and social costs. 

“I’m delighted to see how this program has expanded in just a couple years’ time,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of NAI. “It really reflects the shift we are seeing at universities where invention is not only being recognized, but prioritized as well.”

A full list of NAI Senior Members is available on the NAI website.

The 2023 class of Senior Members will be celebrated at NAI’s Annual Meeting, Diversifying Innovation for a Strong Economy and a Sustainable Future, taking place June 25-27, 2023, in Washington, D.C. 

About New York University
Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai and has 11 other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU is a leader in conducting research and providing education in the arts and sciences, engineering, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and professional studies, among other areas. For more, please visit its website

About the National Academy of Inventors
The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate, and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI has a close partnership with the USPTO and is one of three honorific organizations, along with the National Medals and National Inventors Hall of Fame, working closely with the USPTO on many discovery and innovation support initiatives.


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