Michael Fischer

Michael Fischer


Professor of Computer Science
Room / Office: Watson 408
Office Address:
51 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 208285
New Haven, CT 06520
Phone: (203) 432-1270
Email: michael.fischer@yale.edu
  • Ph.D., Harvard University
  • M.A., Harvard University
  • B.S., University of Michigan


Michael Fischer's research interests include cryptographic protocols and security, theory of parallel and distributed systems, and discrete algorithms. Fischer is widely known for his work on the distributed consensus problem and for his "parallel prefix" algorithm that forms the basis of the "scan" operation fundamental to many parallel algorithms. Fischer directed one of the first Ph.D. dissertations on secure and verifiable e-voting (in the mid-1980's) and has developed information-theoretically secure cryptosystems based on random card deals. Fischer is currently studying trust from an algorithmic point of view with a goal of allowing e-commerce systems to automatically learn and utilize necessary trust relationships.

Fischer is chair of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the Max-Planck-Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrücken, Germany, and is Guest Professor of Wuhan University and member of Academic Committee of the State Key Laboratory on Software Engineering, Wuhan, China. He is a member of the editorial board of Acta Informatica. He is an ACM fellow and previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the ACM. He has served on the Advisory Committee to the National Science Foundation and on the board of directors of the Computing Research Association, where he was a founding member of the CRA subcommittee on the Status of Women in Computer Science. He is active in the Yale Figure Skating Club, having served many terms on the executive committee as president and director. Fischer has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Washington.

Selected Publications:

  • "A simple game for the study of trust in distributed systems," with Z. Diamadi, Wuhan University Journal of Natural Sciences, 6(1-2):72-82, 2001.
  • "Bounds on secret key exchange using a random deal of cards," with R.N. Wright, Journal of Cryptology, 9(2):71-99, 1996.
  • "Impossibility of distributed consensus with one faulty process," with N.A. Lynch, and M.S. Paterson, Journal of the ACM 32(2):374-382, 1985.
  • "Parallel prefix computation," with R.E. Ladner, Journal of the ACM 27(4):831-838, 1980.