The James L. Massey Research & Teaching Award for Young Scholars recognizes the outstanding achievement in research and teaching by young scholars in the Information Theory community. The award is named in honor of James L. Massey, who was an internationally acclaimed pioneer in digital communications and a revered teacher and mentor to an entire generation of communications engineers. He was one of the outstanding researchers and leaders of the IEEE Information Theory Society over a period of 50 years.
Mary Wootters is an assistant professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. She received a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2014, and a BA in math and computer science from Swarthmore College in 2008; she was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University from 2014 to 2016. Mary’s research interests are in information theory, theoretical computer science, and applied math, with notable and deep contributions to the theory of list-decodable error correcting codes and randomized algorithms for dealing with high dimensional data. Her works range from the theoretical end to practical work for cloud and DNA storage.
Mary has received numerous awards, including the Sumner B. Myers Memorial Prize (Best Ph.D. Thesis) in 2014, and the 2015 EATCS Distinguished Dissertation Award. In 2019, Mary received an NSF CAREER award and was named a Sloan Research Fellow. She was named a Google Research Scholar in 2021.
Mary has an exceptional teaching record for a young scholar. She has co-written an innovative textbook on numerical linear algebra, featuring accompanying Julia notebooks and friendly cartoon characters, with the aim of being as accessible as possible. Mary has also recorded a large number of YouTube videos on coding theory and on randomized algorithms, both related to her popular Stanford courses. She was named to the Stanford Tau Beta Pi Teaching honor roll in 2018-19, 19-20, and 20-21.