Lenore J. Cowen


Dr. Lenore J. Cowen is  a Professor in the Computer Science Department  at Tufts University. She also has a courtesy appointment in the Tufts Mathematics Department. She received a BA in Mathematics from Yale and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from  MIT.  After finishing her Ph.D. in 1993, she was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow and then joined the faculty of the Mathematical Sciences department (now renamed the Applied Mathematics and Statistics department) at Johns Hopkins University where she was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2000. Lured by the Boston area, and the prospect of making an impact in a growing young department, she joined Tufts in September, 2001. Dr. Cowen has been named an ONR Young Investigator and a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.   Her research interests span three areas: Discrete Mathematics (since high school), Algorithms (since 1991 in graduate school) and Computational Molecular Biology (since 2000).

Contact Information


US Mail:                       Email: cowen at cs.tufts.edu
CS Department               
Tufts University               Phone: +1-617-627-5134
161 College Avenue             
Medford, MA 02155                Fax: +1-617-627-2227

New 12/13/06: confirmation that some email is getting eaten by CS department spam filters. While this is being worked on, if you didn't hear back from me, PLEASE try my alternate email address.
You can also reach me at firstname.lastname at gmail.com

Cowen research group page


Fall 2016 I am teaching an elective course which is an introduction to Computational Biology from the perspective of Big Data. The course webpage is here.

I am also teaching Discrete Mathematics which I also taught in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013 and Spring 2016.

Spring 2015, I also taught Advanced Algorithms which I last taught in Spring 2011 and in Spring 2009.

Fall 2015 I am teaching Computation Theory

Spring 2013 I am also taught an advanced graduate seminar in Computational Biology, focused on PPI networks, and protein structure alignment.

Fall 2011, I taught Comp 167-- Computational Biology--

Fall 2010, I taught Protein Bioinformatics Topics

Please note that the course links below point to the course web page for the *current* semester at Tufts, i.e. if it's a previous year, and I wasn't the last to teach it, you are going to be looking at the homepage for someone else's version of the class.

Spring 2008 I taught Algorithms.

Fall 2007 I taught one of my favorite courses: Graph Theory.

In Fall 2006, I taught Algorithms and an advanced topics seminar in Computational Biology.

In Spring 2006 I taught an introductory course in Cryptography

In Fall 2005 I taught Combinatorial Optimization

In Fall 2004 I taught Computational Biology (I also co-taught this class in Fall of 2002. )

Spring 2004 and Spring 2002 I taught an Advanced Algorithms class. Here's a little blurb.

Spring 2003 and Spring 2005 I taught and co-taught Theory of Computing

Fall 2002 I taught: Cryptography and Security and

Fall 2001 I taught COMP 15: Data Structures in C++.

Here are the classnotes for two of the graduate courses I taught at Hopkins: Approximation Algorithms and The Probabilistic Method.


What I work on

I would say that my research interests are probably far too broad for my own good. I have inherited my advisor's love of good problems, wherever they be found. Exploiting locality and approximate distance have been persistent themes, even across catagories, for example they have been used in our approach both to routing and to classification and clustering problems. Now I am finding that my work on networks and graph algorithms may have some interesting synergies with computational biology and functional genomics. Research interests include:

My research in computational structural bioinformatics is funded by NIH grant 1R01GM080330-01A1 . Previous recent grants from NSF (grant CCR0208629) funded work on approximate routing, and portions of my computational biology research were previously funded by an NSF Large ITR grant with me as the Tufts PI and Simon Kasif of BU as the main PI.

My Ph.D. advisor was Daniel J. Kleitman ; my Ph.D. students to date were Christine Cheng (JHU/1999), 1/2 Christopher Wagner (JHU/1999), Adam Cannon (JHU/2000), Arthur Brady (Tufts/2008), Anoop Kumar (Tufts/2010) and Noah Daniels, (Tufts/2013). My current Ph.D. students are Mengfei Cao , Andrew Gallant and Hao Zhang.

(My Erdos number is 2 (but so is everyone else's)).


Selected Preprints