Christian Borgs

Christian BorgsDeputy Managing Director
Microsoft Research New England
Microsoft Corp.

Christian Borgs is the deputy managing director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He studied physics at the University of Munich, the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, the Institut des Hautes Etudes in Bures-sur-Yvettes, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics in Munich.  He received his Ph.D. in mathematical physics from the University of Munich, held a postdoctoral fellowship at the ETH Zurich, and received his Habilitation in mathematical physics from the Free University in Berlin.  After his Habilitation he became the C4 Chair for Statistical Mechanics at the University of Leipzig, and in 1997 he joined Microsoft Research to co-found the Theory Group.   He was a manager of the Theory group until 2008, when he co-founded Microsoft Research New England.

 

Christian Borgs is well known for his work on the mathematical theory of first-order phase transitions and finite-size effects, for which he won the 1993 Karl-Scheel Prize of the German Physical Society.  Since joining Microsoft, Christian Borgs has become one of the world leaders in the study in phase transitions in combinatorial optimization, and more generally, the use of methods from statistical physics and probability theory in problems of interest to computer science and technology.  He is one of the top researchers in the modeling and analysis of self-organized networks (such as the Internet, the World Wide Web and social networks), as well as the analysis of processes and algorithms on networks.  His current interests include the following areas:

  • Graph theory, structural and dynamical properties of networks.
  • Mathematical theory of growing graphs sequences.
  • Algorithmic game theory and recommendation systems.
  • Phase transitions in combinatorics and theoretical computer science.
  • Belief propagation and applications in systems biology.
  • Analysis of Monte Carlo Markov chains .

His most recent research includes game theoretic models of online social networks, the development of pricing algorithms to incentivize energy conservation in cloud computing, the analysis of local graph algorithms, and the development of methods to reconstruct gene regulatory networks in order to find potential drug targets for cancer treatment.   On the more mathematical side, he has been one of the founders of the area of convergent graphs sequences, a field which characterizes the properties of sequences of growing networks and studies the properties of their limiting structures.

Christian Borgs has authored about 120 research papers and is named as an inventor on a litle over 30 patents.  Among the honors he has received are a scholarship from the German National Merit Foundation, the above mentioned Karl-Scheel Prize, and the Heisenberg Fellowship of the German Research Council.  He has been invited by the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) to give a lecture series on "Statistical Physics Expansion Methods in Combinatorics and Computer Sciences." He has been a long-term visitor at Princeton, Harvard, and UCLA, and has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  Among the boards and councils on which he has served or is still serving are the Council of the University of Leipzig, the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Statistical Physics, the SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics, the Journal of Statistical Mechanics, the Annales de l'Institut Henri PoincarĂ© D , the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM), and the governing board of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications.  He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and the Association of the Advancement of Science.

Christian Borgs is married to Jennifer Chayes, who is also at Microsoft Research, and with whom he collaborates on most of his scientific work.  In his rare spare time, he enjoys art, theatre and classical music, as well as skiing and swimming.