JOSEPH F. TRAUB is the Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He chairs the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies. He has held positions at Bell Laboratories, University of Washington, and Carnegie Mellon University, as well as sabbatical positions at Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, California Institute of Technology, and the Technical University, Munich. Traub is the author or editor of ten monographs and some 120 papers in computer science, mathematics, physics, finance, and economics. In 1959 he began his work on optimal iteration theory culminating in his 1964 monograph, which is still in print. Subsequently he pioneered work with Henryk Wozniakowski on the computational complexity of continuous scientific problems (information-based complexity). In the 90s he did pioneering work on computational finance. One of his current research interests is quantum computing.
From 1971 to 1979 he headed the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon and led it from a critical period to eminence. From 1979 to 1989 he was the founding Chair of the Computer Science Department at Columbia. From 1986 to 1992 he served as founding Chair of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Academies, and is again serving as Chair. Traub was founding editor-in-chief, Journal of Complexity, in 1985 and continues in that capacity. In 2008 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Marconi Society.
Traub has received numerous honors, including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1985, the Emanuel R. Piore Gold Medal from IEEE, and the 1992 Distinguished Service Award, Computer Research Association.
He has been Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology, and received a Distinguished Senior Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He was selected by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome to present the 1993 Lezione Lincei. Traub received the 1999 Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology. The award was presented by Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a ceremony in New York City. In 2001 he received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Central Florida. He is the author of Complexity and Information.
Both his research and institution building have had a major impact on the field of computer science.