2 UB Faculty Members Named 1998 Guggenheim Fellows

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: May 7, 1998

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo faculty members Jin-Yi Cai, Ph.D., professor of computer science, and Nina Y. Fonoroff, visiting assistant professor of media study, have been selected to receive 1998 fellowship awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Cai and Fonoroff are two of 168 artists, scholars and scientists chosen from more than 3,000 applicants to receive the prestigious award.

Fellows are recommended by hundreds of artists, scientists and scholars approved by the foundation's board of trustees and are appointed on the basis of unusually distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Cai's primary research interest is computational complexity theory, the study of efficient computation using limited resources, such as time and space. He will use the award to study the relationship between average case complexity and worst case complexity, as well as the structural and computational properties of lattice problems and their application to secure public-key cryptography.

He is the only recipient in the U.S. and Canada awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in the field of computer science.

Cai was the recipient of a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1990 and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Computer Science in 1994. He also received the Hao Wang Prize at the 1997 International Computing and Combinatorics Conference.

A member of the Scientific Board for the Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity, Cai is associate editor of the Journal of Complexity and an editor of The International Journal of Foundations of Computer Science and The Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science. He has written and published more than 50 research papers.

Cai joined the UB faculty in 1993 after teaching at Yale and Princeton universities. He holds a doctoral degree in computer science from Cornell University, a master's degree in mathematics from Temple University and a certification of completion from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

He is a resident of Clarence.

Fonoroff, who teaches 16 mm filmmaking and film analysis at UB, will use the award to produce a short experimental film that explores the ways that primitive and contemporary technologies create and perpetuate romantic desire based on idealization and fantasy.

Fonoroff says that "Radiant Eyes" -- the film's working title -- creates a cognitive dissonance that raises questions in the mind of the viewer about the intersection between technology, narrative and gender.

Fonoroff was a 1993 fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and has received awards from the Jerome Foundation, the Louis B. Mayer Foundation and the Brooklyn Arts and Cultural Association.

A participant in numerous solo and group exhibitions and film festivals on national and international levels, she has taught at Syracuse University, the Massachusetts College of Art, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Hampshire College, Adelphi University and the University of California at San Diego before coming to UB in Fall 1997.

Fonoroff holds a master of fine arts degree in filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and a bachelor of fine arts degree in filmmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.

She lives on the West Side of Buffalo.