Nitya Mani studied mathematics and computer science at Stanford University and will pursue her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As an undergraduate, Nitya he explored the underlying properties of networks, called graphs, which characterize transportation systems, social media, biological systems, and other aspects of modern life. She is particularly interested in how nodes in a graph can be grouped to have many internal connections or to influence the rest of the network.
Nitya also uses machine learning (teaching computers to learn from experience) on networks with applications that include finding new diseases that an existing drug can treat. She also grapples with the challenging optimization problems that reside at the intersection of mathematics and computer science. Many everyday questions, including finding optimal pharmaceutical treatments and processing images, are optimization problems that are difficult to solve using current techniques.
Nitya’s honors include the Goldwater Scholarship, which supports undergraduates who intend to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, or engineering. She has also received the Karl Menger Award from the American Mathematical Society, and an honorable mention for the Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize for her undergraduate research contributions. Outside of class, she teaches mathematics and computer science to middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students. Mani, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, enjoys cooking, reading, and yoga.