Edward G. Coffman

Edward G. Coffman

Research Interest

Professor Coffman rejoined the Columbia University EE faculty in the summer of 2000. During most of the period since his first appointment at Columbia, he spent 20 years at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J. He is an IEEE fellow, an ACM fellow, and a distinguished member of technical staff (ret.) at Bell Labs. He is currently an editor for the Journal of Interconnection Networks, the Journal of Algorithms, and the Journal of Scheduling. In the past, he has also served as an editor for the Journal of the ACM and the SIAM Journal of Computing, among others. He has written well over 200 papers with well over a hundred different collaborators. As one of the builders of the SDC/ARPA time-sharing system, he qualifies as one of the many coinventors of general purpose time-shared computers and one of many coinventors of computer networking.


  • Ph.D., Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles (1966)
  • M.S., Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles (1961)
  • B.S., Mathematics, University of California at Los Angeles (1956)

Current Research Interests

  • Mathematical modeling and performance analysis of computer and communication systems
  • Competitive and average-case analysis of algorithms
  • Performance analysis of the Web

Relevant Work Experience

  • Systems programming, teaching, and research, System Development Corp. (1958-65)
  • Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University (1966-70)
  • Professor of Computer Science, Pennsylvania State University (1970-76)
  • Professor of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University (1976-77)
  • Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California at Santa Barbara (1977-79)
  • Mathematical Foundations of Computing Department, Bell Labs, Murray Hill, N.J. (1979-99)
  • Foundation Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Computing, New Jersey Institute of Technology (1999-2000)


E. G. Coffman, Jr., C. Courcoubetis, M. R. Garey, D. S. Johnson, P. W. Shor, R. R. Weber, and M. Yannakakis, ``Bin Packing with Discrete Item Sizes, Part I: Perfect Packing Theorems and the Average Case Behavior of Optimal Packings,'' SIAM J. Discrete Math. Vol. 13 (2000), 384-402.

Coffman, E. G., Jr., Predrag Jelenkovic, and Bjorn Poonen, "Reservation Probabilities," Advances in Performance Analysis, Vol. 2 (1999), 129-158.

Coffman, E. G., Jr., Feldmann, A., Kahale, N., and Poonen, B., "Computing Call Admission Capacities in Linear Networks," Probability in the Engineering and Information Sciences Vol. 13, (1999), 387-406.

Bruno, J. L., Coffman, E.G., Jr., Lagarias, J.C., Richardson, T.J., and Shor, P.W., "Processor Shadowing: Maximizing Expected Throughput in Fault Tolerant Systems," Math. Oper. Res. Vol. 24(1999),362-382.

Coffman, E. G., Jr., Liu, Z., and Weber, R. R., "Optimal Scheduling of Robots for Web Search Engines," J. Scheduling, Vol. 1 (1998), 15-29.

Coffman, E.G., Jr., Puhalskii, A.A., and Reiman, M.I., "Polling Systems in Heavy Traffic: A Bessel Process Limit," Math. Oper. Res., Vol. 23 (1998), 257-304.

Coffman, E.G., Jr., Kahale, N., and Leighton, F. T., "Processor-Ring Communication: A Tight Asymptotic Bound on Packet Waiting Times," SIAM J. Comput., Vol. 27 (1998), 1221-1236.

Bruno, J. and Coffman, E.G., Jr., "Optimal Fault Tolerant Computing on Two Processors," Acta Informatica, Vol. 34 (1997), 881-904.

Baker, B.S. and Coffman, E.G., Jr., "Mutual Exclusion Scheduling," Theor. Comput. Sci., Vol. 162 (1996), 225-243.

Coffman, E.G., Jr., Poonen, B., and Winkler, P., "Packing Random Intervals"Probability Theory and Related Fields, Vol. 102 (1995), 105-121.