NYU Tandon alumnus Erol Gelenbe decreed a Commander of the National Order of Merit of France

Graduate honored for track record as researcher, educator, and technology innovator


Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter Weiner

BROOKLYN, New York, Wednesday, July 3, 2018 –  New York University Tandon School of Engineering alumus and noted computer scientist Erol Gelenbe (’68, '70) today will be awarded the insignia of Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Merite (Commander of the National Order of Merit of France) by the decree of President Emmanuel Macron, for services to higher education and research.

Since graduating from NYU Tandon (at the time Polytechnical Institute of Brooklyn) with master’s and doctoral degrees in the field of computer science, Gelenbe has been celebrated for his pioneering work in computer systems and networks. He designed and patented the world’s first packet-voice telephone switch some 20 years before Zoom or Skype came into existence and designed and built the first random access Local Area Network that uses fiber optics connections some years before Ethernet became a de facto standard. Other fundamental contributions include his development of mathematical models known as G(elenbe)-networks for the analysis and optimization of communication networks with widespread applications like traffic re-routing and network optimization, the invention of the Random Neural Network with applications in deep learning, and adaptive network routing and anomaly detection both in networks and brain scans.

Gelenbe – who founded and directed the Modeling and Performance Evaluation of Computer Systems research group at the renowned INRIA research institution in France – is now a professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College, London. His many laurels include the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honor) from the French government, the Prix France-Telecom from the French Academy of Science (as the first computer scientist to garner the prize); the Association for Computer Machinery’s (ACM) special interest group in performance evaluation’s SIGMETRICS Achievement Award; the Mustafa Prize in Information and Communication Science and Technologies; the Oliver Lodge Medal from London’s Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); the Dennis Gabor Prize from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Meritorious Service Award and Computer Society Meritorious Service Award, and fellowships in the IEEE, ACM, and IET. Additionally, he is a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy and a Commander of Merit of the Republic of Italy, as well as a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters of Belgium; Polish Academy of Sciences; Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Turkish Academy of Sciences; National Academy of Technologies of France; and Academia Europaea, among others.

Erol Gelenbe speaking at podium
Erol Gelenbe speaks as French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal looks on.

“We are proud to count Erol Gelenbe as an alumnus and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor from the government of France,” said Associate Dean for Communications and Public Affairs Sayar Lonial. “His scientific rigor and many contributions to his field stand as examples to our current students, who will, I’m sure, be inspired to emulate him.”

Gelenbe will be presented with the Commander of the National Order of Merit of France by French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal. 

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu.