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Gwen Spencer earned a master's and doctorate in operations research at Cornell University. Prior to joining Smith College, she was a Neukom Institute postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College.
Spencer's research is in combinatorial optimization and approximation algorithms (algorithms whose performance is provably near-optimal for every possible instance). She is particularly motivated by generalizations of classical models that accommodate stochastic inputs and uncertain impacts of interventions in networks. Such features naturally arise in models of planning problems related to ecological systems and interventions in social networks.