Jeffrey Vitter

Jeffrey Scott Vitter is a U.S. computer scientist and academic administrator. Born in 1955 in New Orleans, Vitter has served in several senior higher education administration posts. He is a former chancellor of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a. 'Ole Miss').[1] He assumed the chancellor position on January 1, 2016. His formal investiture to the chancellorship took place on November 10, 2016, at the University of Mississippi's Oxford Campus.[2]

Jeffrey S. Vitter
17th Chancellor of the University of Mississippi
In office
January 1, 2016  January 3, 2019
Preceded byDaniel Jones
Succeeded byLarry Sparks (interim)
Glenn Boyce
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas
In office
July 1, 2010  December 31, 2015
Preceded byRichard W. Lariviere
Succeeded byNeeli Bendapudi
Personal details
Jeffrey Scott Vitter

(1955-11-13) November 13, 1955
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
ChildrenJillian, Scott and Audrey
ResidenceOxford, Mississippi
EducationUniversity of Notre Dame (BS)
Duke University (MBA)
Stanford University (PhD)
ProfessionEducator, computer scientist


Vitter was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He earned a bachelor of science in mathematics with highest honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1977, a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University under the supervision of Donald Knuth in 1980 and a master of business administration from Duke University in 2002.


From 1980 to 1992, Vitter progressed through the faculty ranks in the Department of Computer Science at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was awarded tenure in 1985 at the age of 29.

At Duke University in Durham, North Carolina from 1993 to 2002, Vitter held a distinguished professorship as the Gilbert, Louis, and Edward Lehrman Professor. He chaired the Department of Computer Science for eight and a half years.

From 2002 to 2008, Vitter was the Frederick Hovde Dean of the College of Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he led the development of two strategic plans, establishing a dual focus of excellence in core departments and in multidisciplinary collaborations. He oversaw net growth by roughly 60 faculty members and launched the collaborative design of an innovative outcomes-based college curriculum.

Vitter served at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas as provost and executive vice president for academics from 2008 to 2009, leading the 48,000-student university in the development of the institution’s academic master plan and launching initiatives affecting faculty start-up allocations, multidisciplinary priorities and diversity. He also oversaw A&M’s campus in Doha, Qatar.

Since 2010, Vitter was provost and executive vice chancellor and Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. As provost, Vitter was the chief academic and operations officer for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. He co-chaired the development of the KU strategic plan Bold Aspirations[3] and oversaw the creation of the first university-wide KU Core curriculum, expansion of the Schools of Engineering and Business, boosting multidisciplinary research and funding around four strategic initiatives, major growth of technology commercialization and corporate partnerships, and administrative reorganization and efficiency.

Vitter spent sabbatical leaves at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, CA; INRIA in Rocquencourt, France; Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris; Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey; Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, and INRIA in Sophia Antipolis, France.

On October 29, 2015, Vitter was unanimously named as the 17th chancellor of the University of Mississippi by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). He began duties on January 1, 2016.

He introduced a strategic plan named Flagship Forward[4], with initiatives including a $1 billion building program, multidisciplinary research networks of faculty called Flagship Constellations, annual Technology Summits, major community partnerships through the M Partner program, and extended capacity and reach of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The university began to look at Confederate symbols on campus[5] and established an Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. In December 2018, the university's status as a Carnegie R1 research university was reaffirmed.

In November 2018, Vitter announced that he would step down as chancellor to become a regular faculty member on January 4, 2019.[6]

Academic interests

Vitter is a computer scientist with over 300 books, journals, and conference publications, primarily on the design and mathematical analysis of algorithms dealing with big data and data science. His Google Scholar h-index is in the 70s, and he is an ISI highly cited researcher. He helped establish the field of I/O algorithms (a.k.a. "external memory algorithms") as a rigorous area of active investigation.[7] He has also made fundamental contributions in databases;[8] compressed data structures and indexing;[9] data compression, including adaptive Huffman coding,[10] arithmetic coding,[11] image compression,[12] and video compression;[13] hashing and search data structures;[14] randomized algorithms;[15] sampling and random variate generation;[16][17][18] prediction and machine learning;[19][20] and average-case complexity.[21]

Honors and awards

Vitter is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) (2018), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2009), a Fulbright Scholar (1998), a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (1996), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (1993), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1986), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator Awardee (1985), and a member of Phi Kappa Phi (2017), Sigma Xi (1983), and Phi Beta Kappa (1977).

Advisory roles

Vitter serves or has served on several advisory boards and boards of directors, including at the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate, the Center for Massive Data Algorithmics at Aarhus University, the School of Science and Engineering at Tulane University, the University of Mississippi Foundation, the University of Mississippi Research Foundation, Innovate Mississippi, the National Graphene Association, the Computing Research Association (CRA), and the Personalized Learning Consortium of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). He has chaired the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (ACM SIGACT) and the APLU Council on Academic Affairs, and he has co-chaired the CRA Government Affairs Committee.


Vitter and his wife Sharon have three children: Jillian, J. Scott Jr. and Audrey. He is a brother of former U.S. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and, as a hobby, is the family genealogist.[22]


  1. "Jeffrey Vitter Named UM Chancellor — Ole Miss News". 2015-10-29. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  2. "Investiture of Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter".
  3. Bold Aspirations: The Strategic Plan for the University of Kansas, 2012–2017,
  4. Flagship Forward: The University of Mississippi Strategic Plan,
  5. Ryback, Timothy (September 19, 2017). "What Ole Miss Can Teach Universities About Grappling With Their Pasts". The Atlantic.
  6. IHL Press Release (November 9, 2018). "IHL: Chancellor Vitter Announces Plan to Return to Faculty; Board Thanks Chancellor for His Service".
  7. J. S. Vitter, Algorithms and Data Structures for External Memory, Series on Foundations and Trends in Theoretical Computer Science, now Publishers, Hanover, MA, 2008, ISBN 978-1-60198-106-6.
  8. J. S. Vitter and M. Wang, Approximate Computation of Multidimensional Aggregates of Sparse Data Using Wavelets, Proceedings of the 1999 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data (SIGMOD), June 1999, 193-204. Selected for the 2009 SIGMOD Test of Time Award.
  9. R. Grossi and J. S. Vitter, Compressed Suffix Arrays and Suffix Trees, with Applications to Text Indexing and String Matching, SIAM Journal on Computing, 35(2), 2005, 378-407; extended abstract in STOC 2000, 397-406.
  10. J. S. Vitter, Design and Analysis of Dynamic Huffman Codes, Journal of the ACM, 34(4), October 1987, 825-845; extended abstract in FOCS 1985, 293-302.
  11. P. G. Howard and J. S. Vitter, Arithmetic Coding for Data Compression, Proceedings of the IEEE, 82(6), June 1994, 857-865.
  12. P. G. Howard and J. S. Vitter, Fast and Efficient Lossless Image Compression, IEEE Data Compression Conference (DCC), April 1993, 351-360.
  13. D. T. Hoang and J. S. Vitter, Efficient Algorithms for MPEG Video Compression, Wiley Series in Telecommunications and Signal Processing, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2002, ISBN 0-471-37942-5.
  14. J. S. Vitter and W.-C. Chen, Design and Analysis of Coalesced Hashing, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987, ISBN 0-19-504182-8.
  15. J.-H. Lin and J. S. Vitter, Epsilon-Approximations with Small Packing Constraint Violation, ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), May 1992, 771-782.
  16. J. S. Vitter, Random Sampling with a Reservoir, ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, 11(1), March 1985, 37-57.
  17. J. S. Vitter, An Efficient Algorithm for Sequential Random Sampling, ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, 13(1), March 1987, 58-67.
  18. Y. Matias, J. S. Vitter, and W.-C. Ni, Dynamic Generation of Discrete Random Variates, Theory of Computing Systems, 36(4), 2003, 329-358.
  19. J. S. Vitter and P. Krishnan, Optimal Prefetching via Data Compression, Journal of the ACM, 43(5), September 1996, 771-793.
  20. P. Krishnan and J. S. Vitter, Optimal Prediction for Prefetching in the Worst Case, SIAM Journal on Computing, 27(6), December 1998, 1617-1636.
  21. J. S. Vitter and P. Flajolet, Average-case Analysis of Algorithms and Data Structures, Chapter 9 in Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science, Volume A: Algorithms and Complexity, edited by Jan van Leeuwen, Elsevier and MIT Press, 1990, 431-524.
  22. "Welcome".
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