Published: Oct. 19, 2022

Department of Computer Science Professor Daniel Larremore has been recognized by Popular Science as one of their "Brilliant 10" for 2022. The Brilliant 10 is an annual roster of early-career scientists and engineers who develop ingenious approaches to problems across a range of disciplines.

“The work in our lab is diverse and interdisciplinary, but it has one thing in common: we bring computation and math together as a team to solve real-world problems that we care deeply about, from infectious diseases to social inequalities,” said Larremore, who is also affiliated with the Biofrontiers Institute on campus. 

Larremore's work in computational epidemiology, in concert with lab members and cross-disciplinary partners, was instrumental to those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using mathematical models, he and colleagues showed the importance and value of COVID-19 rapid tests in studies published in Science Advances and The New England Journal of Medicine. 

Months later, he turned to vaccine prioritization, asking who should get the first doses to save the most lives? With collaborators and CU Boulder PhD student Kate Bubar, his team analyzed thousands of hypothetical vaccine rollout scenarios to choose the best strategy, communicating their work first to the World Health Organization in 2020, and then publishing their findings in Science in 2021.  

For these contributions, Larremore was honored with the Alan T. Waterman award from the National Science Foundation in 2021. The Waterman award is described by the NSF as "the nation's highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers" and it provides researchers with $1 million over five years for their research focus of choice. 

Larremore's lab is not bound to epidemiology, however. The lab focuses generally on developing statistically sound models to understand complex biological and social systems, keeping a tight loop between data and theory. 

This breadth of analysis is shown through Larremore's paper "Quantifying hierarchy and dynamics in U.S. faculty hiring and retention," published in Nature in September of 2022 in collaboration with CU PhD student Hunter Wapman and Computer Science colleague Professor Aaron Clauset. 

That paper reveals that a few prestigious institutions produce an outsized proportion of the faculty who end up becoming professors. This was also the subject of Larremore's Waterman lecture on Sept. 28 titled Trends in U.S. faculty hiring and retention from ten years of data: a study of prestige, diversity and inequality.