Blair D. Sullivan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NC State University. She is a member of the Data-Driven Science (DDS) cluster of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program (CFEP) and holds a Joint Faculty Appointment with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Sullivan is known for her work characterizing and leveraging relationships between local structure and global phenomena in graph theory and network science. Her research combines expertise in structural graph theory, efficient algorithms, and generative models to enable scalable analysis of complex networks. Her current research focuses on improving the understanding of intermediate-scale network structure, and using it to develop new practical (parameterized) algorithms for rigorous, robust characterization, comparison, anomaly detection, and feature approximation in real-world graph data. Sullivan’s work is highly interdisciplinary, and she has active collaborations in cybersecurity, computational neuroscience, quantum computing, biomechanical engineering, and social networks.

Prior to joining the NC State faculty, Dr. Sullivan was a Research Scientist in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2008-2013). Sullivan was recently named one of 14 Moore Investigators in Data-Driven Discovery (a 5-year, $1.5 million award), and has been recognized as a National Consortium for Data Science Data Fellow. She has received over $2.5 million in additional funding as PI to support her work on scalable graph algorithms, including grants from Department of Energy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency GRAPHS program. Sullivan has served on numerous organizing committees for Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics conferences, and plays an active role in activities at the National Science Foundation’s Mathematics Institutes (including SAMSI, ICERM, IMA, and MBI). She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 2008 as a Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellow, and B.S. degrees in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Georgia Tech in 2003.  

Research Areas

  • Algorithms and Theory of Computation
  • Data Sciences and Analytics


  • Ph.D. 2008, Princeton University, Mathematics
  • M.A. 2005, Princeton University, Mathematics
  • B.S. 2003, Georgia Institute of Technology, Computer Science
  • B.S. 2003, Georgia Institute of Technology, Applied Mathematics 


  • Moore Foundation Investigator in Data-Driven Discovery - 2014
  • NCDS Data Science Faculty Fellow - 2014
  • Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellowship & Dissertation Award - 2003-2007