A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Lipton's professional career has been primarily in academia. He has held faculty appointments at Yale University, the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton University before joining the faculty in the college of Computing at Georgia Tech. In addition to his computer science academic appointments, Dr. Lipton was the founding director of a computer science research laboratory for the Panasonic Corporation and is currently a chief consulting scientist at Telcordia (formerly known as Bellcore).
Dr. Lipton's research is primarily, but not exclusively focused on theory. In a recent paper which explored the power of automata-based proof systems, he explored one way to address the NP=co-NP questions which considered the length of proofs of tautologies in various proof systems. In this joint work with A. Viglas he considered proof systems defined by appropriate classes of automata. Dr. Lipton found that is general, starting from a given class of automata, it was possible to define a corresponding proof system in a natural way. One new and more powerful proof system was based on the class of push down automata. In this work, Dr. Lipton presented an exponential lower bound for oblivious read-once branching programs that resulted in a proof system more powerful than oblivious regular resolution.
Dr. Lipton has also made important contributions in the areas of program testing, software engineering and most recently, DNA computing. This latter area combines molecular biology and computer science. It is generally acknowledged that Dr. Lipton was one of the original pioneers in the field of DNA computing, along with Len Adleman.