Francine Blanchet-Sadri

Francine Blanchet-Sadri

Professor Emerita, 1990
Ph.D. in Mathematics, McGill University (1989)


Research: Theoretical Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Combinatorics

Research Overview

Professor Blanchet-Sadri is the leading researcher in algorithmic combinatorics on partial words. Her research has impact in areas such as computational biology and data compression. Partial words are sequences with wildcards (they also appear in the literature as strings with don’t cares). They provide a natural model for biological sequences due to the fact that data is not perfect (being incomplete or corrupted). Work on partial words is particularly challenging, the usual techniques on words are often not applicable to partial words. Dr. Blanchet-Sadri’s pioneering work has been to develop the right frameworks to tackle problems, frameworks that range over an impressive number of fields such as group theory, graph theory, combinatorics, algebra, number theory, computational complexity, topology, and analysis. She has settled a number of long-standing conjectures and has made other important and deep contributions that span not only many established topics such as subword complexity, pattern avoidance, unavoidable sets, and repetitions in strings, but also new emerging topics such as abelian complexity and abelian repetitions.

Selected Publications

(full list at

F. Blanchet-Sadri, S. Osborne:
Computing longest common extensions in partial words. Discrete Applied Mathematics (2018), in press

F. Blanchet-Sadri, M. Cordier, R. Kirsch:
Border correlations, lattices, and the subgraph component polynomial. European Journal of Combinatorics 68: 204-222 (2018)

F. Blanchet-Sadri, J. Lazarow, J. Nikkel, J. D. Quigley, X. Zhang:
Computing primitively-rooted squares and runs in partial words. European Journal of Combinatorics 68: 223-241 (2018)

F.~Blanchet-Sadri, M. Bodnar, B. De Winkle:
New bounds and extended relations between prefix arrays, border arrays, undirected graphs, and indeterminate strings. Theory of Computing Systems 60: 473-497 (2017)

F. Blanchet-Sadri, S. Munteanu:
Computing generalized de Bruijn sequences. Theoretical Computer Science 704: 42-61 (2017)


Dr. Blanchet-Sadri joined UNCG in 1990 shortly after obtaining her PhD. Her recent research activities and interests are in string algorithms and combinatorics on words, where she focuses on partial words which have both theoretical and practical importance since they can model data that is not perfect but corrupted. She has written the authoritative book in algorithmic combinatorics on partial words, has published extensively in major journals, and has presented many invited and contributed talks at major international conferences. In addition to research grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, she has received many research awards (best paper, top cited article, outstanding contributions in mathematical sciences, etc.). Dr. Blanchet-Sadri has supervised more than 100 students in research projects. She has been a Professor at the International Ph.D. School in Formal Languages and Applications. She has been visiting renowned research labs such as the IRIF, Institut de Recherches en Informatique Fondamentale of University of Paris, France. She is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Foundations of Computer Science and the Journal of Automata, Languages and Combinatorics. She has served on the program committees of several international conferences which include AFL, CIAA, CPM, DCFS, LATA, and STACS.