Michael Lightner received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, all in electrical engineering. He is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado--Boulder, where he has taught since 1981. Lightner was instrumental in obtaining a gift of $250M for the University of Colorado to establish the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities – an organization devoted to improving the quality of life of people with cognitive disabilities.
His technical interests focus on developing and applying technologies to enhance learning. He has held positions at AT&T Bell Labs and IBM Watson Research. He has over eighty publications.
Lightner is also a professional musician and has performed at Carnegie Hall.
Lightner served as IEEE president in 2006.