Theory & Algorithms

Research in theoretical computer science focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures, as well as the study of fundamental barriers to efficient computation. Specific research interests include optimization, computational geometry and topology, approximation algorithms, cryptography and secure computation, network design, data mining, machine learning, finite-element mesh generation, and automatic software verification.


Theory & Algorithms research at Illinois pursues topics including:

  • Approximation algorithms
  • Combinatorial optimization
  • Computational geometry and topology
  • Mesh generation
  • Complexity theory
  • Cryptography
  • Algorithm design
  • Automata theory
  • Logic with applications to verification


To receive weekly reminders and announcements of Theory & Algorithms seminars, please sign up for the theory-seminar mailing list.


  • CS 173 Discrete Structures (every semester)
  • CS 373 Introduction to Theory of Computation (every semester)
  • CS 473 Fundamental (aka Undergrad) Algorithms (every semester)
  • CS 573 (Graduate) Algorithms (every fall)
  • CS 579 Computational Complexity (every spring)

Regularly offered special topics courses

  • CS 498 Logical Foundations of Computer Science (every two years?)
  • CS 598 Randomized Algorithms (every two years)
  • CS 598 Approximation Algorithms (every two years)
  • CS 598 Applied Cryptography (every year)


Jeff Erickson computational geometry and topology
Lenny Pitt  AI and theoretical computing
Chandra Chekuri algorithms, optimization
Brighten Godfrey networked systems theory, distributed algorithms
Sariel Har-Peled geometric approximation algorithms
Manoj Prabhakaran cryptography
Mahesh Viswanathan algorithm analysis and validation
Steven M. LaValle motion planning, control theory
Michael C. Loui computational complexity theory
Jiming Peng mathematical programming, optimization, approximation algorithms
Dan Roth machine learning
Sheldon Jacobson optimization, operations research
Todd Prentice Coleman network information theory
Martin Wong algorithm analysis and design
Aditya Parameswaran data management, data mining, database theory, interactive systems, crowdsourced computation

Lab Locations

  • The Theory & Algorithms lab is located in room 3303 Siebel Center.

Centers and Labs