Theory and Algorithms

Theory and Algorithms - an illustrationTheoretical computer science develops efficient algorithms and explores fundamental barriers to efficient and secure computation. Advances in algorithms can provide dramatic performance gains, which are critically important as the era of Moore's Law—and its promise of ever-increasing processor speeds—draws to a close.

Our faculty develop algorithms to find optimal paths, trees, flows, clusters, and other important combinatorial structures in geometric and network data. For problems where computing the best possible solution is prohibitively expensive, we develop fast approximation algorithms to compute provably good solutions, and we explore the limits of what cannot even be approximated quickly. We develop algorithms that exploit geometric, algebraic, and topological properties of data that arise naturally in practice. Within cryptography, we develop protocols for secure multiparty computation and code obfuscation. In algorithmic game theory, we study the impact of strategic behavior among multiple agents. Our research, in addition to its fundamental importance, has many near-term applications in Computer Science and beyond.

CS Faculty and Their Research Interests

Timothy Chan (joining January 2017) computational geometry
Chandra Chekuri algorithms, optimization 
Jeff Erickson computational geometry and topology, algorithms 
Michael Forbes (joining June 2017) computational complexity
Brighten Godfrey networked systems theory, distributed algorithms
Sariel Har-Peled computational geometry, geometric approximation algorithms
Sheldon Jacobson optimization, operations research
Alexandra Kolla complexity theory, spectral methods for graph algorithms 
Ruta Mehta algorithmic game theory, mathematical economics, efficient algorithms
Leonard Pitt  AI and theoretical computing 
Manoj Prabhakaran cryptography, secure multi-party computation 
Matus Telgarsky machine learning theory
Tandy Warnow multiple sequence alignment, phylogenomics, metagenomics, and historical linguistics

Affiliate Faculty

Karthik Chandrasekaran, Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering combinatorial optimization, integer programming, probabilistic methods and analysis, randomized algorithms  
Negar Kiyavash, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering learning, statistical signal processing, and information theory; causality; network forensics 

Related Theory and Algorithms Research Efforts and Groups


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Theory and Algorithms Research News

Sheldon Jacobson

Making airport PreCheck free could save TSA millions: report

December 5, 2016  

Chicago Tribune - A study from CS Professor Sheldon Jacobson shows that making PreCheck free for all travelers could save the TSA millions of dollars.

Sheldon Jacobson

TSA could save money by waiving PreCheck fees for frequent travelers, study finds

December 5, 2016   There's an easy way to reduce lines at the airport, increase security, and save taxpayer dollars: waive the $85 fee for frequent filers to enroll in the TSSA PreCheck program.
Ronitt Rubinfeld

Donald B. Gillies Memorial Lecture in Computer Science: Ronitt Rubinfeld

November 29, 2016   Dr. Ronitt Rubinfeld will describe results on a variety of problems for which sublinear time and space local computation algorithms have been developed.

UI pollster: 'Once in a lifetime' upset

November 9, 2016  

The News-Gazette - CS Prof. Sheldon Jacobson talked about the aftermath of the presidential election. A near-total swing in undecided voters to Trump was 1 of 21 scenarios laid out at the Election Analytics website, but most analysts discounted it.

Sheldon Jacobson

Election Analytics: Clinton likely winner on Tuesday

November 2, 2016  

WCIA News - With just days until the election, Trump is gaining in the polls, but Election Analytics, led by Professor Sheldon Jacobson, still has Clinton leading in the Electoral College.