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 computational geometry
Chandra Chekuri algorithms, optimization 
Jeff Erickson computational geometry and topology, algorithms 
Michael Forbes computational complexity
Brighten Godfrey networked systems theory, distributed algorithms
Sariel Har-Peled computational geometry, geometric approximation algorithms
Sheldon Jacobson optimization, operations research
Dakshita Khurana joining fall 2019; cryptography, privacy, security
Ruta Mehta algorithmic game theory, mathematical economics, efficient algorithms
Leonard Pitt  AI and theoretical computing 
Matus Telgarsky machine learning theory
Mahesh Viswanathan algorithmic verification of cyberphysical systems 
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 
Rakesh Nagi, Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering social networks, graph algorithms, applied operations research, discrete optimization

Adjunct Faculty

Alexandra Kolla, University of Colorado at Boulder complexity theory, spectral methods for graph algorithms 
Manoj Prabhakaran, IIT Bombay cryptography, secure multi-party computation 

Related Theory and Algorithms Research Efforts and Groups


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Theory and Algorithms Research News

Professor Karrie Karahalios

Karahalios Named University Scholar, Hopes Honor Will Propel Work on Autism, Algorithm Awareness

July 30, 2019   Karahalios, an expert on HCI and social computing, is the first Illinois CS faculty member named a University Scholar since Professor Saurabh Sinha in 2017.
Professor Sheldon Jacobson

An Algorithmic Approach to Drawing Electoral District Boundaries

July 9, 2019  

WTKF-FM -- The Coastal Daybreak show on WTKF in Morehead City, N.C., talks with Professor Sheldon Jacobson about his reserach on redistricting, a hot-button issue in North Carolina and the subject of an ongoing court case in the state.

Assistant Professor Jian Peng

PNAS Studies Look at Lung Cancer LncRNA, Hi-C Clustering, and More

June 25, 2019  

Genome Web -- Genome Web highlights new research from Assistant Professor Jian Peng and colleagues at the University of California-San Diego that yielded scHiCluster, a single-cell clustering algorithm.

Professor Sheldon Jacobson

This Isn’t How It Was Supposed to Work: Has PreCheck Become Unchecked?

June 20, 2019  

RealClear Defense -- Professor Sheldon Jacobson writes an opinion piece on airport security and TSA PreCheck. "Long airport lines, intensive airport screening, and the summer travel season tend to go together. Already, this year seems to be keeping with that tradition, but what if it didn't have to be that way?"

Founder Professor on Engineering Tandy Warnow

Linguistics Paper Co-authored By Warnow Settled Key Questions, Honored for Its Influence

June 11, 2019   Tandy Warnow and collaborator Donald Ringe developed mathematical models that assumed language evolution followed a treelike pattern.