Chandra Chekuri named an ACM Fellow

3/29/2024 Michael O'Boyle

Written by Michael O'Boyle

Chandra Chekuri, the Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professor of Computer Science in The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been named a 2023 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). This honor is reserved for 1% of the ACM’s global membership for “outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or service to ACM and the larger computing community.” Chekuri was recognized “for contributions to approximation algorithms and submodular optimization.”

“ACM Fellows represent some of the most important names in computer science who have made major contributions to all facets of computing, so I feel fortunate to be included in their ranks,” Chekuri said. “It’s a recognition from the theoretical computer science community, my intellectual home, of the breadth and depth of my contributions over my 30-year career.”

Chekuri works on the mathematical foundations of computer science, developing approximate methods for difficult-to-solve problems such as resource allocation and scheduling, network design and routing, and discrete optimization.

One of his most significant achievements is developing approximation algorithms for the “maximum disjoint paths problem” related to network routing. He and his collaborators exploited a connection with graph theory to create methods with a much better performance than previously known.

He has also contributed to submodular optimization—a class of problems frequently encountered in machine learning and data analysis — where the methods he and his collaborators developed remain the only known approaches in some cases.

Chekuri earned an undergraduate degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, in 1993. He went on to earn a doctorate from Stanford University in 1998. He worked at Bell Laboratories for eight years before joining Illinois in 2006. He has received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, the IBM Faculty Award, and the Scott H. Fisher Computer Science Teaching Award. In 2016, his 1997 paper “Conjunctive Query Containment Revisited” was selected for the International Conference on Database Theory Test-of-Time Award.

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This story was published March 29, 2024.