Theory and Algorithms
Theoretical 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|
|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|
|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
- Information Trust Institute (ITI) in the Coordinated Science Lab
- Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB)
- Theory and Algorithms Group
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Theory and Algorithms Research News
The Washington Post -- Escalators in Washington, D.C., Metro stations often break. But that may be a good thing, according to research from Illinois CS Professor Sheldon Jacobson. “When people use public transit, they typically must walk (or) cycle to the stop/station, and on the back end, do the same," Jacobson said via email. “Also, during the transit ride, they may stand (more calories burned)."
The Daily Illini -- After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government increased airport security and changed the system for screening passengers. In 2011, airports introduced Transportation Security Administration precheck, a process developed with the help of work done by Sheldon Jacobson, a Computer Science professor.
Chicago Sun-Times -- "Gerrymandering has been around since the early days of the Republic, but powerful computers and big data have made the practice much more effective. … Scientists at the University of Illinois proposed a way to take politics out of redistricting by letting a carefully designed algorithm draw the maps," referencing research by Professor Sheldon Jacobson.
KUTV -- Illinois CS Professor Sheldon Jacobson says a security breach at the airport in Salt Lake City a “fairly isolated incident with a bad outcome,” and said one to two airport security breaches happen each month nationwide.