Theoretical computer science looks at fundamental questions about computation by creating formal models of computation and understanding the resources needed to solve general and specific algorithmic questions.  TCS studies the design of efficient algorithms and understanding the computational complexity of various computational tasks that arise in computer science, statistics, economics and the other sciences.

The major research areas include design and analysis of algorithms, computational complexity, randomness in computation, combinatorial optimization, approximation algorithms, online algorithms. The theory group at Northwestern also has strong interests in using computation as a fundamentally new lens to study other fundamental sciences, leading to areas of algorithmic game theory, machine learning and bioinformatics.


The Quarterly Theory Workshop is an initiative by the Northwestern CS Theory group to bring together researchers in Chicago and surrounding areas, who are interested in TCS and related areas to get together, attend invited talks and discuss problems in a specific area. Typically, each workshop will have three theoretical computer science experts present their perspective and research on a common theme.  Chicago area researchers with interest in theoretical computer science are invited to attend.  The technical program is in the morning and includes coffee and lunch.  The afternoon of the workshop will allow for continued discussion between attendees and the speakers. Please see the Events page for details.