Theoretical computer science has been thriving at Georgia Tech for decades. Its current elite reputation is based on the accomplishments of world-renowned faculty, a rigorous and highly successful Ph.D. program in algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization (ACO), and an extroverted Algorithms & Randomness Center and ThinkTank (ARC).

The theory group has traditionally been a leader in the fields of combinatorial optimization, approximation algorithms and discrete random systems. Over the past decade, it has also emerged at the forefront of research in:

  • Complexity theory
  • Cryptography
  • Randomized algorithms and stochastic processes
  • Algorithmic game theory
  • Spectral methods
  • High-dimensional geometry and continuous optimization
  • Network models and algorithms
  • Learning theory

Theory students—typically graduates of the ACO program, which draws courses and faculty from math and operations research in addition to computer science—have gone on to successful careers in both academia and industry.

ARC actively seeks computational problems across the sciences that could define and drive the field for many years to come. The appreciation of theory by the rest of our colleagues, the steady stream of amazingly talented students in a friendly and challenging environment, and the focus on central problems are making theory a rich and inviting tradition in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech.


  • Lance Fortnow
  • Merrick Furst
  • Zvi Galil
  • Richard Lipton
  • Milena Mihail
  • Richard Peng (joining in Fall)
  • Christopher Peikert
  • Dana Randall
  • Prasad Tetali
  • Craig Tovey (ISYE)
  • Vijay Vazirani
  • Santosh Vempala,
  • H. Venkateshwaran
  • Eric Vigoda

Coordinator: Richard Peng

Administrative Support: Dani Denton