Welcome to the website of the CS theory group at CU Boulder!  Our faculty and students research all aspects of theoretical computer science, from core areas such as algorithms, complexity, and cryptography, to connections with other fields such as machine learning, algebraic geometry, economics, dynamical systems, biology, and control theory.  

Follow us @bouldertheory on Twitter. To hear about upcoming talks, events, and other opportunities, please join the cs-theory-announce email list (CU is currently, as of Jan 2023, migrating from its old listserv to Google Groups - we'll have a sign-up link up again soon).

Check out our Theory Seminar and Theory Reading Groups. 

We're grateful to have our internal group discussions powered by a sponsored hosted instance of Zulip (for academic research).


  • We are a growing group, and are currently taking on students at both the master and doctoral level.
  • We are hiring tenure-track faculty in CS Theory this year! (To start in Fall '23; the deadline was Dec 5, 2022). Contact Prof. Josh Grochow with inquiries.


John Black: cryptography, combinatorial algorithms, graph theory
Rafael Frongillo: theoretical machine learning, algorithmic economics, symbolic dynamics
Joshua Grochow: computational complexity (esp. algebraic and geometric), algebraic algorithms, complex systems and dynamics, complex networks
Ashutosh Trivedi: cyber-physical system analysis, stochastic systems, logic and automata
Bo Waggoner: algorithmic game theory, theoretical machine learning, differential privacy

Theory-Associated Faculty

Stephen Becker, Applied Math: convex and non-convex optimization, signal processing, numerical linear algebra, compressed sensing and sparse/low-rank recovery
Sebastian "Yano" Casalaina-Martin, Math: algebraic geometry (curves, abelian varieties, cubic threefolds, vector bundles, moduli spaces)
Lijun Chen, CS & Telecommunications: optimization, control, game theory, networked systems theory
Aaron Clauset, CS & BioFrontiers Institute: network science, computational social science, computational systems biology
David Grant, Math: number theory (finding rational points on curves and abelian varieties), space-time codes, cryptography
Keith Kearnes, Math: algebra, logic, combinatorics
Peter Mayr, Math: algebra, foundations, computational problems
Claire Monteleoni, CS: machine learning algorithms and theory (data streams, unsupervised learning, latent structure, privacy), applications for social good (climate informatics, environment, sustainability)
Grzegorz Rozenberg, CS (Adjunct) and Leiden University: DNA computing, theory of concurrent systems, theory of transition systems, theory of traces, graph transformations, formal languages and automata, 2-structures
Sriram Sankaranarayanan, CS: cyber-physical system analysis, probabilistic program verification, randomized algorithms
Graeme Smith, Physics and JILA: quantum information, quantum computing, Shannon theory, error correction, physics of information
Katherine Stange, Math: cryptography and number theory, including post-quantum cryptography
Ágnes Szendrei, Math: algebra, combinatorics, logic (including computational problems)
Jonathan Wise, Math: algebraic geometry (logarithmic geometry, deformation theory, moduli of curves, Gromov-Witten theory)



Nathan Lindzey (now postdoc at Technion)
Ewan Davies (now Professor at Colorado State University)
Abhiram Natarajan (now EPSRC Fellow at U. Warwick)
Eric Reckwerdt (now Instructor in the post-bacc program at CU Boulder)

Ph.D. Students

Robin Bowers
Charlie Carlson
Ezzeddine El Sai (Math)
Robert Green
Gülce Kardeş
Dhamma Kimpara
Steven Kordonowy
Michael Levet
Mary Monroe
Rick Nueve
Maya Ornstein (Math)
Maneesha Papireddygari
Elise Tate
Anish Thilagar
Tzu-Chi Yen


Gabriel Andrade (Ph.D. 2022, now Applied Scientist at Amazon)
Jessie Finocchiaro (Ph.D. 2022, now NSF postdoc @ Harvard EconCS)
Tyler Schrock (Math, Ph.D. 2019, now at Google)

Master's Students

Abhishek Lolage

Undergraduate Researchers


Mabel Cluff
Nathaniel Collins


Emma Goodwill (senior thesis defended 2022)
Robert Gomez (senior thesis defended 2021)
Justin Cai (senior thesis defended 2020)
Tarek Tohme (American U. Beirut, Summer 2019 and 2020, now master's student at École Polytechnique)
Yerim Song (high school, Summer 2020, now undergrad at Carnegie Mellon University)
Michael Klyachman (high school, Summer 2020, now  undergrad at The University of Chicago)
Robert Cope (CU Boulder, Fall 2019)
Arthur Pellegrino (CU Boulder, Summer 2019)
Luke Meszar (CU Boulder, senior thesis defended Spring 2019)
Sam Schlesinger (U. Mass., Amherst, Summer 2018)
Jamie Tucker-Foltz (Amherst, Summer 2017, now @ Harvard CS PhD program)
Michael Vienneau (CU Boulder, academic year 2017-2018)
Nicole Woytarowicz (CU Boulder, senior thesis defended Spring 2017)
Yang Song (CU Boulder, academic year 2016-2017)
Brennan McConnell (CU Boulder, senior thesis defended Spring 2017)
Elliot Gorokhovsky (high school, during academic year 2016-2017)

Graduate Courses

Core Theory

CSCI 5454: Algorithms [recent offering]
CSCI 5444: Theory of Computation [recent offering]
CSCI 5114: Practical Algorithmic Complexity [started Fall 2019, next Fall 2022 then every other year]
CSCI 5654: Linear and Integer Programming [recent offering] [coursera]
CSCI 6114: Computational Complexity Theory [Fall 2021 offering, every other year]
CSCI 6214: Randomized Algorithms [new course! First offering Fall 2021, every other year]
CSCI 6314: Algorithmic Economics [new course! First offering Spring 2022, similar to this topics course]
CSCI 6564: Advanced Algorithms [recent offering]
CSCI 5254: Convex Optimization [recent offering]
CSCI 7000: Cryptography and Cryptanalysis [recent offering (applied)]

Related Courses

CSCI 5314: Algorithms in Molecular Biology [recent offering]
CSCI 5352: Network Analysis and Modeling [recent offering]
MATH 4440/5440: The Mathematics of Coding and Cryptography [recent offering]
CSCI 7000: Tensors and Computational Complexity [offered Fall '17]
CSCI 5854: Foundations of Cyber-Physical Systems

Emeriti and Past Faculty

Alexandra Kolla, at CU 2017-2021, now at UCSC
Andrzej Ehrenfeucht, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Harold "Hal" Gabow, Professor Emeritus