Welcome to the Theory Center!

What is new?

Research Experience for Undergraduates: The Center's Summer REU in the Theory of Computing and Machine Learning is accepting applications. Deadline: April 24.

The Theory of Computing

Over the past forty years, the Theory of Computing ("Theory," as it is commonly referred to in Computer Science curricula) revolutionized computational thinking across a broad range of disciplines in science, engineering, education, economics, business, and public policy. The study of complexity classes and the asymptotic analysis of algorithms represent the core intellectual agenda of the field. The conceptual framework developed in this purely mathematical pursuit has elevated some areas of inquiry from art to science (cryptography is a prime example but operations research and several areas of artificial intelligence may also be counted in this category) and it has exerted a paradigm-shifting influence on other areas such as quantum computing and game theory (modelling of economic behavior). The Theory of Computing has arguably contributed to the rise of billion-dollar industries such as genomics and web search, and its influence on key technologies continues its rapid rise. At the same time, the depth and elegance of its core agenda and its close connection to classical areas of mathematics such as Fourier analysis and the geometry of Banach spaces has attracted top mathematical talent; several Fields medal winning mathematicians are currently active in the field.

Our mission

The Chicago Center for the Theory of Computing and Allied Areas is based on an alliance of the University of Chicago and the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (TTIC) located on the University of Chicago campus. The Center promotes foundational research in the Theory of Computing, its interfaces with mathematics, and its interaction with other areas of computer science, especially Machine Learning, and with the sciences and technology. Machine Learning is a discipline that links mathematics, statistics, and the theory of computing to a wide range of application areas in the sciences, engineering, business, and government. The Center builds on the strength of both founding institutions in the areas of Theory and Machine Learning, the synergy between these fields, the strong sense of collaboration between faculty at the two institutions, the interaction of these groups with faculty in other areas of computer science, most notably in systems, as well as with the University of Chicago's world-class mathematics department, and the potential for interactions with the sciences (physical, biological, social) and engineering. The Center will pursue collaborations regionally, nationally, and globally to help expand the intellectual infrastructure in Theory and allied areas, to accelerate progress in these areas, and magnify their impact.