Distinguished Lecture

Algorithms: A Random Walk

Nikhil BansalPatrick C. Fischer Professor of Theoretical Computer ScienceUniversity of Michigan
Johnson Rooms, Lurie Engineering Center (3rd floor)Map

Please join Prof. Alec Gallimore, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering; Prof. Michael Wellman, Richard H. Orenstein Division Chair of Computer Science and Engineering; and the Computer Science and Engineering Division as we honor Prof. Nikhil Bansal for his appointment to an endowed professorship.

Professor Bansal will be installed as the Patrick C. Fischer Professor of Theoretical Computer Science and will present a lecture.

Biography – Nikhil Bansal

Nikhil Bansal is the Patrick C. Fischer Professor of Theoretical Computer Science and the Director of the Theory Lab at the University of Michigan.

Prof. Bansal is broadly interested in theoretical computer science with a focus on the design and analysis of algorithms and in related areas such as discrete mathematics, optimization, and machine learning. He has received several best paper awards for his work including one at the FOCS 2011 conference.

Prof. Bansal currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the ACM, and the Theory of Computing; he was previously an associate editor for the SIAM Journal on Computing and the Mathematics of Operations Research. He has given several keynote lectures, including one at the International Symposium of Mathematical Programming and at the Symposium on Discrete Algorithms conference. More recently, Prof. Bansal is an invited speaker at the 2022 International Congress of Mathematicians and is the program chair for the SODA 2023 conference. He was program chair for the ICALP 2021 conference.

Prof. Bansal received his Bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Mumbai in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Carnegie Mellon University in 2003. Before moving to the University of Michigan in 2021, he worked at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Labs, where he also managed the Algorithms group. Following that, he held academic positions at the Eindhoven University of Technology, as a visiting Chancellor’s professor at UC Berkeley, and at CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) in the Netherlands.

Biography – Patrick C. Fischer

An expert in computational complexity, interactive database systems, and informational systems for education institutions, University of Michigan alumnus Patrick C. Fischer’s work in theoretical computer science helped make Internet searches possible.
After teaching at Harvard, Cornell, and Pennsylvania State University, Prof. Fischer was appointed chairman of the computer science department at Vanderbilt in 1980, a position he held until 1995.

Prof. Fischer was an early leader in the field of computational complexity, and helped establish theoretical computer science as a discipline separate from mathematics and electrical engineering.

He was the first chair of SIGACT, the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory of the Association for Computing Machinery, which he founded in 1968. He also founded the annual Symposium on Theory of Computing, which is one of the two flagship conferences in theoretical computer science, and he served five times as chair of the conference.

In the 1980s, Prof. Fischer’s research focused to database theory, and his work in that realm included the study of the semantics of databases, metadata, and incomplete information. Prof. Fischer did important work defining the nested relational model of databases, in which the values in the cells of a relational database may themselves be relations, and his work on the mathematical foundations of database query languages became central to the databases now used by major web servers worldwide. Prof. Fischer was also an expert in information systems and their use by educational institutions.