Theory of Computation (TOC) Seminar

Sebastien Bubeck: New Results at the Crossroads of Convexity, Learning and Information Theory
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 3:45pm to 5:15pm
Abstract: I will present three new results (no background in optimization will be assumed, all concepts will be defined and motivated): (i) the Cramer transform of the uniform measure on a convex body is a universal self-concordant barrier; (ii) projected gradient descent with Gaussian 
Ken Clarkson: More Near-Linear Linear Algebra, via Sketching
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Abstract:  In recent years there have been significant improvements in matrix
algorithms for data analysis, including several cases where the running
times are nearly linear: for an input matrix A, the running time is

Rocco Servedio: Two Circuit Lower Bounds
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm



Madhu Sudan: Communication Amid Uncertainty
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Abstract:  Computers and humans communicate in order to gain information about the state of the world around them, and to be able to determine how to act in the future.  Effective communication relies on large shared context between the communicating parties: Such shared context tells the communi

David Zuckerman: Explicit Two-Source Extractors and Resilient Functions
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Abstract: We explicitly construct an extractor for two independent sources on n bits,
each with min-entropy at least log^C n for a large enough constant C. Our
extractor outputs one bit and has error n^{-\Omega(1)}. The best previous

Omer Reingold: Constant-round Interactive-proofs for Delegating Computation
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Abstract: Interactive proofs, introduced by Goldwasser,

Ran Raz: Fast Learning Requires Good Memory: A Time-Space Lower Bound for Parity Learning
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Abstract: We prove that any algorithm for learning parities requires either a memory of quadratic size or an exponential number of samples. This proves a recent conjecture of Steinhardt, Valiant and Wager and shows that for some learning problems a large storage space is crucial.
Avi Wigderson: Elementary Mathematical Problems Disguising Computational Hardness
Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Abstract:  The theory of computation has done (and is doing) incredibly well on upper bounds - finding ingenious efficient algorithms for important problems.

Laszlo Babai: Graph Isomorphism in Quasipolynomial Time
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Abstract:  The algorithm indicated in the title builds on Luks's classical framework and introduces new group theoretic and combinatorial tools.  

We outline the algorithm, with a focus on the core group theoretic routine ("Local Certificates").
Li-Yang Tan: Unconditional Lower Bounds in Complexity Theory
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Abstract: I will present three recent results, each establishing new unconditional lower bounds in fundamental and well-studied models of computation: 


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