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Please note: The University of Waterloo is closed for all events until further notice.

Welcome to Combinatorics and Optimization

The C&O department has 33 faculty members and 60 graduate students. We are intensely research oriented and hold a strong international reputation in each of our six major areas:

Read more about the department's research to learn of our contributions to the world of mathematics!

Tutte's Distinguished Lecture Series 

The very successful Tutte's 100th Distinguished Lecture Series has now completed. That success has led to a Tutte Distinguished Lecture once per term. The next lecture will happen in the Spring term.

*Recordings of occurred talks are all available on C&O's YouTube Channel   

Grad Studies: Fall 2020 applications now open

 New Deadline: February 1, '20

  1. June 11, 20212021 Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal awarded to Robert Cummings
    Photo of Robert Cummings

    Robert Cummings is the recipient of the 2021 Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal for the Faculty of Mathematics. Cummings, an Honours Computer Science and Combinatorics and Optimization student, will graduate this June with a BMath.  

  2. May 21, 2021Stephen Melczer's book on Analytic Combinatorics has been published
    Melczer book

    "An Invitation to Analytic Combinatorics: From One to Several Variables", written by C&O professor Stephen Melczer, has been published by Springer.

  3. May 20, 2021Spring 2021 convocation
    Convocation Spring 2021

    Three Ph.D. and seven M.Math. C&O students will receive their degrees at the Spring 2021 convocation on June 18.

Read all news
  1. June 24, 2021Algebraic Combinatorics Seminar - Terrence George

    Title: Arctic curves for groves

    Speaker: Terrence George
    Affiliation: University of Michigan
    Zoom: Contact Stephen Melczer


    The limit shape phenomenon is a "law of large numbers" for random surfaces: the random surface looks macroscopically like the "average surface". The first result of this kind was the celebrated arctic circle theorem for domino tilings of the aztec diamond. The limit shape has macroscopic regions with different qualitative behavior, and the arctic curve is the boundary separating these regions.

  2. June 25, 2021Tutte Colloquium - Dmitriy Drusvyatskiy

    Title: From low probability to high confidence in stochastic convex optimization

    Speaker: Dmitriy Drusvyatskiy
    Affliliation: University of Washington
    Zoom: Contact Emma Watson


    Standard results in stochastic convex optimization bound the number of samples that an algorithm needs to generate a point with small function value in expectation. More nuanced high probability guarantees are rare, and typically either rely on “light-tail” noise assumptions or exhibit worse sample complexity. In this work, we show that a wide class of stochastic optimization algorithms can be augmented with high confidence bounds at an overhead cost that is only logarithmic in the confidence level and polylogarithmic in the condition number.

All upcoming events