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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!

Applications now open for Undergraduate Research Assistant with Prof. Aswhin Nayak for Fall 2021 term

Please go to our URA Job Board to find the job description, eligibility, and application details.

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   

  1. July 22, 2021A topological proof of the Shapiro-Shapiro conjecture
    Inventiones Mathematicae

    Kevin Purbhoo's paper, co-authored with Jake Levinson, has been accepted for publication in Inventiones Mathematicae

  2. July 14, 2021Sophie Spirkl wins 2021 Golden Jubilee Research Excellence Award
    Sophie Spirkl

    The Faculty of Mathematics Research Office recently announced its 2021 recipients of the Golden Jubilee Research Excellence Award. Sophie Spirkl, an assistant professor in combinatorics and optimization, was one of this year’s winners.

  3. July 13, 2021Optimization: Theory, Algorithms, Applications Lecture Series (The Fields Institute)

    A new virtual lecture series from the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization and The Fields Institute, featuing one hour lectures on research in theory and applications of optimization with an emphasis on continuous optimization.

Read all news
  1. July 26, 2021Algebraic Graph Theory Seminar - Thomas Wong

    Title: Equivalent Laplacian and Adjacency Quantum Walks on Irregular Graphs

    Speaker: Thomas Wong
    Affiliation: Creighton University
    Zoom: Contact Soffia Arnadottir


    The continuous-time quantum walk is a particle evolving by Schrödinger's equation in discrete space. Encoding the space as a graph of vertices and edges, the Hamiltonian is proportional to the discrete Laplacian. In some physical systems, however, the Hamiltonian is proportional to the adjacency matrix instead.

  2. July 28, 2021Optimization: Theory, Algorithms, Applications Lecture Series

    Title: A primal-dual interior-point algorithm fo rnonsymmetric conic optimization

    Speaker: Erling D. Andersen
    Affiliation: Mosek ApS
    Zoom: Register through The Fields Institute


    It is well known that primal-dual interior-point algorithms for linear optimization can easily be extended to the case of symmetric conic optimization, as shown by Nesterov and Todd (NT) in their 1997 paer about self-scaled barriers. Although many convex optimization problems can be expressed using symmetric cones then models involving for instance exponential functions do not belong to the class of symmetric conic optimization problems.

  3. July 30, 2021Tutte Colloquium - Olya Mandelshtam

    Title: Macdonald polynomials and the multispecies zero range process

    Speaker: Olya Mandelshtam
    Affiliation: University of Waterloo
    Zoom: Please email Emma Watson


    Over the last couple of decades, the theory of special functions and symmetric functions have found unexpected connections to various interacting particle systems. Macdonald polynomials are a family of symmetric functions that are known to have remarkable connections to a well-studied particle model called the ASEP. It is natural to ask whether the modified Macdonald polynomials can be obtained using a combinatorial gadget for some other particle system.

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