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Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization (ACO)

Carnegie Mellon University offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D program in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization (ACO). 

This program is the first of its kind in the United States. It is administered jointly by the Tepper School of Business (Operations Research group), the Computer Science Department (Theory & Algorithms & Complexity Groups), and the Department of Mathematical Sciences (Discrete Mathematics group).

The mathematics used by computer scientists and operations researchers overlap to a large extent. The boundaries between Operations Research and Computer Science have become blurred. Important new theories and whole fields, like polyhedral combinatorics, have been and are being developed jointly by computer scientists, operations researchers, and applied mathematicians who consider themselves a little bit of both. Presentations of new results on graphs and matroid theory can be heard at Operations Research conferences, while papers on linear programming, network flows, and matchings in graphs are frequently presented at Computer Science conferences. The mathematical content of the papers has become greater and more diverse. Yet, in spite of this, few Ph.D students graduate with an equally solid knowledge of all three areas.

The Ph.D program in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization at Carnegie Mellon is intended to fill this gap. The program brings together the study of the mathematical structure of discrete objects and the design and analysis of algorithms in areas such as graph theory, combinatorial optimization, integer programming, polyhedral theory, computational algebra, geometry, and number theory.

How to Apply

You may apply to the Ph.D. Program in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization through any of the three participating departments.

To apply for the ACO program though the Computer Science Department you need to apply via the  School of Computer Science online application. Apply for the Ph.D. in Computer Science and select the interdisciplinary program in the appropriate section of the online application.

Applicants will be selected for admission by the ACO faculty in consultation with committees in each home department. Financial support for students admitted into this program is available under the same conditions as for the other Ph.D. Programs at Carnegie Mellon.