HUT / DCSE / TCS / What is TCS? - suomeksi
Helsinki University of Technology, 
     Laboratory for Theoretical Computer Science

What is Theoretical Computer Science?

Theoretical computer science develops and applies mathematical methods for the systematic modelling, analysis, and solution of computational tasks. Significant application areas of these methods include e.g. the development of programming languages and their compilers, design methods for software systems, parallel computer architectures, cryptography, routing algorithms and protocols for computer networks, and VLSI design. -- Broadly speaking, it is the goal of theoretical computer science to develop efficient mathematical tools for the design and analysis of computational systems, in any application area, that really work as intended.

Because of the great variety of present-day computational environments (sequential, parallel,distributed,...) and the large number of potentially relevant system characteristics (correctness, efficiency, security, fault-tolerance, adaptability,...), the scope of theoretical computer science is currently far too wide to be covered completely by any single individual, or even a single university laboratory. Accordingly, the work at the TCS laboratory of the Helsinki University of Technology is structured in four broad research areas:

  1. Computational Logic (Prof. Ilkka Niemelš)
  2. Computational Complexity and Combinatorics (Prof. Pekka Orponen)
  3. Cryptology (Prof. Kaisa Nyberg)
  4. Verification (Doc. Keijo Heljanko)
To explore further the diversity of work in TCS, a good starting point is our lab's link collection. Interesting overviews of the achievements and challenges of the field are provided by three recent panel reports: Challenges for TCS (NSF 2000), Challenges for Theory of Computing (NSF 1999) and Contributions of TCS (ACM SIGACT 1996). For people able to read Finnish, the inaugural lectures of Ilkka Niemelš and Pekka Orponen may be of interest.

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Latest update: 12 August 2007. Pekka Orponen