FAQ for Prospective Students and Interns

UT Austin is an excellent place for research in theoretical computer science, and I like to work with top students. I therefore receive many emails asking the following.

Should I apply to the Ph.D. program at UT Austin? What are my chances of being accepted?

Admission to our Ph.D. program is decided by a committee. Emailing individual professors doesn't help. The decision is based on a variety of criteria; see our Graduate Admissions FAQ. I get too many emails to evaluate your chances based on your CV, especially because reference letters play a key role. If you're interested in working with me, do mention this in your application. Once you're admitted, I'm happy to discuss anything with you at length.

Do you have any internships for undergraduates?

Unfortunately, no.

I really want to work with you. What should I read?

For an introduction to my area, read my essay for a general audience. At the undergraduate level, read about computational complexity, say from Mike Sipser's book (or take my course); algorithms, say from Kleinberg-Tardos (or take my class); probability and randomized algorithms, say from Mitzenmacher-Upfal; and supporting math classes, including probability, linear algebra, algebra, and number theory.

At the graduate level, I recommend reading about pseudorandomness, say from Salil Vadhan's monograph or my lecture notes, or more about expanders from the Hoory-Linial-Wigderson survey or more about randomness extractors from Shaltiel's survey or my survey talk, or take my class; randomized algorithms, say from Motwani-Raghavan, or take my class; coding theory, say from Guruswami-Rudra-Sudan, or take my class; combinatorics and the probabilistic method, say from Alon-Spencer or Jukna, or take my class; computational complexity, say from Arora-Barak; and analysis of Boolean functions, say from O'Donnell's book. From among these choices, read what excites you the most.


Last modified: September 26, 2013.