Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson
Jeff Erickson he/him/his
  • Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Professor
(217) 333-6769
3237 Siebel Center for Comp Sci

For More Information


  • Ph.D., Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley, July 1996
  • M.S., Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine, June 1992
  • B.A., Computer Science and Mathematical Sciences (double major), Rice University, May 1987


I have been a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science since 1998 and a full professor since 2010; I was named a Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Professor in 2020. I have published over 100 technical papers in computational geometry, computational topology, graph algorithms, and related topics at the intersection of computer science and mathematics. Among many other conference committee memberships, I was the chair of the community-elected steering committee for the International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SOCG) from 2013 to 2016, and I am currently a SafeTOC (anti-harassment) advocate for SOCG and for the ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA).

I primarily teach large algorithms classes; my free Algorithms textbook is used in dozens of computer science departments and by myriads of of students, recruiters, and professionals around the world. I have been an Education Innovation Fellow in the Grainger College of Engineering's Academy of Excellence in Engineering Education. More than half of my former PhD students have tenure, almost half have won NSF CAREER awards, and my grand-students outnumber my students. My own awards include a Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF CAREER award, and numerous teaching and research awards from the University of Illinois.

At various times in my professional life I have been an associate department head, the chair of the faculty advisory committee, the manager of a multi-year software development project, a parent, a therapy patient, an Apple II assembly-language programmer, a disk jockey, a pizza cook, and a knot-tying instructor at a Boy Scout camp. My current favorite brands of espresso are Unicorn Blood by Dark Matter and Redacted by Blue Copper. Please see for a detailed curriculum vitae.

Academic Positions

  • Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020-present
  • Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010-present
  • Associate Professor (tenured), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004-2010
  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998-2004

Teaching Statement

I primarily teach courses in algorithms. My free algorithms textbook, along with an extensive archive of related course materials, is available at Please send me bug reports!

Research Statement

For a complete overview of my research activities, please see my publication archive at

Research Interests

  • Algorithms, data structures, and lower bounds
  • Computational and discrete geometry and topology
  • Computer science education

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Jeff Erickson, Gabriel Nivasch, and Junyan Xu. Fusible numbers and Peano Arithmetic.  Proceedings of the 36th Annual ACM/IEEE Symposium on Logic in Computer Science, 1–13, 2021. Distinguished paper.
  • Erin Chambers, Jeff Erickson, Patrick Lin, and Salman Parsa. How to morph graphs on the torus. Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 2759–2778, 2021.
  • Hsien-Chih Chang, Marcos Cossarini, and Jeff Erickson. Lower bounds for electrical reduction on surfaces. Proceedings of the 35th International Symposium on Computational Geometry, 25:1–25:16, 2019.
  • Jeff Erickson, Kyle Fox, and Luvsandondov Lkhamsuren. Holiest minimum-cost paths and flows in surface graphs. Proceedings of the 50th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, 1319–1332, 2018
  • Hsien-Chih Chang, Jeff Erickson, David Letscher, Arnaud de Mesmay, Saul Schleimer, Stephan Tillmann, Eric Sedgwick, and Dylan Thurston. Tightening curves on surfaces via local moves. Proceedings of the 29th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 121–135, 2018.
  • Hsien-Chih-Chang, Jeff Erickson, and Chao Xu. Detecting weakly simple polygons. Proceedings of the 26th ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 1655–1670, 2015
  • Jeff Erickson and Kim Whittlesey.  Transforming curves on surfaces redux. Proc. 24th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 1646–1655, 2013.
  • Jeff Erickson. Maximum flows and parametric shortest paths in planar graphs. Proc. 21st Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 794–804, 2010

Conferences Organized or Chaired

  • Program committee, 39th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SOCG 2023)
  • Program committee, 33rd Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA 2022)
  • Program committee, 2019 Symposium on Simplicity in Algorithms (2019)
  • Program committee, 34th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SOCG 2018) — submission forbidden
  • Organizing committee, Dagstuhl Seminar on Computational Geometry (2019)
  • Program committee, 28th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA 2017) — submission forbidden
  • Organizing committee, Oberwolfach Seminar on Computational Geometric and Algebraic Topology (2015)
  • Steering committee chair, Symposium on Computational Geometry (SOCG), 2013–2016. Committee members elected by the research community, officers elected by the committee. Oversaw the 2014 community vote ending SOCG's 30-year affiliation with ACM; see for details.
  • Program committee chair, 23rd Annual ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry (SOCG 2007)

Teaching Honors

  • Campus Award For Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, May 2007
  • Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, College of Engineering, April 2001
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students: Spring 1999, Fall 2000, Spring 2001 (outstanding rating), Fall 2001, Fall 2005, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015 (outstanding rating), Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017 (outstanding rating), Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020 (outstanding rating), Spring 2021, Fall 2021, and Fall 2022 (outstanding rating)

Research Honors

  • NSF Career Award (CCR-0093348), 2001-2006
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 1999-2001

Recent Courses Taught

  • CS 199 225 - Supplementary proj. for CS-225
  • CS 225 - Data Structures
  • CS 374 ADA (CS 374 ADB, CS 374 ADC, CS 374 ADD, CS 374 ADE, CS 374 ADF, CS 374 ADG, CS 374 ADH, CS 374 ADK, CS 374 ADL, CS 374 AL1, CS 374 AL2, ECE 374 ADA, ECE 374 ADB, ECE 374 ADC, ECE 374 ADD, ECE 374 ADE, ECE 374 ADF, ECE 374 ADG, ECE 374 ADH, ECE 374 ADK, ECE 374 AL1, ECE 374 AL2, ECE 374 ALZ) - Intro to Algs & Models of Comp
  • CS 473 (CSE 414, MATH 473) - Algorithms
  • CS 498 TC3 (CS 498 TC4, CS 498 TCU) - Computational Geometry
  • CS 591 TCS - Advanced Seminar
  • CS 598 JGE - Algorithms for 1D Structures

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