My research combines mathematics, computer science, probability, and statistics, in order to develop algorithms with improved accuracy for large-scale and complex estimation problems in phylogenomics (genome-scale phylogeny estimation), multiple sequence alignment, metagenomics, and historical linguistics. I work especially on the hardest computational problems in these areas, where large dataset sizes and model complexity makes existing approaches have insufficient accuracy. For these problems, I develop innovative strategies (often including graph-theoretic algorithms that employ divide-and-conquer, combined with machine learning methods), develop software, analyze biological datasets (in collaboration with biologists around the world), and prove theorems about the methods developed.

Awards and Achievements

  • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship ( 2011)
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
  • Emeline Bigelow Conland Fellow ( 2003-2004)
  • Founder Professor of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( 2014-present)