New offices Ülikooli 17

posted Apr 2, 2016, 1:03 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Apr 2, 2016, 1:05 AM ]

In March, Theoretical Computer Science moved into the new offices in 17 Ülikooli Street, opposite the university main building. Algorithms & Theory is on the 2nd floor, the large A&T Group room is 209, then there are some smaller offices and discussion rooms.

PhD position in Computational (Combinatorial) Optimization

posted May 1, 2015, 7:02 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis

The Computer Science Institute of the University of Tartu, Estonia, is looking to fill a

PhD-Position in Computational Optimization.

The work environment is multi-national.  The language of instruction and communication is English.

The PhD project consists in developing a software for the solution of a certain type of constrained optimization problems, and to apply it to problems in neuro science and data mining (in Tartu).  Moreover, the candidate will apply discrete optimization in some other, short term projects.

The position also entails the following duties:

  • write down intermediate findings in papers for publication in conferences and/or journals;
  • teach 2h per term week (32 term weeks per year) in courses on algorithms and optimization.

The 4-year PhD program requires to complete a certain amount (60 ECTS) of course work.

The after tax monthly salary is 1100 Euros (34% above the average Estonian net income) in the 8 teaching months; 1000 Euros in the 4 non-teaching months.

The successful candidate will
  • have an excellent command of the English language (spoken & written);
  • have excellent coding skills in C/C++;
  • have good background in each of: Discrete Optimization, Linear Programming, Non-Linear Optimization;
  • hold a Masters degree (or equivalent), or be in the process of acquiring one.

Deadline for the formal online application is June 3rd (, but if you are interested, get in touch with your would-be supervisor as soon as possible:

Associate Professor
University of Tartu
dotheis [at] ut [dot] ee

See below for more information about Estonia, Tartu, the University of Tartu, and the CS institute.


Estonia is a Euro-zone country located directly south of Finland.  It has about 10% more average annual sunshine hours than Berlin, and 18% more than Cologne.  (It's because the sky's blue most of the time.)

Estonia is an ``E-Society'': Broadband Internet is fast and inexpensive or free, public WiFi is ubiquitous.  The country scores 1st in the world in Internet Freedom and 5th in Privacy.  It is ranked directly behind Germany in the ``State of the World's Children's Index'' (10th).  In the Human-Development index, it scores between the UK and Portugal.  See Wikipedia for these and other statistical facts.

Since most Estonians speak English, it is not necessary to learn Estonian.  The language is similar to Finnish and Hungarian.


Tartu is a picturesque city in southern Estonia.  Home to 17,000 students (in a population of 105,000), there are lots of inexpensive restaurants, bars, and cafés.

University of Tartu

Founded in 1632, ``Universitas Tartuensis'' is one of the most venerable centers of education and research in this part of the world.  In rankings, it is ranked in the top 400 universities world wide, with a rapid ascent over the recent years.

The CS institute

A significant number of the Computer Science institute faculty are expatriates, the ratio is even higher for PhD students.  Next to Combinatorial Optimization, which is part of Theoretical Computer Science, the strong subjects are Bioinformatics, Data Mining, Neuro Science, and Scientific Computing.

Postdoc position Probabilistic combinatorics / random structures

posted Jan 2, 2015, 11:22 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Aug 30, 2015, 6:59 AM ]

We are looking to fill a

Postdoc position in Probabilistic combinatorics and random structures.

The work environment is multi-national; interaction among faculty and between faculty and students/staff is in English.


Salary after tax: Eur 1600--1850 (depending on qualification and/or whether you teach). 
(Health insurance (w/o dental) is free in Estonia.)

Put this into context with the cost of living: the average after tax income in Estonia is Eur 840. (For comparison: Spain 1600; Italy 1900; France 2100.) 


Between 6 months and 2+ years. Negotiated with the applicant. 

Your qualifications. 

- Be fluent in English!!!!
- Hold a PhD in Math or Theoretical Computer Science; 
- Have experience and publications in probabilistic combinatorics and/or random structures; 
- Have a very good record of publications. 

Your duties.

- Research collaboratively with Assoc. Prof. Dirk Oliver Theis
- Develop an independent research profile
- Co-supervise PhD students
- Supervise research MSc students; your choice of topics (for durations longer than a year only)
- Teaching between 0 and 2 courses per term. Negotiated with the applicant.


For informal inquiries, please contact

Dr. rer.nat. habil. Dirk Oliver Theis
Associate Professor
dotheis [at] ut [dot] ee

Why don't you include a very short CV, and links to the full-text of 3 of your favourite (own) publications?

Review of applicants will start right away and continue until the position is filled. If you read this later than, say, 28 Feb 2015, check here if the position is still open.

About the group, Tartu, and Estonia.

The Algorithms & Theory research group is small and vibrant, with research in several fields, including combinatorial optimization, graph theory, combinatorial number theory.

  • Picturesque student city (= cafes, bars, restaurants, nightlife, tons of exchange students), with ~100,000 inhabitants + ~17,000 students.
  • Home to the region's most venerable university
  • Climate:
    • 5 months party in the streets (summer)
    • 5 months party in the sauna (winter)
    • April=spring, October=fall
  • Check out
  • Eurozone since 2011
  • 1.3 million inhabitants (= Cologne + Heidelberg)
  • Bustling economy
  • Language similar to Finnish,
  • no need to learn it though: English works everywhere.
Check out these two pages on this site: Visiting us? and About Tartu & Estonia. The description of our English language Master's curriculum has some info, too: Master's program in Computer Science: Algorithms & Theory.

Online application system for Master's is now open

posted Jan 1, 2015, 9:06 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Aug 30, 2015, 7:02 AM ]

The online system for applying for the Master's program in CS has opened on Dec 15. 
  • The application deadline is April 16. 
  • Transcripts and Bachelor degree certificate must be submitted both in the original language and in English! 
  • If you receive your Bachelor degree certificate after April 15, submit & post the other documents by that day, and send your Bachelor degree certificate as soon as you get it. 
To apply you need to submit documents on DreamApply website. You'll also need to send copies of some documents by regular mail (post them before April 16). The copies have to be certified (see here)

Read the information on this page and on the DreamApply site very carefully! 
Every year, a number of applicants are rejected simply because their applications are incomplete. Make sure you're not among them! 

You'll have to submit a motivation letter. This is important. 

Teaching in Spring '15

posted Dec 13, 2014, 5:37 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Jan 3, 2015, 2:46 AM ]

 - MTAT.05.116 Algorithms & Combinatorics Seminar, this term about directed graphs.
 - MTAT.05.117 Randomness, by Mozhgan.
 - MTAT.05.120 Combinatorial Optimization, by DOT.
 - MTAT.05.182 Introduction to Coding Theory, by Vitaly.

Graphs in data analytics

posted Dec 7, 2014, 5:04 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Aug 30, 2015, 6:49 AM ]

Check out this video lecture about graphs by Jim Webber, a data science practitioner, which he gave at the QCon 2014 developer conference. Apart from being quite funny (the accent!!), the presentation shows how graph problems are at the heart of business software for predictive or real-time analysis of data--even though, for our standards at A&T, the algorithmic problems he discusses in detail are, like, yawn easy been there done that. 


Finally: Web site online at

posted Nov 7, 2014, 6:50 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Nov 7, 2014, 7:10 AM ]

This web site finally is online at  Thanks, Maria Gaiduk!

Discrete Lunch changes

posted Oct 27, 2014, 4:39 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis   [ updated Oct 27, 2014, 4:39 AM ]

Starting from Nov 3, 2014, the Discrete Lunch will be held
  • in  room 511     (rather than 317)
  • at  2 pm            (rather than 1pm).
Moreover, whenever a topic is planned (which is to say, when we do not improvise the meeting), we will announce it, with a tiny "abstract" on the Discrete Lunch page of this web site.

These changes come in preparation for a change in all of Theoretical Computer Science: all groups in TCS will hold their weekly meetings at that time (Mon 2pm), and there will be a joint monthly meeting of all of TCS in Tartu--with topics which are of interest to everybody in TCS, and in a language which everybody in TCS can understand.  Since there will be "parallel" meetings, it makes sense to announce what the topics are going to be, so that everybody can decide which meeting he'd like to attend. :)

New PhD student

posted Oct 10, 2014, 7:35 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis

We welcome our new PhD student, Abdullah Makkeh. Abdullah holds a M.Sc. in Math from the Lebanese University in Beirut, where he graduated as first in his class. His thesis project is in random structures and the probabilistic analysis of algorithms, but seeing as he's a big fan of "Everything Finite", he'll be a strong force in combinatorics, too.

Stefan Weltge visiting

posted Oct 10, 2014, 7:28 AM by Dirk Oliver Theis

Stefan is a PhD student in Volker Kaibel's group in Magdeburg, Germany.  His research is in extension complexity of combinatorial optimization problems.

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