Claire Mathieu

Claire Mathieu

Professor of Computer Science

Contact Information

Box 1910
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Email: claire at
Personal home page:

Research Areas

Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Combinatorial Optimization
Theory of Computation

Courses Taught

CSCI1570   Design and Analysis of Algorithms

About Claire

Tell us a little about your background: educational, professional, personal, etc.

I got my education in France but visited Princeton university for a year during my graduate studies. The first invitation I ever received  to give a seminar about my research happened while I was a graduate student in the late 1980s and came from the Brown computer science department.  

What do you focus on in your research?  Any recent advances?

My research is on the design and analysis of algorithms, with an emphasis on techniques for approximation algorithms for NP-hard optimization problems. This includes designing approximation schemes for strip-packing, some scheduling problems, metric max-cut and clustering, and feedback arc set on tournaments. Recently I have had some interest in the "lift-and-project" technique from mathematical programming to strengthen linear programming relaxations of integer problems.

What do you like teaching classes about?

Problem-solving is my strength, and I enjoy teaching classes that give me a chance to try and help students develop better problem-solving skills, such as courses revolving around Algorithms and the mathematics of computer science.

How did you become interested in computer science?

As an undergraduate majoring in Math, I used to think that I would like to specialize in number theory or in some field having to do with numbers. But I had a mandatory introduction to programming course, and was thrilled to discover the world of programming. A short introductory course on the mathematical analysis of algorithms confirmed my interest and caused me to go to graduate school in computer science. 

What is your favorite thing about Brown?

The students are interested in learning. They ask good questions, they participate actively in class, they are smart and they sometimes work hard. They don't care very much about grades and neither do I.  It is a real pleasure to teach them. 

Any hobbies or passions?

I like wild mountain scenery. I go backpacking in the mountains, usually in Europe, for at least one week per year. 

All publications by Claire Mathieu