Pascal Van Hentenryck

Pascal Van Hentenryck

Adjunct Professor of Computer Science

Contact Information

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

Research Areas

Artificial Intelligence
Combinatorial Optimization
Computational Biology
Programming Languages
Verification and Reliable Systems
Parallel Computing

Courses Taught

CSCI0040   Introduction to Scientific Computing and Problem Solving
CSCI0310   Introduction to Computer Systems
CSCI1810   Computational Molecular Biology
CSCI2580   Solving Hard Problems in Combinatorial Optimization: Theory and Systems
CSCI2730   Programming Language Theory

About Pascal

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

I once took a cab in California and the driver asked me where I came from. I told him I was born in Belgium and there was a long silence. After a while, I asked him whether he knew where Belgium was. He told me that Belgium was the capital of Brussels. I was impressed. Most Belgians probably do not even know that Rhode Island exists.

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

I mostly work on computational techniques for disaster management, computer-aided verification of processors, and computational biology. And of course, constraint programming, I was born to ... work on constraint programming.

What do you like teaching classes about?

Anything that gets me excited and of course that I am able to understand. But I am fortunate: 31 and 258 are my dream courses; they allow me to convey one or two fundamental messages on computer science.

How did you become interested in computer science?

In college, I enrolled to study economics. I had the option to take a track with computer science courses. I had no idea what computer science was, but I figured out that an option is better than no option. I fell in love with computer programming (and also a wonderful girl) and I switched to computer science after two years. We had a DEC-20 on which I could program in APL, Cobol, Lisp, and Prolog (only in priority 7 however) and an Apple-II lab in which we brought in some mattresses since the department closed at 10 or 11pm and the only other option was to jump from the windows, which we did a couple of times.  

What is your favorite thing about Brown?

The undergraduate and the graduate students who are phenomenal. Also the concentration of uniformly talented and interesting faculty members. The students keep you hungry and the faculty curious.   

Any hobbies or passions?

I work and I spend time with my family. They are my passions. I am the most boring guy ever!

All publications by Pascal Van Hentenryck