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Visions in Theoretical Computer Science: A Report on the TCS Visioning Workshop 2020

by   Shuchi Chawla, et al.

Theoretical computer science (TCS) is a subdiscipline of computer science that studies the mathematical foundations of computational and algorithmic processes and interactions. Work in this field is often recognized by its emphasis on mathematical technique and rigor. At the heart of the field are questions surrounding the nature of computation: What does it mean to compute? What is computable? And how efficiently? Every ten years or so the TCS community attends visioning workshops to discuss the challenges and recent accomplishments in the TCS field. The workshops and the outputs they produce are meant both as a reflection for the TCS community and as guiding principles for interested investment partners. Concretely, the workshop output consists of a number of nuggets, each summarizing a particular point, that are synthesized in the form of a white paper and illustrated with graphics/slides produced by a professional graphic designer. The second TCS Visioning Workshop was organized by the SIGACT Committee for the Advancement of Theoretical Computer Science and took place during the week of July 20, 2020. Despite the conference being virtual, there were over 76 participants, mostly from the United States, but also a few from Europe and Asia who were able to attend due to the online format. Workshop participants were divided into categories as reflected in the sections of this report: (1) models of computation; (2) foundations of data science; (3) cryptography; and (4) using theoretical computer science for other domains. Each group participated in a series of discussions that produced the nuggets below.


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