Tim Black

Tim Black
Assistant Instructional Professor
Department of Computer Science
The University of Chicago

Pronouns: he/him

Research area
Combinatorics and Theoretical Computer science

Education, degrees
The University of Chicago
Ph.D. in Mathematics and Computer Science, 2019
Advisor: Prof. László Babai

The University of Chicago
M.S., Mathematics, 2013

California Insitute of Technology
B.S., Mathematics, 2011

tim [my last name] 'at' cs.uchicago.edu

Crerar 203


My research interest is in theoretical computer science (TCS) and discrete mathematics. TCS is in the overlap of mathematics and computer science; it deals with the rigorous analysis of algorithms and mathematical models of computation. Specifically, I have worked in the complexity theory of Boolean functions and in algorithmic coding theory. An overarching theme of my work has been the application of group theory to algorithms and complexity theory.

I am often drawn to problems with a discrete, symmetrical structure that is simple to describe but hard to analyze.


  1. László Babai, Timothy Black, and Angela Wuu. List-Decoding Homomorphism Codes with Arbitrary Codomains. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques, APPROX/RANDOM 2018, pages 29:1-29:18. Schloss Dagstuhl–Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, 2018. Link to arXiv version.

  2. Timothy Black. Products of alternating groups are universally economically list-decodable. In preparation.
  3. Timothy Black. Monotone Properties of k-Uniform Hypergraphs are Weakly Evasive. ACM Trans. Comput. Theory, 11(3):14:1–14:14, April 2019. Previous, conference version: In Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS '15), pp 383-391. 2015. Best Student Paper Award. Use this link for free access to the conference version.

  4. Timothy Black, Alan Guo, Madhu Sudan, and Angela Wuu. List-decoding group homomorphisms to nilpotent groups. In preparation.

Autumn 2020: Instructor, Computer Science with Applications 1 - CS 121 (sections 3 and 5).

Spring 2020: Instructor, Introduction to Computer Science I - CS 151 (sections 1 and 2).

Winter 2020: Instructor, Computer Science with Applications 2 - CS 122 (section 2). Instructor, Linear Algebra with Applications - CAPP 30270.

Autumn 2019: Instructor, Computer Science with Applications 1 - CS 121 (sections 4 and 5).

Winter 2019: Instructor, Mathematics for Computer Science and Data Analysis - CAPP 30271.

Autumn 2018: Instructor, Computer Science with Applications 1 - CS 121 (section 4).

Winter 2018: Instructor, Introduction to Computer Science I - CS 151 (section 2).

Autumn 2017: Instructor, Computer Science with Applications 1 - CS 121 (section 4).

2016-2017: Instructor, Honors Calculus, Inquiry-Based Learning - Math 161, 162, 163 (section 50), coteaching with Sarah Ziesler.

Spring 2016: Special Course Assistant for UChicago Math Study Abroad at the University of Chicago Center in Paris.

Autumn 2015 and Winter 2016: Instructor, Calculus - Math 152 and 153 (section 55).

2014-2015: Instructor, Elem Functions And Calculus - Math 131, 132, and 133 (section 48).

2013-2014: Instructor, Calculus - Math 151, 152, and 153 (section 41).

2012-2013: College Fellow, Analysis in Rn - Math 203, 204, and 205 (sections 31 and 41) with Prof. Alex Eskin, Dr. Hung Tran, and Dr. Inna Zakherevich, respectively.


UChicago Department of Computer Science.

UChicago Department of Mathematics.

Canada/USA Mathcamp is a wonderful summer program for students age 13-18 who are exceptional at math. Students come from around the world for the five-week program. I've been a mentor for four summers, teaching classes on topics including Error-Correcting Codes; Linear Programming; Fourier Analysis on the Boolean Cube; Decision Tree Complexity and Evasiveness; Machine Learning; Probabilistically Checkable Proofs of Proximity; Multiparty Communication Complexity; The Probabilistic Method; Sperner's Lemma; and Hyperreal numbers. I've been affiliated with Mathcamp from long before that; my first summer was as a camper in 2005.

Math Circles of Chicago provides students in grades 5 through 12 in all communities of Chicago access to actively participate in novel mathematics. Since 2017, I have been involved in teaching Euler sessions (for advanced students) at the UChicago YSP Math Circle.

Projective Set is a game played with a deck of 63 cards. Seven cards are placed on the table. Your goal is to find, among those seven cards, a set of those cards such that each color of dot appears on an even number of cards in your set. I made this web app. When you find a set, drag it toward the side of the screen.

last updated 9.16.2020