Prof. Virginia Vassilevska Williams

Research area: Theory and Algorithms

Virginia Vassilevska Williams is the Steven and Renee Finn Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, she graduated from the German Language High School in Sofia in 1999. She graduated from Caltech with B.Sc. in Mathematics and Engineering and Applied Science in 2003. Vassilevska received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 2008 under Prof. Guy Blelloch. After that, she spent an academic year as a postdoctoral member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, in Avi Wigderson’s group. Between 2009 and 2011 she was a Computing Innovations Fellow at University of California, Berkeley, working with Prof. Satish Rao, after which she spent two years (2011-2013) as a part-time Research Associate at Stanford, and a part-time Assistant Research Engineer at UC Berkeley. In 2013 Vassilevska joined the Computer Science Department at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor. In early 2017, she moved to MIT as an Associate Professor in EECS and earned tenure in 2019.

Her research is broadly in the design and analysis of algorithms, focusing on problems in graphs (such as shortest paths) and matrices (such as computing matrix products). She also has an interest in computational social choice. She is known for her research in computational complexity theory and algorithms. She is notable for her breakthrough results in fast matrix multiplication, for her work on dynamic algorithms, and for helping to develop the field of fine-grained complexity.

Williams was an NSF Computing Innovation Fellow for 2009–2011 and won a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2017. She was an invited speaker at the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians, speaking in the section on Mathematical Aspects of Computer Science (watch presentation here).