Summary: Anup Rao
My research interests are primarily in theoretical computer science. It is an exciting time to be
working in theory -- there are many opportunities to discover new connections and many opportunities
to make progress on foundational questions. I have had success with two such broad questions so far.
Question 1: To what extent is the use of randomness necessary in computer science?
By now it is clear that randomness plays a key role in algorithm design, cryptography and dis-
tributed computing. So it is worthwhile to investigate exactly what can be done with and without
randomness, and to identify the minimal assumptions on the randomness under which we can still get
the benefits of randomized methods. This is the aim of the research area called pseudorandomness.
Question 2: How can we make computationally hard problems even harder?
Finding explicit examples of computationally hard problems is a major project in complexity and
is the central goal of the research area called lower bounds. Such examples would be useful for
generating pseudorandomness, and for cryptography. One way to find such an explicit problem is to
start with a mildly hard problem, and amplify its hardness by transforming it in some simple way.
Similar techniques are also useful to prove that it is hard to approximate the answer to optimization
My research has led to many discoveries, and many avenues for new progress remain. I start by
giving some highlights of my past research.
Pseudorandomness: I have spent most of my efforts in this area on the design of efficient randomness