Skip to main content

Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science David Eppstein is one of 10 UCI researchers to be named an AAAS Fellow this year.

UCI Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science David Eppstein was recently named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an organization that “seeks to advance science, engineering and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” AAAS recognized Eppstein for his distinguished contributions to graph algorithms, computational geometry and graph drawing.

As Eppstein explains, “My research is in the area of algorithms — how to design computer programs that solve the problem you want to solve and that run quickly.” The algorithms he works on generally involve geometric problems or graphs, which are an abstract way of representing connections between pairs of things. “I’ve also done a lot of work in not just computing properties of these things,  but also visualizing them, taking some social network — such as your Facebook friends — and making a drawing that lets you see the visual pattern of the connections there.”

Eppstein is one of 10 UCI researchers to be named an AAAS Fellow this year. At the annual AAAS meeting in Austin, Texas on Feb. 17, 2018, new fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold-and-blue rosette pin.

Eppstein, who is also an ACM Fellow, says he was happy to learn he had received the honor. “It is something that people outside the university see as a sign of recognition.” For example, he says organizations such as Wikipedia will consider things like AAAS fellowships when determining whether to include an article on a professor. Eppstein has made close to 100,000 edits to Wikipedia and created more than 1,000 articles. “One of the things I spend a lot of time on, basically as a service to the community, is editing Wikipedia.”

Eppstein has also been hard at work writing a new book, Forbidden Configurations in Discrete Geometry (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He says that in addition to “pure math,” the book discusses computation geometry, including a famous problem in this area that involves convex polygons. “I’ve been looking at a lot of problems in geometry with that sort of flavor. They involve the properties of points in a plane. It turns out that it’s a big area but one that hadn’t been very unified, and I found a unifying framework for it all that I wrote about for the book.”

Although the book is more theoretical — he wasn’t trying to make it an “applied work” — there are practical connections to robust statistics and geometric data structures that could be made. According to the publisher, the expected online publication date is April 2018.

— Shani Murray