About Me

Gutekunst, Sam 4641I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering at Cornell University.  At Cornell, I am advised by David Williamson and Karola Mészáros.  Prior to Cornell, I completed my BS in math at Harvey Mudd College in 2014 and my MASt in math (Part III of the Mathematical Tripos) at Cambridge in 2015.

My research is in combinatorial optimization, an interdisciplinary field that straddles mathematics and theoretical computer science.  The questions I study are usually motivated by an underlying network structure on which you want to do something optimally.  (The canonical example is The Traveling Salesman Problem, which motivates some of the questions I’ve been thinking about recently!)  I am especially interested in approximation algorithms for these problems: often mathematical theory indicates that an optimization problem cannot be exactly solved in an efficient manner; instead of developing slow algorithms that solve these problems exactly, the goal is to design efficient algorithms that find good, approximate solutions and give some sort of performance guarantee.  Details and links to my papers can be found here.

Teaching energizes research, and information about my past teaching is available on this page.  Outside of academia, I’m an avid reader and climber.  If you want to trade recommendations about books or climbing gyms, I’m all ears!


scg94 < att > Cornell < dott > edu