About – University of Copenhagen

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BARC is a leading center for fundamental algorithmic research, headed by VILLUM Investigator  Mikkel Thorup. Our aim is to attract top talent from around the world to an ambitious, creative, collaborative, and fun environment. Using the power of mathematics we strive to create fundamental breakthroughs in algorithmic thinking, typically disseminated in top venues such as STOC, FOCS, and SODA.

While the focus of BARC is algorithms theory, we do have a track record of surprising algorithmic discoveries leading to major industrial applications.

BARC is located at the Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, and organized by four core researchers: Mikkel Thorup and Stephen Alstrup from University of Copenhagen, and Thore Husfeldt and  Rasmus Pagh from IT University of Copenhagen.

The BARC center was established in September 2017 with an initial grant of over €5 million from  VILLUM FONDEN. It also hosts a number of projects and researchers financed by other sources.

Funded by

Organised by

Leadership Team

Mikkel Thorup
VILLUM Investigator and Head of BARC

D.Phil. from Oxford University, 1993. From 1993 to 1998 he was at the University of Copenhagen. From 1998 to 2013 he was at AT&T Labs-Research. Since 2013 he has been full professor at University of Copenhagen and Head of Center for Efficient Algorithms and Data Structures (EADS) supported by an Advanced Grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research. Mikkel is a Fellow of the ACM and of AT&T, and a Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. He is co-winner of the 2011 MAA Robbins Award and winner of the 2015 Villum Kann Rasmussen Award for Technical and Scientific Research, Denmark's biggest individual prize for research. His main work is in algorithms and data structures and he is the editor of this area for the Journal of the ACM. One of his best-known results is a linear-time algorithm for the single-source shortest paths problem in undirected graphs.

Stephen Alstrup
Core Researcher

Alstrup is professor at University of Copenhagen, loves big-O, inverse Ackermann, and graph theory. Stephen was one of the five founders of the IT University of Copenhagen, CEO/founder of Octoshape with hundreds of millions of software installation before acquired by Akamai. In addition to BARC, Stephen is leading the algorithm part of the largest Danish research center in Big Data, is advisor for the minister of education, and member of a national think tank. His research results were selected to Highlights of Algorithms in 2016. A favorite result is a paper giving a graph of size O(n) containing all trees as node induced subgraphs (JACM 2017).

Thore Husfeldt
Core Researcher

PhD in computer science from Aarhus University in 1997, with a thesis on the computational complexity of data structures. More recently, his research has focused on algorithms for computationally hard problems, in particular fundamental graph problems. Thore’s specific interest is computation in the exponential time regime, including algorithms design and parameterized complexity. He is professor of computer science at Lund University in Sweden and associate professor at IT University of Copenhagen. One of his best-known results is a faster algorithm for coloring the vertices of a graph.

Rasmus Pagh
Core Researcher

PhD from Aarhus University, 2002. Has been affiliated with IT University of Copenhagen since 2002, and was promoted to professor in 2013. He has led several research projects, most recently an ERC Consolidator Grant (2014-19) on Scalable Similarity Search. His research interests include randomized algorithms for large-scale, possibly high-dimensional data. Rasmus has given keynotes conferences in experimental algorithms, database theory, pattern matching, similarity search, knowledge discovery, and algorithms theory. A well-known result of his research is the cuckoo hashing algorithm.

Anne Primdahl Kristensen
Centre Administrator

MA in International Business Communication from Copenhagen Business School, 2008. Anne joined the University of Copenhagen in August 2017. Prior to that, she has worked as a freelance linguist and in the consulting industry. She specialises in facilitating international collaboration, strategic networking and business development and draws from years of experience with cross-cultural projects, mainly within engineering. With recent positions as Quality Manager, Market Coordinator and Project Manager, Anne brings management skills and a passion for communication and professional knowledge sharing to the team.

Projects and Outreach

In a world where the amount of data is growing explosively, effective algorithms become more and more critical. We need to work together to address this challenge. BARC is all about collaboration and a world-class, inspiring environment. Working together strengthens the depth of the fundamental research we do, as well as its impact on society.

Research projects

The following fundamental research projects are currently found at BARC:

Synergy with applied research

BARC is co-located with the DABAI project, which seeks to show the impact of algorithms in big data applications.

DABAI helps propel relevant discoveries from BARC to reach beyond its theoretical core, and to impact science and industry.


DABAI core researchers are engaged in shaping the public discussion of computing, and algorithms in particular. Activities include talks aimed at a broad audience, organizing the DIKU Business Club, and participation in advisory panels.

Career Opportunities at BARC

BARC aims to be a great place to pursue a career in algorithms research. We expect a large number of opportunities at all levels of seniority.

  • PhD and Postdoc opportunities
    BARC will regularly announce PhD and post-doc positions (funded either directly by BARC or by a project hosted at BARC). In addition, we sometimes host post-docs with external funding, e.g. the Marie Skłodowska-Curie program.

  • Permanent positions
    Long-term growth plans at computer science departments of several universities makes Copenhagen an attractive place to pursue a permanent faculty position at every level, from tenure-track to full professorship.

Stay updated on open positions at BARC

If you wish to stay updated on open positions at BARC, please fill out this form. We will send you an e-mail when there are open positions within your interest.


Positions at DIKU

Positions at ITU