Copenhagen launches international powerhouse for algorithm research

Two ITU researchers are among the driving forces in the new research center BARC, which aims to attract talent from all over the world and create breakthroughs in algorithm research. Developing efficient algorithms for handling large amounts of data will be one of the key areas of research.

Computer ScienceCollaborationsResearchalgorithmsThore HusfeldtRasmus Pagh

The new Copenhagen-based research center Basic Algorithms Research Copenhagen (BARC) brings together some of Denmark’s strongest capacities within algorithm research and aims to become the leading European research center in the field of algorithms.

The center is funded by a grant of nearly DKK 40 million from the VILLUM Investigator program to Mikkel Thorup, a professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen. He is launching BARC in collaboration with Stephen Alstrup (KU), Rasmus Pagh (ITU) and Thore Husfeldt (ITU). Collectively, the four researchers have versatile competencies within algorithms and extensive experience from both academia and the industry.

"Becoming a VILLUM Investigator will have huge impact. We need cooperation and mutual inspiration. With the grant, I can gather the strongest algorithm researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the IT University of Copenhagen, and acquire critical mass and an environment that will attract top international talent. Copenhagen will be the center for algorithmics in Europe - a magnet for talent and development within algorithmics," says Mikkel Thorup.

A universal problem solving technique
Efficient algorithms are already today a cornerstone of all software - without them our computers and the internet would function at a snail's pace or not at all.

"You can think of algorithms as a universal problem solving technique. Very often, you will come up with an idea to solve a problem by concentrating on the basic algorithmic problem, detached from its application. This is the kind of basic research that BARC will allow us to focus on," explains Associate Professor Thore Husfeldt.

The amount of data is currently growing at much faster rate than the speed of computers. For this reason, efficient algorithms are becoming  increasingly crucial for managing and analyzing data. At the same time, expectations for what software should be able to do are growing, which in turn increases the complexity of the problems algorithms must handle.

"ITU's role in BARC is exactly to focus on algorithmic problems that are particularly challenging because of the large amounts of data, high complexity, or both," says Professor Rasmus Pagh.

The new research center will be physically located at the University of Copenhagen and begins work on September 1, 2017.

Further information

Rasmus Pagh, Professor, phone +45 7218 5284, email

Thore Husfeldt, Associate Professor, phone +45 7218 5075, email

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email