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Allon Percus is Professor of Mathematics at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at Claremont Graduate University, a member of the Claremont Colleges. From 2003 to 2006, he was Associate Director of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM) at UCLA, a national institute established by the NSF to spark interactions between mathematicians and scientists from a broad range of fields. He was responsible for scientific oversight of many of IPAM’s activities, working in close collaboration with organizing committees across disciplines to create and run programs spreading the impact of mathematics throughout the sciences.
Dr. Percus received his B.A. in physics from Harvard in 1992 and his Ph.D. from the Université Paris-Sud, Orsay in 1997, following which he spent the first part of his scientific career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His research has combined discrete optimization and statistical physics, exploiting physical models and techniques to study the performance of algorithms on NP-hard problems. Together with Stefan Boettcher, he developed the method of Extremal Optimization that has since been applied to problems ranging from social networks to protein folding. Other research interests include the phase structure of combinatorial problems over ensembles of random instances, using this phase structure to motivate better algorithms and extending the picture to random network models closely reflecting real-world data. Dr. Percus has led several interdisciplinary project teams at Los Alamos, and has organized numerous conferences and workshops exploring the overlap between combinatorics, phase transitions and computational complexity.