Sami Davies

Sami Davies
Post-doctoral researcher
Northwestern University

sami [at]
sam.elli.davies [at]
I am a post-doctoral researcher in Theoretical Computer Science at Northwestern University. When I'm not in Evanston, I am working from Seattle. I am a member of the 2021 class of CIFellows. Broadly speaking, I like problems in combinatorial optimization, think hypergraph matchings, coloring, and scheduling stuff.

In June 2021, I graduated with my Ph.D. in math from the University of Washington, where I worked between the Department of Mathematics and the theory group in the Allen School. I was advised by Thomas Rothvoss. I earned my B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and my M.S. from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Jun 3

Getting ready to head to MAPSP! My amazing co-author, Shirley Zhang, will be presenting work from our recent paper on minimizing flow time given an active time budget.

May 15

New paper on minimizing flow time with an active time budget—a type of energy minimization constraint—is available and has been accepted to SPAA 2022.

Oct 28

Our paper on the hardness of scheduling with non-uniform communication delays was accepted to SODA 2022.

Oct 1

I am officially a postdoc at Northwestern University now. I’ll be spending my time sometimes in Chicago/ Evanston, sometimes in Seattle.

Jul 1

Happy to announce that I am a member of the 2021 cohort of CIFellows.

Jun 1

I successfully defended today! I’m very excited to be starting a postdoc in October at Northwestern University :)

May 30

Our paper on algorithms for the approximate trace reconstruction problem was accepted to ISIT!

May 15

New paper on the hardness of scheduling with non-uniform communication delays.

Dec 28

I presented more work on scheduling jobs with communication delays at SODA 2021. Check out the talk.

Nov 16

Giving a talk at FOCS this week on scheduling jobs with precedence constraints and communication delays. Check out the long (20 min) version of the talk.

Oct 15

We continue studying scheduling in more general settings in a new paper (to be online soon), which was accepted for presentation at SODA 2021.

Oct 7

I’m grateful to receive the Tanzi-Egerton Fellowship from the Math department.

Jun 22

I’m starting a summer internship at Microsoft Research next week.
Seattle summers are July–September :)

Jun 18

Happy to be receiving a Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant!

Apr 27

New paper on scheduling jobs with precedence constraints and communication delays.

Feb 5

Attending the Dagstuhl Seminar on Scheduling mid-February. Is there vegan food in Germany, or will I be surviving on beer for a week?


Balancing Flow Time and Energy Consumption
SPAA 2022, May 2022
Lower Bounds on the Total Variation Distance Between Mixtures of Two Gaussians
ALT 2022, September 2021
On the Hardness of Scheduling With Non-Uniform Communication Delays
SODA 2022, May 2021
Approximate Trace Reconstruction
ISIT 2021, December 2020
Scheduling with Communication Delays via LP Hierarchies and Clustering II Weighted Completion Times on Related Machines
SODA 2021, October 2020
Scheduling with Communication Delays via LP Hierarchies and Clustering
FOCS 2020, April 2020
Reconstructing Traces from Trees
COLT 2019, March 2019
A Tale of Santa Claus, Hypergraphs and Matroids
SODA 2020, July 2018
Algorithms for finding knight's tours on Aztec diamonds
Involve, a Journal of Mathematics, May 2017

Personal, but work related


I completed my 200 RYT in the summer of 2019. I teach yoga classes at UW.


I run a lot. I really like to run. Often it’s with Race Condition Running, which is open to anyone who’d like to join us!

Inclusivity & Engagement
  • I was a mentor with the Washington Directed Reading Program during the following quarters: Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Winter 2021. I lead projects with undergraduates outside of the WDRP during the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 quarters.

  • I was the secretary for UW’s chapter of AWM during the 2018-2019 academic year. We host events to help create a supportive and inclusive environment for women and underrepresented minorities in mathematics (WUMiM).

  • I co-taught the course Math in Society to an amazing groups of people during the Summer of 2018 through FEPPS. FEPPS provides college education for incarcerated women, trans-identifying, and gender nonconforming people in Washington. I have tutored and done other work through FEPPS, as well.

  • I volunteered at UW’s Math Circles during the Spring of 2018.