Michel Goemans

Michel Goemans

Department Head

RSA Professor

Professor of Mathematics

Phone: (617) 253-2688

Office: 2-474, 4-174A


Algorithms, Combinatorics & Optimization


Michel Goemans is the RSA Professor of Mathematics effective July 2021. In 2018, he became Department Head of the Mathematics Department, following a year as Interim Department Head, 2017-2018. He received both the B.S. & M.S. degrees in applied mathematics from UCLouvain in 1987, and completed the Ph.D. at MIT in 1990. Goemans continued at MIT as instructor of applied mathematics, 1990-1992. He subsequently joined the MIT faculty, and is a Member of the Theory of Computation Group at MIT-CSAIL. In 2002 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics, and in 2007 he was selected to be the initial holder of the Leighton Family Professorship through June, 2017.

Goemans' research interests include combinatorial optimization and algorithms, in particular developing new techniques for designing approximation algorithms. He received the A.W. Tucker Prize (1991), the SIAM Activity Group on Optimization Prize (1996 & 1999), the AMS Delbert Ray Fulkerson Prize (2000), the IBM Faculty Partnership Award (2000), and the MIT School of Science Student Advising Award (2004). In 2006, the department selected him for the Robert E. Collins Distinguished Scholarship. A prior Sloan fellow and NSF Career Awardee, Goemans received a 2007 Guggenheim fellowship. In 2012 he received the Farkas Prize of the INFORMS Optimization Society. In 2021 he received the George B. Dantzig Prize from Mathematical Optimization Society and SIAM. He was selected for the Leroy P. Steele Prize of the AMS for Seminal Contribution to Research in 2022.

Goemans is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2016, he received a Honorary Doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) from UCLouvain, Belgium.