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I am an Assistant Professor at the School of Computational Science and Engineering, since August 2013. Before that I was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute for Computational Sustainability. I finished my PhD in Computer Science at Cornell University in January 2012 under the supervision of Carla Gomes.


I work on challenging computational problems that arise in the area of sustainability and sustainable development. In particular, decision and optimization problems are at the heart of many applications domains in the new interdisciplinary field of Computational Sustainability. I am interested in network design problems as they arise in large-scale wildlife conservation planning concerning landscape connectivity. I also work on stochastic optimization approaches to the management of diffusion processes or cascades, such as wildlife dispersal, the spread of invasive species, disease outbreaks, forest fires, as well as social networks. My work on sustainability-related problems is focused both on novel meaningful and fulfilling application domains of computational techniques, as well as on identifying new computational problems in optimization and network design that require the development of models and solution techniques that push forward the field in general.

Full CV


  • Ph.D. (2005 - 2012) Computer Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
    PhD Minor in Operations Research.
  • B.Sc. (1999-2004) Computer Science, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, CANADA (Graduated with Honors, Convocation Medal in Applied Sciences).
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)(1997-1999) United World College of the Adriatic Trieste, ITALY


  • 2017 Georgia Tech Edenfield Faculty Fellowship Award
  • 2017 LexisNexis Dean's Excellence Award in the College of Computing
  • 2016 KDD Best Student Paper Award Runner-up (Applied Data Science)
  • 2015 Fellow at the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems
  • 2015 Lockheed Inspirational Young Faculty Award
  • 2015 Raytheon Faculty Fellowship
  • 2014 Georgia Power Professor of Excellence Award
  • 2011 Best paper award, ENRE Sessions in Forestry, INFORMS Annual Meeting
  • 2008-2010 NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship
  • 2008 Graduate Teaching Assistant Award,Computer Science, Cornell University
  • 2007 Nominated for Best paper Award, AAAI: Conference on Artificial Intelligence 2007
  • 2007 Google Anita Borg Scholarship
  • 2004 Dean of Applied Sciences Convocation Medal, Simon Fraser University
  • 2003 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award
  • 2003 B.C. Sugar Achievement Award
  • 1999-2004 International Gordon M. Shrum Scholarship
  • 1997-1999 United World College Scholarship


PhD Students

Elias Khalil (Fall 2014 - Present)

Amrita Gupta (Fall 2015 - Present)

Caleb Robinson (Fall 2015 - Present)

Aaron Ferber (Starting Fall 2017)


CSE 6140: CSE Algorithms, Fall 2015 [ link ]

CSE 6140: CSE Algorithms, Fall 2014 [ link ]

CSE 8803: Computational Sustainability, Spring 2014 and 2015 [ link ]

CompSust Conference, 2012: Tutorial Presenter, Master class at International Conference on Computational Sustainability (CompSust), Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012

Ongoing Projects

Wildlife Corridor Design
Connected Subgraph Problem with Node Profits and Node Costs

Landscape Connectivity
Upgrading Shortest Paths in Networks

Conservation Planning with Meta-population Models
Network Design for Cascade Optimization

Building Design Optimization

Bistra Dilkina

Contact Information

Bistra Dilkina
1304 Klaus Bldg
266 Ferst Drive
Atlanta, GA 30332
bdilkina at