Rafael Oliveira

Rafael Oliveira

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

University of Waterloo

I am an Assistant Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo.

From 2017-2019, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and a research fellow at the Simons Institute. Prior to that, from 2012-2017, I was extremely fortunate and happy to have Prof. Zeev Dvir as my Ph.D. advisor at Princeton University.


  • Algebraic Complexity
  • Complexity Theory
  • Optimization
  • Invariant Theory
  • Algebraic Geometry
  • Commutative Algebra
  • Extremal Combinatorics


  • PhD in Computer Science, 2012-2017

    Princeton University

  • MEng in Computer Science, 2011-2012

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • BSc in Mathematics, 2007-2011

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • BSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2007-2011

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology


PhD Students


Abhibhav Garg

PhD Student

Algebraic Complexity Theory, Algebraic Geometry


Abhiroop Sanyal

PhD Student

Algebraic Complexity Theory



Vishwas Bhargava


Algebraic Complexity


Robust Radical Sylvester-Gallai Theorem for Quadratics
Conditional Lower Bounds on the Spectrahedral Representation of Explicit Hyperbolicity Cones
Towards optimal depth reductions for syntactically multilinear circuits
Operator scaling: theory and applications

Prospective Students

I am currently accepting new students who have a strong mathematical background and are interested in the following areas and their connections to other scientific areas:

  • Complexity Theory
  • Algebraic Complexity Theory
  • Computational Algebra
  • Computational Invariant Theory
  • Optimization
  • Computational Algebraic Geometry
  • Convex Algebraic Geometry
  • Coding Theory
  • Symbolic Computation

If you would like to apply please send your application directly to the School of Computer Science and mention that you are interested in working with me in your application.

To Undergraduates Looking for Research Oppotunities

I am happy to learn that you are interested in one of my research projects!

Before you contact me, please carefully read the detailed description of the project you are interested in, including the background material that I am asking from applicants. Also please continue reading!

The best way to work with me is for us to first start working on a problem via an URA or for you to do a final project for one of my classes, and that could develop into a research project in a future term.

I will only consider students directly to URFs if they have an outstanding background, which includes solid command of more advanced material than the prerequisites and/or great performance in mathematics/informatics/physics olympiads.

Current Open Projects

Research Programs by U Waterloo