Professor T.W. Lam

BSc CUHK; MS, PhD Washington

Tel: (+852) 2859 2172
Fax: (+852) 2559 8447
Email: twlam<at>

Professor Lam graduated with a BSc in Computer Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1984 and received his MS & PhD in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1988. He is now a professor in the Department of Computer Science. He has served as an Associate Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 2001 to 2006.

Professor Lam loves teaching, especially in theoretical subjects. He received a teaching excellence award from the department six times in 97, 00, 02, 05, 06 and 08. While some say that the quality of students today keeps on declining, he finds it even more satisfying to teach - he believes that it is a professor's challenge to devise effective ways to inspire students.

Professor Lam's research focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms for different applications such as on-line scheduling, computational biology, and compressed indexing. After years of research, he has accumulated a long list of open problems to keep himself busy all the time, and has also published extensively in a number of prestigious international conferences and journals. Eight doctoral students have graduated under his supervision; most of them remain as academics in research institutions.

Research Interests

Algorithms, Computational Biology, On-line Scheduling, Parallel Computing

Selected Publications

  • H.L. Chan, T.W. Lam, and K.K. To, Nonmigratory Online Deadline Scheduling on Multiprocessors, Proceedings of the 15th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), pp. 970-979, 2004. (SIAM J. Computing. 34(3): 669-682, 2005)
  • W.T. Chan, T.W. Lam, H.F. Ting, and W.H. Wong, A unified analysis of hot video schedulers, Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), pp. 179-188, 2002
  • T.W. Lam and K.K. To, Performance guarantee for online deadline scheduling in the presence of overload, Proceedings of the Tenth Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), pp.755-764, 2001. (J. of Algorithms, 52(2): 193-206, 2004)
  • K.W. Chong, Y. Han, and T.W. Lam, On the Parallel Time Complexity of Undirected Connectivity and Minimum Spanning Trees, Proceedings of the 10th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), 225-234, 1999. J. of the ACM 48(2): 297-323, 2001)
  • M.Y. Kao, T.W. Lam, T. Przytycka, W.K. Sung, and H.F. Ting, General techniques for comparing unrooted evolutionary trees, Proceedings of the Twenty Ninth Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), pp. 54-65, 1997, (SIAM J. on Computing, 30(2): 602-624, 2000)

Recent Research Grants

  • An algorithmic study of online communication for maintaining data statistics (RGC, 2009-2011, $417,000)
  • Compressed indexs for approximate string mathicng (RGC, 2006 - 2009, $654,000)
  • Algorithms for uncovering conserved genes on whole genomes (RGC, 2004-2007, $650,000)
  • Compressed indexing data structures for biological sequences (RGC, 2002-2004, $512,000)
  • Optimal online scheduling using extra processors (RGC, 2001-2003, $387,000)