Vishnu Iyer

Email: [first name].[last name]
Address: some TBD office in GDC

Bio / Research / Publications / Teaching / Service


I am a first-year PhD student in the theoretical computer science group at UT Austin, working with Scott Aaronson and David Zuckerman. My research interests are in complexity theory and quantum computation (please see the research section for more details). Previously, I was an undergraduate studying EECS at UC Berkeley, where I was incredibly fortunate to be advised by Avishay Tal and Prasad Raghavendra.

I am also keenly interested in teaching computer science. At UC Berkeley, I served as a teaching assistant five times and plan to continue improving as a teacher throughout my academic career. For more information, please visit the teaching section of this page. If you are here from my CS 331 section, go here.

Outside of my academics, I am interested in the natural world, politics, tennis, basketball, and gaming. For example, I am very passionate about civil rights and environmental issues. During my free time, you can find me playing pickup basketball/tennis, playing Minecraft and Pokemon, and cheering on Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Research Overview

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the intersection betwen classical notions of computational complexity and quantum phenomena. For example, what implications do results in physics have on complexity theory (and vice versa), and how can canonical techniques in one area be used to show results in the other? More concretely, some research directions I focus on (or plan to focus on in the near future) include:


Junta Distance Approximation with sub-Exponential Queries (ECCC)
with Avishay Tal and Michael Whitmeyer


I have served on course staff for 6 different course offerings:

For my CS 331 students, my resources page is located here.

In 2019, I received the Oustanding GSI award from the Berkeley Graduate Division, for which I am incredibly grateful to my students and mentors. My full evaluations at UC Berkeley can be found here.


I believe it is very important for academics to impact their environments through service. As an undergraduate, I served on the EECS Undergraduate Study Committee (UGSC), interfacing with professors to address issues such as elitism and discrimination. In addition, I worked with the department to design, administer, and analyze the annual undergraduate experience survey. My peers and I presented the results of this to members of the faculty, which led to a number of changes, including the EE/CS community week and calls for culture change within EECS extracurricular groups.

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