Charles Colbourn


Professor Charles Colbourn earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Toronto in 1980.  He held faculty positions at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), the University of Waterloo, and the University of Vermont.  During this time he was Chair of the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at Waterloo (1993-95), Dorothean Professor of Computer Science at Vermont (1996-2001) and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Vermont (1997-2001).  He joined ASU in 2001. He has authored more than 300 refereed journal papers and three books and has graduated 19 Ph.D. students. He serves on eight editorial boards.

Colbourn’s research employs combinatorial mathematics and algorithms to address problems in diverse areas including software testing, networking (optical, wireless, wireline), computational molecular biology, communications and information theory and experimental design. He develops deep combinatorial results with real applications.


Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Toronto,  1980
M. Mathematics (Computer Science), University of Waterloo, 1978
B.Sc. (Computer Science), University of Toronto, 1976

Research interests

Combinatorial design theory and its applications in communications and networking

Honors and awards

  • The Euler Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Research (2003)
  • Keynote/invited speaker at numerous conferences internationally

Key activities

  • Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Combinatorial Designs
  • Editorial boards of Designs Codes and Cryptography; Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series A; Discrete Mathematics