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Veit Elser


Veit Elser

Educational Background

B.S., 1979, California Institute of Technology; Ph.D., 1984, U.C. Berkeley. Postdoctoral member of Technical Staff, ATT Bell Laboratories, 1984-86; Member, Technical Staff, ATT Bell Laboratories, 1986-88. Assistant Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1988-93; Associate Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1993-2001; Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 2001-present. Visiting professor, Universität Tübingen, 1994-95. William L. McMillan Prize, 1988; Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1989-92; Presidential Young Investigator, 1989-94; David and Lucille Packard Fellow, 1989-94; Guggenheim Fellow, 1994-95; Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, 1994-95; Erskine Fellow 2010. Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics, 2015.



Phase retrieval algorithms, image reconstruction, optimization, protein folding


  • Physics

Graduate Fields

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physics


  • Center for Applied Mathematics (CAM)
  • Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR)
  • Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP)


We develop algorithms for reconstructing particles from noisy diffraction patterns. Currently our efforts are directed at data taken with x-ray free electron lasers, such as the Linac Coherent Light Source. We also work closely with the group of Sol Gruner on image reconstruction in the limit of ultra low photon flux. Over the years we have noticed that our algorithms perform very well on some NP-hard problems; these applications have become a second line of research.


Graduate Students
Yi Jiang, Ti-Yen Lan



Fall 2021


V. Elser, A network that learns Strassen multiplication, JMLR 17 (2016) 1-13.