New Directions in Approximation Algorithms

April 23-29, 2017

Deadline: February 1, 2017
Note: Attendance is by invitation only.

Sanjeev Arora, Princeton University
Uriel Feige, Weizmann Institute of Science
Michele Goemans, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Shmoys, Cornell University

Previous years:

This is the third symposium organized by Sanjeev Arora (Princeton University), Uriel Feige (Weizmann Institute), Michel Goemans (MIT) and David Shmoys (Cornell University). The first, in January 2013, focused on core techniques and problems of this field. The second, in February 2015, highlighted how the notion of approximation has found uses in other areas, including mechanism design, combinatorial optimization, online algorithms, machine learning, differential privacy and discrepancy theory. The upcoming meeting is expected to address the above themes, as well as new themes such as proving hardness of approximation results under the exponential time hypothesis.


A scientific agenda will be posted here when it becomes available. Meetings will run all day into the evening.

Start Time

The meeting will begin on Monday morning at 9:00 am in the Pavillon meeting room located at the Schloss Elmau Retreat. Breakfast will start at 7:30 am in La Salle restaurant.

Meeting Location

All symposium activities will take place in the Pavillon meeting room located at the Schloss Elmau Retreat.


Participants will have access to a projector and screen for computer based talks as well as blackboards for those who prefer to give board-based talks. High-speed Internet access is available as well.

Wednesday Excursion

On Wednesday symposia activities will be shortened so that anyone interested may attend a hiking excursion. Participants will embark on a fully guided hiking tour from Schloss-Elmau through the Partnach Gorge. The hike difficulty is moderate and will take approximately 3 hours.

Dress Code

Business casual clothing should be worn during the symposia. The weather can change very quickly so we also advise bringing warm-weather clothing appropriate for spring in the mountains.

If you plan on taking part in the hike to Partnach Gorge we advise you to wear hiking boots, or even better, light mountain boots, warm clothing (e.g. a sweater), sun protection (e.g. light cap) and take waterproofs (e.g. raincoat or umbrella) with you. Bringing along a small backpack or satchel in which to carry your water, camera and other items may also be useful to you.



The foundation will coordinate and purchase your air travel to the symposium. Please provide your travel specifications by clicking the registration link above.

Participants arriving via plane will arrive via Munich International Airport (MUC).


The closet train station to Schloss Elmau is Klais. Those traveling by train are advised to book their tickets directly and request reimbursement from the foundation at the conclusion of the meeting.

All participants are required to arrive on Sunday prior to the meeting’s start and attend the entire week. No accommodations will be made for partial participation.

Additional Night at Elmau

The official departure date for all participants is Saturday (meeting activities conclude Friday evening). As a special bonus participants may depart on Sunday at no additional cost. Please note your desired departure date when registering.


Passports are required.

Local Ground Transportation

Arrival at Munich International Airport

The foundation will arrange for your transfer from MUC airport to Schloss Elmau via a private car. After claiming your luggage at baggage claim you will proceed to the exit where a uniformed driver holding a Schloss Elmau sign will greet you.

Travel time from Munich to Schloss Elmau is 90 minutes.

Arrival at Klais Train Station

The foundation will arrange for your transfer from Klais train station to Schloss Elmau via a hotel shuttle.

Travel time from Kalis to Elmau is approximately 15 minutes.

Departure from Schloss Elmau

The day prior to your departure you will receive a departure letter advising on your departure time to the airport or train station via private car. Please meet your driver in the hotel lobby ten minutes prior to your noted departure time. If for any reason your flight departure time changes, please visit the front desk to update hotel staff.


Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway
In Elmau 2, 82493 Krün
Tel: +49 (0) 8823 18-0

Check-in time is at 4:30 PM
Check-out time is 11:30 AM


While Traveling

On days when participants are traveling to or from Germany the foundation will reimburse up to US $50 per day for meals.

Day of Arrival (Sunday)

Participants may dine on their own at any one of Schloss Elmau’s onsite restaurants, the cost of which will be covered by the foundation.

Monday through Friday

All meals occurring during the meeting week will be covered directly by the Simons Foundation. Participants are expected to be present for all foundation-hosted meals.

Breakfast will be served daily starting at 7:30 AM at La Salle restaurant. Food at La Salle is served buffet-style and is open to all hotel guests and a table has been set aside so that symposia participants may dine together.

Lunch will be served daily at La Salle.

Dinner will be hosted around the hotel property at one of the restaurants. Locations are noted on the agenda.

Day of Departure (Saturday)

If departing on Saturday, your breakfast will be covered by the foundation. If you choose to depart on Sunday, you are responsible for all your meals from Saturday lunch onward.


Registration and Travel Assistance

Christophe Vergnol
christophe.vergnol(replace this with the @ sign)
(646) 747-9767

Registration, Hotel and General Meeting Assistance

Meghan Fazzi
Senior Executive Assistant, Simons Foundation
mfazzi(replace this with the @ sign)
(212) 524-6080

Reimbursement and Travel Policy

Any expenses not directly paid for by the Simons Foundation are subject to reimbursement based on the travel policy. Please review the policy and complete the provided reimbursement form when submitting your expenses. Receipts are required for any expenses over $50 USD and are due within THIRTY DAYS (30) after the conclusion of the symposium. Should you have any questions, please contact Meghan Fazzi.

Guest Policy

It is the foundation’s policy to discourage spouses, families or others from joining participants during the meeting. Participants who choose to invite guests to come before or stay on after the meeting do so at their own expense. The Simons Foundation will not cover expenses associated with such extensions.

Additional Nights

Should you decide to extend your stay, Schloss Elmau will honor the conference rate of €337.50/night for up to two nights. Any nights beyond those associated with the conference will not be reimbursed by the foundation. Please note on your registration form if you wish to extend your stay.