Tuesday, January 27, 2015

EATCS Award 2015 to Christos Papadimitriou

I am pleased to announce that the EATCS Awards Committee consisting of Fedor Fomin, Kim G. Larsen and Vladimiro Sassone (chair) has selected  Christos Papadimitriou (UC Berkeley, USA; WWW: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~christos/; Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christos_Papadimitriou) as the recipient of the EATCS Award 2015. Congratulations to Christos!

The award, which is given to acknowledge extensive and widely recognized contributions to theoretical computer science over a life long scientific career, will be presented to Christos at ICALP 2015, which will be held in Kyoto, Japan, in the period 6-10 July 2015. The list of previous recipients of the EATCS Award is here. An official laudatio for the award is forthcoming. What follows is a short preliminary laudatio penned for this blog post.

Christos Papadimitriou’s body of work is of amazing breadth and depth, and has had a profound and lasting influence on many areas of Computer Science.

In an era of great specialization, Christos Papadimitriou stands out as a present-day Renaissance man. He is an intellectual who, citing the title of one of his essays, is not afraid of asking "big queries" and  applies the “computational lens” to shed light on important problems in several areas of scientific enquiry, ranging from economics to the theory of evolution. While doing what he might himself call “extroverted Computer Science”, he has contributed truly seminal work to a large number of fields within our subject, including algorithmics, complexity theory, computational game theory, database theory, internet and sensor nets, optimization and robotics.

Christos Papadimitriou is also one of the very best expositors and teachers within our field. He has written classic textbooks on the theory of computation, combinatorial optimization, database concurrency control, computational complexity and algorithms. In so doing, he has helped to inspire several generations of computer scientists.

If that wasn't enough, Christos Papadimitriou is a tireless expositor and is able to explain the beauty of our discipline to a general educated public. He is not afraid to cross boundaries, and to use literary forms such as novels (see "Turing: A Novel About Computation", http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/turing-novel-about-computation) and comics (see the graphic novel "Logicomix", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logicomix) to offer accessible expositions of the science of computing and its origins.

To sum up, Christos Papadimitriou is one of those rare scientists who combines a large, influential and varied body of scientific results with the gifts of an inspiring teacher and of a great communicator.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Associate/Full Professor Position at Oxford in Algotithms or Complexity

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford is planning to make an appointment at associate/full professor level with effect from 1 September 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter. Applicants should hold a PhD in computer science or a related subject and have experience in any area related to algorithms or complexity.  

The details are here

Please help spread the word.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Three postdoc positions in Computer Science at the Gran Sasso Science Institute, L'Aquila

I  have been asked to advertise three postdoc positions in Computer Science that are available at the Gran Sasso Science Institute in L'Aquila, Italy. The  deadline for application is the 2nd of February. I trust that these positions might be of interest to some of the readers of this blog. 

The Gran Sasso Science Institute currently hosts a little under 20 PhD students in Computer Science and there will be about ten more joining the institute in November 2015. The PhD students from there with whom I have had the pleasure to interact are highly motivated and have good potential. The successful applicants will have a good chance to get some of them involved in their own research. 

L'Aquila lies in my home region, Abruzzo, and  is surrounded by beautiful mountains, national parks and many historical sites. 

The Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI - http://www.gssi.infn.it/), a recently established international PhD school and a Center for advanced studies in L'Aquila (ITALY) offers 12 postdoctoral research positions. Three of these positions are dedicated to Computer Science and more specifically to themes that are strongly connected to the pillars of the PhD program in Computer Science (http://cs.gssi.infn.it), namely:

 * Foundations of social and computer networks
 * Software systems and services
 * Specifications and analysis of concurrent reactive systems

Apart from pursuing their own research agenda, the successful candidates will have the opportunity to take part in the supervision of the roughly 20 PhD students in Computer Science and to cooperate with members of the research group and of the Scientific Board (http://cs.gssi.infn.it/phd-program/information/), as well as with the frequent guests of the institute.

The deadline for application is:

*February 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm (Rome time)*

The annual gross salary is EURO 40K and lunch tickets are provided for working days. The positions are for two years. Candidates must have earned their doctoral degree not earlier than  January 1, 2008.

Selected candidates are expected to start their appointments not later than *September**1st, 2015. *

For information see http://www.gssi.infn.it/postdoc/ and http://www.gssi.infn.it/postdoc//doc01856420141216105324.pdf
.

For any further information feel free to contact Rocco De Nicola (rocco.denicola@imtlucca.it rocco.denicola@imtlucca.it
>), the coordinator of the PhD program in Computer Science, or any other member of the research group or of the Scientific Board http://cs.gssi.infn.it/phd-program/information/

Thursday, January 08, 2015

ACM Fellows 2014

The ACM Fellows vintage 2014 have been named. The list includes several colleagues whose work has advanced TCS, including Samson Abramsky (who is recognized for his contributions to domains in logical form, game semantics, categorical quantum mechanics, and contextual semantics)Leslie Lamport (who received the Turing Award before being named ACM Fellow), Michael Mitzenmacher and Omer Reingold amongst many others. Congratulations to all the ACM Fellows!

As a fellow Italian academic working abroad,  I am happy to see Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli honoured for his contributions to electronic design automation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

PC chairs for ICALP 2016

I am happy to inform you that the PC chairs for ICALP 2016 will be
Many thanks to this colleagues for their willingness to serve as PC chairs for the conference, which will be held in Rome.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

REMINDER: The deadline for nominations for several EATCS Awards is approaching!



This is to remind you that the deadline for nominations for the following awards is the 31st of December 2014:
I strongly encourage members of the TCS community to nominate eligible colleagues for these accolades. Writing a good letter of nominations takes a little work, but  this is time well spent as it puts some of the many outstanding members of our community and their research areas in the spotlight, and provides role models for the younger members of the TCS community.

The deadline for nominations for the Gödel Prize (http://eatcs.org/index.php/goedel-prize) is January 31, 2015.

The award committees for the above-mentioned prizes and honours look forward to receiving your nominations!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A neat problem from the 1989 Maths Olympiads

A few days ago, Universidad Complutense de Madrid hosted a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Maths Olympiads. The programme involved three talks. The first was on "other number systems" (quaternions and octonions) and the second dealt with the roots of random polynomials. In the third talk,  Vicente Muñoz Velázquez presented his personal views on the nature of mathematics before discussing some of the highlights of his research area leading to Yang-Mills and Mass Gap.

According to Vicente, mathematics is a human product and its characteristics are:
  • (The rules of) Logic, 
  • (Modelling of) Reality, 
  • Beauty (transversality, relations between apparently distant fields, generalization and abstraction), 
  • Social activity,
  • Applicability. 
I could not help but think that those characteristics apply equally well to computer science, with the added twist that computer scientists are not only modelling reality, but also inventing and breathing life into "new realities".

During his talk, Vicente presented a problem from the 1989 International Maths Olympiad, in which he took part.

The problem was:

Prove that for each positive integer n there exist n consecutive positive integers none of which is a prime or a prime power.

This is a neat problem that perhaps some of you might like to try and solve.