Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ICE-TCS Theory Day 2009

Last Friday, ICE-TCS hosted its fifth annual theory day. This is an event we organize each year to advertise TCS to the local scientists and students, usually in connection with visits by guests of the centre from outside Iceland. (The list of previous guest speakers includes Thomas Erlebach, Wan Fokkink, Ryan Hayward, Jan Kratochvil, Kim G. Larsen, MohammadReza Mousavi, Mogens Nielsen and Moshe Vardi.)

The programme for this year's event is here. We had a keynote address delivered by Zoltan Esik, who presented work on regular words and linear orders, which may be found in, e.g., this paper of his. The session devoted to algorithms saw two excellent talks by the Halldórsson brothers on algorithms for detecting genomic copy variations and on scheduling wireless networks. (The latter talk was based on a paper that will be presented at ICALP 2009.) The scientific programme was brought to a close by two talks by PhD students, who are the future of TCS. Paul van Tilburg (Eindhoven University of Technology, NL) described some of the results he has achieved in his research work so far, which aims at connecting the time-honoured theory of automata with the theory of processes. Matteo Cimini (a PhD student I am supervising with Anna Ingolfsdottir) explained the Curry-Howard isomorphism, which is one of the pearls of TCS, to all of us in a clear way.

The event was followed by wine, pizza and a social gathering. The only happening that marred our celebration of TCS is a 6% salary cut that was announced by our rector during the session in the programme devoted to algorithms.

"May you live in interesting times" says an old Chinese curse. These are definitely interesting times here in Iceland, alas. However, despite the lack of resources, ICE-TCS will try to keep waving the flag of TCS on the island as far as it can. If you happen to be in Iceland and you wish to drop by and give a talk in our seminar series, drop us a line.

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