Friday, October 07, 2016

Ágnes Cseh receives one of the 2016 Klaus Tschira Awards for Achievements in Public Understanding of Science

It is fair to say that not many computer scientists try to present innovative research findings in a way that is accessible to an interested, but rather unspecialized, public. Even fewer succeed and the rewards for those who do are relatively minor. As a consequence, the number of essays and books about computer science that have a wide readership is substantially smaller than those about astronomy and physics, say. In my humble opinion, this is a pity, since many of intellectual achievements of computer science research deserve to be known by any intellectually curious layperson.

I was therefore happy to learn about the Klaus Tschira Award for Achievements in Public Understanding of Science. Since 2006, the Klaus Tschira Stiftung has looked for young scientists who can write a generally understandable article (8,000 to 9,000 words) in German about their research and the content of their PhD thesis. The prize is awarded in each of biology, chemistry, information technology, mathematics, neurosciences and physics as well as in closely related fields. The contributions are judged by a panel of experts on science and communication, which selects the winners based on scientific quality and on how well the scientific contribution is presented in a way that is amenable to public understanding. Yearly, up to six winners receive the award, which is endowed with prize money of 5,000 Euros. The prize-winning contributions are published in a supplementary issue of the popular science magazine bild der wissenschaft (German). Moreover, all competitors are off ered a participation in a two-day workshop for science communication.

The piece by Ágnes Cseh (a former postdoc of Magnús M. Halldórsson's at ICE-TCS, Reykjavík University) you can find here is the English translation of the German original that was selected as one of the prize-winning contributions for 2016. (It will appear in the October issue of the Bulletin of the EATCS.) It is based on Ágnes’ PhD thesis Complexity and algorithms in matching problems under preferences, which she defended in 2015 under the supervision of Martin Skutella at TU Berlin. I am sure that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did, regardless of whether you believe that algorithms can help us find stable marriages in real life.

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