‘6 out of 200’ – Young Researchers at the 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum

200 young scientists from over 50 nations are meeting in Heidelberg between August 23 and 28, 2015. At the 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), they extensively interact with some of the world’s most renowned scientists in Mathematics and Computer Science. From the selected young researchers, 6 have been chosen to represent the diversity and distinction of the Forum. The young researchers of the HLF are among the brightest scientists in their fields, and in order to showcase that, six were interviewed about how their paths’ led to the Forum. Here is a quick look at the focuses that helped lead them to the 3rd HLF.

Christina Katsimerou, a young researcher from Greece, did not necessarily see herself heading towards computer science. However, her current PhD-project investigates Artificial Intelligence: she is attempting to teach computers to predict the mood of elderly persons solely from video data. In order for this to be accomplished, she had to collect thousands of data points and train with an Artificial Network Model that reads time-lapsed facial expressions and is eventually able to predict mood. Christina aims to “fight depression in elderly patients by making computers recognize their mood. This is a quite broad and interdisciplinary project with a combination of Computer Science and Psychology”. She has come a long way from someone who didn’t own a computer until she was 18.

In fact, many of the young computer scientists and mathematicians arriving in Heidelberg are very open-minded and interested in real world problems. Another good example is Karthikeyan Saravanan, a PhD student from India who is studying in Barcelona. He is seeking to improve the energy efficiency in super computers. “Our lab in Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) focuses on designing next generation supercomputers that are aimed at a lower energy footprint”, he describes his work.

Or take Omowunmi Isafiade, a young Nigerian student doing her PhD on Computer Science in South Africa. Her project deals with public safety: “Most cities in the world today have to face diverse challenges – notably crime issues. Public safety and security agencies archive a great deal of crime information”, she explains her project. “These can be explored for a knowledge driven decision support. Hence a crime mining solution approach can assist security and public safety organizations to channel their resources in an optimal fashion, in order to achieve a focused and effective crime prevention strategy.” Omowunmi Isafiade is also involved in promoting women in Computer Science. She is the co-founder of Digit_inspire Foundation, an initiative to mentor, tutor and inspire female and male students in technical sciences.

Naturally, there are also young people working in the more “pure” fields of Computer Science or Mathematics. Davi Obata for example studies the theory of Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory in his home country Brazil. “These theories try to understand how ‘things’ evolve with ‘time’ for a given law”, he explains. Obata would probably enjoy a conversation with Kristina Mallory, a young US-American, who is studying nonlinear Partial Differential Equations and dynamical systems and how to solve them by means of analytical and perturbation approaches. Sound like complex theoretical subject matter? In fact it is deeply embedded in the real world: “Much of my work addresses problems in mathematical physics and chemistry”, Kristina Mallory says. “Simply put, I am drawn to physical problems because I am interested in the physical world. Many of my personal curiosities exist in physics and biology, and I relish the opportunity
to illuminate the physical mysteries we take for granted.”

Such a perspective should also spark the interest of Ta Viet Ton, a young Vietnamese working in Japan on stochastics. “One of my favorite projects is to study swarming of animals such as a flock of birds, a herd of horses, or a shoal of fish”, he says. “Thanks to some behavioral rules of individual fish given by biological scientists, we presented a mathematical model of stochastic differential equations (SDE) for fish schooling in a free space.”

The complete version of the interviews can be found here: www.scilogs.com/hlf/

Background
The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) annually organizes the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), which is a networking event for mathematicians and computer scientists from all over the world. The 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum takes place from August 23 to 28, 2015. The HLF was initiated by the German foundation Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), which promotes natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The Forum is organized by the HLFF along with the KTS and HITS. It is strongly supported by the award-granting institutions, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM: ACM A.M. Turing Award), the International Mathematical Union (IMU: Fields Medal, Nevanlinna Prize), and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA: Abel Prize).

To the Editors
With this press release, we would like to extend an invitation to attend the Forum as well as to report on the event. Journalists, who wish to attend the 3rd HLF, are requested to register at:
https://application.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/intern/regj_registration_for.php
For individual interview requests, please contact us.

Registration and Press Inquiries
Wylder Green
Christiane Schirok
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