Friday Extract – A Day at SAP in St. Leon-Rot, an Evening at Heidelberg Castle


The final day of laureate lectures at the 5th Heidelberg Laureate Forum began with a change of venue. All of the young researchers met in front of the New University in Heidelberg to hop on buses that brought them to the SAP campus in St. Leon-Rot. This year, the scientific program con¬cludes with “Research in Industry,” a two-part session at SAP where young researchers learn how to bridge research and industry innovation. A brief abstract of each laureate lecture is below and the complete versions are online as well as video recordings available to stream.

All lectures will be available to stream on the video archive and YouTube.

Sir Michael Francis Atiyah
“The Discrete and the Continuous from James Clerk Maxwell to Alan Turing”
The dichotomy between discrete and continuous splits algebra from analysis, quan¬tum from classical, information from energy, Leibniz from Newton and Turing from Maxwell. But this separation is illusory: great scientists bridged the gap.

Vinton Gray Cerf
“An Interplanetary Internet”
As we continue our exploration of the Solar System, we can see the need for more than point-to-point radio links to support manned and robotic space exploration. In the early 1960s a Deep Space Network was constructed using 70 m antennas located in Madrid, Canberra and Goldstone, California. When the Pathfinder robot was landed on Mars in 1997, a team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory began work¬ing on the design of a multi-node Interplanetary Internet. Its variation on store/ forward protocols led to the development of Delay and Disruption Tolerant Net¬working (DTN) and the Bundle Protocols. These have now been standardized by the UN’s Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and prototype versions are in operation on the Spirit and Opportunity Rovers, the Mars Science Laboratory, the International Space Station and the Mars mapping orbiters to re¬turn data from Mars to Earth. This talk is about the nature of these protocols and their applications. Major challenges are network management, security and flow/congestion control in systems with round-trip times measured in minutes to hours or longer. Naming and addressing and delayed name resolution also play a role. So-called “custody transfer” is used to limit the potential for data loss.

Leslie G. Valiant
“Where Computer Science Meets Neuroscience”
For some problems in science there are several plausible theories and it remains to experimenters to resolve among them. There exist other problems for which, in contrast, no known theory is widely accepted as plausible. Currently computation¬al neuroscience is a field full of opportunity that offers several fundamental prob¬lems of the latter kind. We shall discuss one of these problems: Over a lifetime, the brain performs hundreds of thousands of individual cognitive acts, of a variety of kinds, including the formation of new associations. Each such act depends on past experience, and, in turn, can have long lasting effects on future behavior. It is diffi¬cult to reconcile such large-scale capabilities, including fast reaction times on new inputs when using knowledge acquired at various earlier times, with the known resource constraints on cortex, such as low connectivity and low average synaptic strength. Here we shall describe an approach to this fundamental problem that attempts to explain these phenomena in terms of concrete algorithms for a model of computation that is faithful to the most basic quantitative resources.

Stephen Smale
“Perspectives on Turing”
I have been inspired by Turing and his work and will discuss some thoughts coming from this inspiration.

Following the “Research in Industry” sessions, the participants jumped back onto the buses and were taken to the Heidelberg Castle for a guided tour. As the sun lowered into the Neckar valley, everyone absorbed the sights from one of Heidelberg’s most picturesque vantage points: the castle terrace, with a panoramic view of the city. This year, Prof. Günter M. Ziegler of the Freie Universität in Berlin would be master of ceremony for both the opening and the closing. After a brief pre-recorded video interview with Larwan Berke played, Ziegler invited two first-time participants of the HLF up on the stage for a brief interview, ACM Turing Award recipient, Martin Hellman, and Larissa Cristina Dos Santos Romualdo Suzuki. They were followed by interviews with Vint Cerf, ACM Turing Award recipient, who has attended every HLF thus far, and HLF alumnus, Matthew Tam. Ziegler closed by thanking the HLFF team and all of the supporting hands from the Klaus Tschira Foundation that help to make the HLF possible. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Andreas Reuter, Scientific Chairperson of the HLFF, addressed the audience, urging everyone to protect the causes of science. The 5th HLF concluded in a fitting fashion, with its founding principle visibly evident: Vibrant communication enhancing the bonds used to elevate scientific progress.

Photos from the 5th HLF are available to download from the HLF flickr account.