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

© Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Flemming - 2016

© Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Flemming – 2016

The final day of laureate lectures at the 4th 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. ACM A.M. Turing Award Laureates Barbara Liskov and Sir Anthony Hoare handled the first stage of lectures. Fields Medalist Heisuke Hironaka and Robert Tarjan, who received both the ACM A.M. Turing Award and Nevanlinna Prize, gave the next round of lectures. A brief abstract of each lecture is below and the complete versions are online as well as video recordings available to stream. Friday also included the ‘Scientific Interaction’ which was a networking hour set aside to enable participants to exchange freely and hopefully enhance some connections made at the 4th HLF.

© Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Kreutzer – 2016

© Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Kreutzer – 2016

Barbara Liskov
“The power of abstraction”
Abstraction is at the center of much work in Computer Science. It encompasses finding the right interface for a system as well as finding an effective design for a system implementation. Furthermore, abstraction is the basis for program construction, allowing programs to be built in a modular fashion. This talk will discuss how the abstraction mechanisms we use today came to be and how they are supported in programming languages.

Sir Tony Hoare
“A finite geometric representation of computer program behaviour”
Scientists often illustrate the behaviour of a dynamic system by a geometric diagram, in which one dimension represents the passage of time, and the other(s) represent distribution of objects in space. We develop a non-metric finite plane geometry as an intuitive representation of the behaviour of a computer program running on a modern distributed network of concurrent processors. Our hope is to prove a collection of algebraic laws that are used for the implementation and optimization of programs.

Heisuke Hironaka
“Resolution of Singularities in Algebraic Geometry”
Algebraic geometry in general has three fundamental types in terms of its base ground: (I) ℚ (and its fields extensions), (II) () with a prime number > 0 (and every finite field), and at last (III) ℤ in the case of the arithmetic geometry. In those three cases I will talk about resolution of singularities by means of blowups with permissible centers in smooth ambient spaces. (I) is done in 1964, (II) is proven recently with new concept and technique, while (III) is by combination of (I) and (II). Technically elaborate but conceptually interesting is the case of (II).

Robert Tarjan
“Binary Search Trees”
The binary search tree is one of the most fundamental data structures in computer science, with many applications. Binary search trees support binary search in a set of totally ordered items, and ideally reduce search time from linear to logarithmic. A central question is how to keep such a tree balanced in the presence of updates. The first solution was offered by Adelson-Velskii and Landis in 1962. In spite of a huge volume of work during the intervening 64 years, the design space is rich, and basic questions remain open, notably how best to make a search tree adapt to its usage pattern. In this talk I’ll explore relatively recent new work and interesting open problems.

Following the ‘Scientific Interaction’, the participants loaded back onto the buses and were taken to the Heidelberg Castle for a guided tour. As the sun began its descent over the Neckar valley, one of the best vantage points was the castle terrace, overlooking the city of Heidelberg. Shortly after the ‘Farewell Dinner’ started, the participants were able to hear four final ‘lectures’: Fields Medal and Abel Prize recipient Sir Michael Atiyah and ACM A.M. Turing Award recipient Barbara Liskov took turns addressing the crowd. In the spirit of what the Forum stands for, a young researcher from mathematics, Ben Heuer, and from computer science, Subarna Chatterjee, spoke about their experience at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Later on after dinner had been served and the interactions had time to progress, Beate Spiegel, Chairperson of the HLFF and Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, and Andreas Reuter, Scientific Chairperson of the HLFF, wanted to express their gratefulness to the young researchers and laureates that make the HLF such a vibrant event. Then they invited not only the HLFF Team onto the stage to thank them for another successful Forum, but all of the supporting hands from the Klaus Tschira Foundation that help to make the HLF possible. The night and the 4th HLF came to an organic end, with the purpose in full swing: undeterred communication strengthening bonds used to advance the scientific progress.

Photos from the 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum are available on our flickr account.