Hot Topic 2014

“The Role and the Potential of Mathematics and Computer Science in Developing Nations/Emerging Economies“

The science system and the economic situation of a country are closely linked to one another: Rich Pupils in Phnom Phen listening to a lecture concerning computer science.countries have sophisticated education systems and a diverse research landscape, whereas poor countries are characterized by a weak scientific infrastructure. Many scientists from these countries do research or teach in the Western world. At the same time, the richer scientific systems recruit and educate students from poorer regions. When these students want to return to their families and friends as fully qualified scientists, they face poor conditions for their professional career and they are often forced to go to the knowledge hubs in America or Europe. How can methodically shaping research and teaching in mathematics and computer science influence this situation?

The “Hot Topic” afternoon of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum continues the discussion of the MENAO conference of the International Mathematical Union(IMU), which already addressed this topic in Seoul at the beginning of August. The IMU, partner of the HLFF, has been promoting mathematics and supporting mathematicians in developing countries since 1971. It also provides advice and counsel to international facilities and institutions as well as government and non-government organizations.

Five presentations will cover the subject at Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2014: The mathematician Adamou Ibrahim has been employed as a full-time professor in his home country Niger since he Ecuadorian PhD student Hermann Menaparticipated in the 1st HLF as a young researcher last year. Only in 2011, the number of universities in Niger increased to four – before 2011 there was only one. Mohammad Kaykobad, computer scientist from Bangladesh, will talk about math olympics, which he has been successfully organizing for several decades: People from all social classes in Bangladesh are eager to participate in these competitions. A fact that causes envy in Western regions. Peter Benner from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems and his former Ecuadorian PhD student Hermann Mena, who originates from the Ecuadorian indigenous tribe of the Otavalos, will explain how a science politics crime story helped to jump start mathematics in Ecuador and at the same time minimized the cultivation of coca. The scientist Phanpheakdey Nguon will talk about how passionate Cambodia is about computer science and mathematics. He will present his plans of a research center for scientific computing in Phnom Penh.
After these four initial presentations from India, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Cambodia and Niger, the organizer of the event, the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) is looking forward to a vivid discussion, which will be joined by the current president of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), Ingrid Daubechies, and Vinton Cerf, the past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Speakers and Abstracts (click on title to download as .pdf):

Peter Benner is currently acting as Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg. His research focuses on computational methods in systems and control theory. He supervised Herman Menas PhD thesis in 2007 and both mathematicians worked on Mathematics in the Borderlands (PDF Download).

Abstract: Hermann Mena, Peter Benner – How Herbicides Advanced Applied Math in Ecuador

Adamou Ibrahim will be at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum for the second time. In 2013 he attended the first Forum as Young Reseacher and got shortly after his participation a permanent professorship in his home country Niger.

Abstract: Amadou Ibrahim – Mathematics and Computer Sciences in Niger: Role, Difficulties and Prospects

Next to mathematics Mohammad Kaykobad loves to write. The Professor of computer science and engineering is also author and columnist in his home country Bangladesh and started nationwide science opympiads.

Abstract: Mohammad Kaykobad – The Role of Mathematics and Computer Science in Developing Countries

Phanpheakdey Nguon‘s field of interest is comp. architecture, comp. geometry and image processing with main applications in cultural heritage. He received his PhD a in 2009 and is now dean of the faculty of engineering at the Royal University Phnom Penh.

Abstract: Phanpheakdey Nguon – tba

PJ Narayanan is former president of ACM India and currently the Director of IIIT, Hyderabad. Narayanan has been the Co-Chair of ACM India Council from its inception in 2009. He serves on several committees on Computer Science in India, dealing with education and research.

Abstract: PJ Narayanan – tba

Place and Time:
The “Hot Topic” afternoon on “The Role and the Potential of Mathematics and Computer Science in Developing Nations/Emerging Economies“ will be held on September 23, 2014, starting at 3 p.m., in the Neue Aula at the Neue Universität, Universitätsplatz, 69117 Heidelberg.