KNAW webinar

A.M. Turing Award evening. Devoted to compilers, algorithms and international cooperation

4 November 2021 from 19:00 to 20:30 hrs
Online via Zoom
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From mobile phones to cars: almost all technology we use is facilitated by computer programs. The work of Alfred Vaino Aho and Jeffrey David Ullman has made a major contribution to the way in which computers are operated. For this work, they received the 2020 A.M. Turing Award, also referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for computer science’.

In this webinar, three scientists will deal with the latest developments relating to compilers and algorithms. They will also discuss the challenging aspects of international cooperation following the commotion surrounding the award of the prize to Ullman.

Speakers and abstracts

  • Harry Wijshoff, Professor of Computer and Software Systems, specifically High Performance Computing, Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science – Programming future computer systems – a matter of control

Up till now, computers have been instructed through a straight chain of commands that are predefined by a program consisting of algorithms and data structures which, thereupon, are compiled down into a stream of computer readable instructions. Harry Wijshoff discusses some recent developments through which this chain of commands can be broken down, so that computer systems themselves become more in charge of their own execution whilst still maintaining (human) control.

  • Nelly Litvak, Professor of Algorithms for Complex Networks, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Twente – Quick detection of high-degree entities in large online social networks

On-line social networks claim a central role in delivering and spreading information, facts and opinions. Popular groups and users are pivotal in this process, and the number of followers is a common proxy of popularity. This contribution deals with the problem of finding the most followed users and groups in a social network. This sounds like a simple sorting problem, but it is not, mostly because the network is not available to us, so we can find the most popular entities only by exploration. Nelly Litvak discusses a simple, efficient, and easy to implement two-stage randomised algorithm that provides a highly accurate solution for this problem.

  • Maarten de Rijke, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Information Retrieval, University of Amsterdam – Uncomfortable dialogues

What can you do as an academic researcher when walls are erected around countries? Should you discontinue any academic collaborations you might have with stakeholders in those countries and refrain from setting up new ones? How can you make a positive difference? In his contribution, Maarten de Rijke shares a perspective on and experiences with working with stakeholders in challenging countries, based on a simple yet consequential maxim: maintain a dialogue.

About the A.M. Turing Award

The prize is named after British mathematician, computer pioneer and computer scientist Alan Turing, who devised the familiar Turing Machine. The Turing Award is considered to be the highest award in computer science. The award is also known as the 'Nobel Prize for computer science'. The Turing Award is given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to an individual for his or her technical contribution to the computer science community. The contribution must be of sustainable and fundamental importance for computer science. The Turing Award was first awarded in 1966.