1 year ago

HLF Review 2016

Welcome Foreword Beate

Welcome Foreword Beate Spiegel Chairperson of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) and Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS) Andreas Reuter Scientific Chairperson of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) Looking back at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2016, there are a couple of things that deserve mention. First, the event was very well received by all participants: laureates, young researchers and guests. You will find details on their feedback in this review. Second, the organizers tried a few modifications to the program structure and its components, responding to comments received by the participants of previous HLF events. The most significant change was applied to the organization of the workshops. In previous years, the postdocs among the young researchers could suggest a workshop topic, and – if selected by the Scientific Committee – they would autonomously prepare and run the workshop. Many participants commented that those workshops often discussed highly specialized subjects, which were only of marginal interest to the other young researchers. So in 2016 we tried a new approach: The laureates and the members of the Scientific Committee were invited to suggest topics that were both scientifically challenging and of interest to many young researchers. This list was sent out to postdocs, inviting them to organize a workshop (ideally in groups of two or three) on one of those topics. In addition, each workshop had a topical expert acting as a mentor to the organizers. All in all, this approach worked quite well, as is demonstrated by the feedback we received from the workshop participants and from the mentors. For future HLFs we will fine-tune this scheme a little bit but by and large keep that structure. The third noteworthy aspect was the special exhibition that we prepared and ran during the HLF week. It gave an overview of the work of the German computer pioneer Konrad Zuse. It did not focus on displaying many samples of (electro-)mechanical devices; instead it explained the variety of abstract concepts conceived by Zuse many years (in some cases decades) before they were re-invented and embraced by mainstream computer science. In the future, the HLFF will try to organize an exhibition on subjects related to math and/or computer science in parallel to each HLF event. And finally, an important extension to the Heidelberg Laureate Forum was discussed during the 2016 event: The inclusion of the ACM Prize in Computing into the HLF. The Scientific Committee discussed the proposal, and it was approved by all three award-granting organizations shortly after the event. So each year we try to make the HLF a bit more interesting, more scientifically challenging, and more rewarding for the participants. In doing so, we completely depend on the insight and collaboration of our partner organizations, the laureates and our alumni. We hope you will enjoy reading this review; it tries to convey a little bit of the typical HLF spirit. 8