What’s Trending Vol. 1

Posted 3 March 2016 by Wylder Green

Written by Julia Eberhardt and Wylder Green As part of the HLF Blog, we are beginning the ‘What’s Trending’ series, which entails a list of blogs that are both relevant and informative for our alumni, future participants and anybody interested in math or computer science. Enjoy checking out the blogs that made it onto the introductory post and keep a look out for the next ‘What’s Trending’ post. Katie Steckles, Peter Rowlett and Christian Perfect – The Aperiodical The... Read more

The 3rd HLF – Through the Looking Glass

Posted 16 September 2015 by Guest blogger


Wylder Green, HLFF press team member: Atmosphere defines interaction, and the 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum did not allow that truth to evade it. The cornerstone of the HLF is creating an informal environment for scientific communication to flourish. Lectures from the laureates held in the auditorium carried on into the hallways as the energy from a compilation of such great minds reverberated throughout the building and shadowed the participants for the entire week. The 3rd HLF surpassed our expectations, a... Read more

Fred Brooks on Software Engineers and Teams

Posted 10 September 2015 by Gail Carmichael

It has been over a week since the end of HLF, and I've been settling back into my life as a software developer at Shopify in Ottawa, Canada.  I often find myself thinking back to what I consider to be an epic conversation with laureate Fred Brooks.  With my husband and fellow blogger, Andrew Carmichael, I interviewed Brooks in what was a joint effort.  Brooks was kind enough to spend over an hour with us.  Since I can't possibly share everything... Read more

Casual Attire and Formal Proof

Posted 3 September 2015 by Brian Hayes

Informality is the watchword here at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Even the most distinguished participants go by Bob or Fred or Len rather than Herr Professor Doktor. In this casual social atmosphere, however, formality of another kind has been a major topic of conversation. Four of the week's plenary lectures have addressed the need for formal proofs of correctness in both computer science and mathematics. Tony Hoare gave an eloquent talk reclaiming two giants of Greek antiquity as part of... Read more

Query and Curiosity – Scientific Data Exploration

Posted 2 September 2015 by Beatrice Lugger

Abdul Wasay presenting the poster about Queriosity at #hlf15   Picture: B. Lugger

Thursday, August 27, during the poster session at HLF15 I strolled around. As I am not a computer scientist or mathematician I honestly had problems in getting an idea, what most of these posters where about. But one, by Abdul Wasay, a second year PhD student at Harvard University, caught my attention. Just by looking at the poster I got an idea, what Queriosity means and who might benefit from it. It appeared to be a software for scientists, helping them... Read more

Stepping Off the “Innovation” Bandwagon

Posted 1 September 2015 by Guest blogger

Young researchers attending the Heidelberg Laureate Forum discussing at the Neue Universität in Heidelberg. Credit: HLFF / B. Kreutzer

Rosalind Reid, guest blogger at HLF15: I believe I’ve heard the word “innovation” spoken only once during the 2015 Heidelberg Laureate Forum. For an event that gathers together the inventors of today’s computing and the inventors of tomorrow’s, this is remarkable—and refreshing. Here at HLF, the pressures of the marketplace—where glib terms like “innovation” dominate—feel fairly distant. Most of the laureates attending this year are winners of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award, and many Turing winners have done... Read more

Women in Computer Science 2/2: Changing the culture

Posted 1 September 2015 by Markus Pössel

This is the story of how the School of Computer Science (SCS) at Carnegie Mellon University went from few female students before 1995, many of which later transferred out of the course, to 40% female students by the early 2000s, almost all of which finished with a degree. I report events as told to me be Lenore Blum, one of the participants of this year's HLF, who was instrumental in initiating a number of the changes that led to the improvement.... Read more

Remembering Passwords like a Pro – Interview with Jeremiah Blocki

Posted 31 August 2015 by Guest blogger

Jeremiah Blocki being interviewed by Andrew Carmichael at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2015. © Andrew Carmichael

Andrew Carmichael, guest blogger at HLF15: Jeremiah Blocki is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Jeremiah completed his PhD at Carnegie Mellon University focusing on Usable and Secure Human Authentication. Jeremiah is continuing his research in this field, developing usable authentication systems for humans. Andrew Carmichael: Tell us a little about yourself. Jeremiah Blocki: I'm a computer scientist. I did my undergrad at Carnegie Mellon University where I worked with Manuel Blum. I loved... Read more

Sir Antony Hoare — Theory and Practice

Posted 31 August 2015 by Gail Carmichael

3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum3. Heidelberger Laureaten Forum

As with my interview with John Hopcroft, I was most interested in what Sir Antony Hoare had to say about computer science education. He was, after all, knighted for his work in education in addition to research. I was also particularly fascinated with his effort to tie academia and industry together, for example by setting up an external Masters degree for software engineers. My first question for Sir Hoare was about whether we should be concerned that undergraduate degrees try... Read more

Peter Naur and the Jennifer Aniston Neuron

Posted 30 August 2015 by Markus Pössel

Peter Naur © HLF / Christian Flemming

Peter Naur has an impressive biography. He was a pioneer of programming languages, at a time when the idea of higher-level abstractions from the deepest-level ("close to the electrons") instructions was new, unusual, and anything but a given. But the notions he presented at this year's HLF seem to me to fall foul of the dictum ascribed to Einstein, namely that one should make things as simple as possible but not simpler. Naur presented a simple model of how the... Read more