News Connections For Students

News and Events
DIREC Meeting at Nyborg Strand Hotel. 13/9 2021
After such a long time with corona lockdowns and online meetings, it was great to meet in person with the many Danish computer scientists and the excellent algorithms people in particular. From our algorithms group, Kim Skak Larsen, Joan Boyar, Lene Favrholdt, Jakob Lykke Andersen, and Rolf Fagerberg joined the DIREC meeting at picturesque Nyborg Strand Hotel. The first day, the primary focus was on research, while the second day contained discussions related to student recruitment and retainment, diversity, societal needs, start-up companies, funding, etc.
Faith Ellen's student wins best doctoral dissertation award. 5/7 2021
Faith Ellen's student, Leqi "Jimmy" Zhu, wins the Principles of Distributed Computing Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2021, shared with one other graduate, for his dissertation On the Space Complexity of Colourless Tasks. The award will be presented to Jimmy at PODC on July 27.

The committee writes:

Zhu's thesis establishes general memory lower bounds for both deterministic and randomized algorithms for a variety of basic synchronization tasks including consensus, k-set agreement, and ε-approximate agreement. These bounds hold under a weak liveness assumption—obstruction-freedom—making them very general. Among the results in the thesis one stands out. It provides a definitive solution to a classic and long-standing open problem in distributed computing: to determine the space complexity of consensus in asynchronous, shared-memory systems. Besides the significance of the result, the committee also appreciated its beautiful execution—a clean, textbook-quality proof. On the basis of this achievement the committee made its decision to assign the award to this excellent piece of work.
Daniel Merkle and the Algorithmic Cheminformatic group receives huge grant. 7/6 2021
Daniel Merkle, heading the Algorithmic Cheminformatic group, receives a grant of DKK 46.2 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme for the project Mathematical Modelling for Microbial Community Induced Metabolic Diseases (MATOMIC). This project will combine mathematical modelling and wet-lab experimentation to investigate how changing the composition of the microbiome can create a novel therapeutic tool for treating people with obesity.

Around 20 million of the grant goes to IMADA. The rest is shared by the project partners at the University of Leipzig, the University of Vienna, and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig.

Faith Ellen's student wins award. 8/4 2021
Faith Ellen's student, Leqi "Jimmy" Zhu, won the CS-Can|Info-Can Distinguished Dissertation Award, 2019, and has just given his talk in that connection.

In the talk, Jimmy discusses both his results without too many technical details and outlines his personal journey through his Ph.D. studies, pointing to people and circumstances of importance to him. Faith receives significant recognition of her rôle as his advisor.

Jimmy is now a postdoc at the University of Michigan.

David Hammer defends his dissertation. 27/11 2020
David Hammer defends his Ph.D. dissertation under a cotutelle agreement, which will give him a Ph.D. degree from SDU (with Rolf Fagerberg as his advisor) as well as Goethe-Universität (with Ulrich Meyer as his advisor). The assessment committee consisted of Rasmus Pagh (IT University of Copenhagen), Peter Sanders (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie), Norbert Zeh (Dalhousie University), and the local chair, Kim Skak Larsen.

David gave a very nice presentation, Kim says, giving a good overview while also higlighting some of the deeper technical details required to establish his results. Congratulations to David, and to Rolf for having educated yet another excellent researcher.

Daniel Merkle takes over as head of the algorithms group. 1/9 2020
Daniel Merkle takes over as head of the algorithms group from Kim Skak Larsen and enters into the department's management group at the same time. "Daniel will be a superb head of the group", Kim says, and continues: "I've known Daniel for more than 12 years, we share many of the same values, and I feel very comfortable with him leading this excellent research group."
Joan Boyar presents priority algorithms advice results at OLAWA. 28/9 2020
Results on priority algorithms with advice, coauthored by Joan Boyar and Kim Skak Larsen got very good coverage at OLAWA - Online Algorithms with Advice and Related Models, a virtual satelite workshop of MFCS - the 45th International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science. Joan gave the talk on the second part of the paper.
Jørgen Bang-Jensen gives a course to hundreds of Chinese students. 11/7 2020
Jørgen Bang-Jensen gave a 30 hour online course, followed by an exam, on directed graphs to more than 200 Chinese students at Shandong University. The course was very well received and has resulted in new collaborations, including a possible joint Ph.D. student.

For further information, see the local coverage at SDU, as well as the flattering feedback from Shandong.

Jørgen Bang-Jensen returning from sabbatical. 11/6 2020
Jørgen Bang-Jensen spend 4½ months on sabatical at INRIA Sophia Antipolis. Despite being locked down most of the time, due to Covid-19, he and his coauthors managed to produce 6 papers and lay the groundwork for a couple more.
The algorithms group receives two grants from FNU. 18/5 2020
The online algorithms group receives a grant from FNU for the project Online Algorithms with Machine Learning Predictors. The cheminformatics group receives a grant for the project Algorithmic Cheminformatics Meets Causality Analysis. We are excited to get started on these new directions of research.
Faith Ellen has been appointed Adjunct Professor. 1/4 2020
Starting April 1, 2020, Faith Ellen has been appointed Adjunct Professor at SDU, where she will be associated with the Algorithms Group.

Faith Ellen received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982. Since 1995, she has been a full professor at the highly ranked Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Among numerous awards and prestigious chairing appointments, she became a Fellow of the ACM in 2014, a very prestigious recognition from the community.

She has a strong connection to the group, having visited several times over the last two decades, and has joint work with professors Joan Boyar and Kim S. Larsen.

We are delighted to welcome Faith Ellen into our group.

Rolf Fagerberg holds a one-day course for Hesehus 8/11 2019
Hesehus is an award-winning Odense-based IT company, specializing in e-commerce, so when CTO Martin Ehmsen expressed interest in a course on algorithms and efficiency for selected employees, the idea development was initiated by Professors Kim Skak Larsen and Rolf Fagerberg - both from IMADA's algorithms group.

"In the IT-world, the topics of algorithms and efficiency represent core competences with lasting value and relevance", says Rolf Fagerberg. It's topics he also teaches at the university, and he continues: "A course like this is a good and meaningful form of interaction between universities and companies", which was confirmed by the evaluation from the participants.

Hesehus has more than 120 employees and has repeatedly been honored in connection with the e-Commerce Prize, Børsen Gazelle, and with Great Place to Work.

Best Paper Award at ESA 2019. 10/9 2019
The paper Fragile Complexity of Comparison-Based Algorithms by David Hammer, Rolf Fagerberg, and a group of international co-authors has received the Best Paper award at the 27th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2019), which is the premier European conference in algorithms. The paper studies the question of minimizing the number of comparisons that each individual element is subjected to in comparison-based algorithms, as opposed to the standard approach of minimizing the total number of comparisons. This question is motivated by settings where comparisons have some form of detrimental impact on the elements. Examples include comparisons between consumables such as beers, wine, apples, etc. (where each comparison consumes a part of the elements compared), sports matches (where the probability of injuries for a participant may grow with the number of matches taken part in), or ranking of documents (where bias or loss of confidentiality for a document may grow with the number of comparisons taken part in).
Daniel Merkle visits Harvard. 19/8 2019
From February 1 through July 31, 2019, Daniel Merkle had a 6 month sabbatical as a visiting professor at the Harvard Medical School in the Fontana Lab at the Department of Systems Biology. The Harvard Medical School is ranked first among research-oriented medical schools in the 2020 rankings of the well-known "U.S. News and World Report". The two groups started joining forces and, among other things, in order to model chemistry are bringing their rule-based systems Kappa and MØD together.
Participating in Highlights of Algorithms. 16/6 2019
The algorithms group was represented by Joan Boyar, Lene Favrholdt, Kim S. Larsen, and Rolf Fagerberg at HAlg - Highlights of Algorithms - that was held in Copenhagen this year. It is a relatively new meeting; only held for the fourth time this year. We were excited about the - for Computer Science - unusual format with 6 hour-long survey talks, a large number of invited talks, and a huge number of 4 minute talks that were combined with poster presentations. Among the many good talks, the online algorithms group (Joan, Lene, and Kim) was particularly fascinated with the survey talk on Learning in Algorithms, given by Sergei Vassilvitskii, where he discussed the combination of online algorithms and the use of machine learning in a setting similar to our recent work on advice complexity.
Faith Ellen visits. 1/6 2019
From May 25 through June 9, 2019, Professor Faith Ellen from the University of Toronto visited the group to work with Joan Boyar and Kim S. Larsen on competitive analysis in distributed algorithms. During her visit, she gave a wonderful survey talk on The Complexity of Consensus and Set Agreement.
Joan talks at TalentCampDK. 12/5 2019
TalentCampDK runs talent arrangements for selected elementary and high school students. Joan Boyar was invited to give the final address on Cryptology.
High School Camps. 1/4 2019
With Rolf Fagerberg as one of the organizers, the department welcomed 26 high schools students for IMADA's Computer Science Camp on March 2. This time it revolved around Deep Learning, in addition to career perspectives and glimpses of everyday-life for a Computer Scientist. On the photo, Caroline (an MS student of Kim S. Larsen) explains neural networks. Some students stayed overnight and participated in the Math Camp the following day. Lene Favrholdt taught on an extended version of this at the IT Camp for female high school students on March 30-31, where 25 girls were introduced to Python programming, user-driven app design, algorithms, big data, and AI.
Ian Munro visits. 2/11 2018
Invited by Joan Boyar and Kim S. Larsen, Professor Ian Munro from the University of Waterloo, Canada, visited the group. Munro is a highly esteemed computer scientist, famous for his work on data structures in particular. During his stay, he gave the talk Fast Stable Sorting, Adapting to Existing Runs on the newest developments on the sorting problem.
Joan Boyar gives distinguished lecture in Manitoba. 18/10 2018
In front of an audience of mathematicians and computer scientist in the Robert Schultz Lecture Theatre at the University of Manitoba, Joan Boyar gave a Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences Distinguished Lecture with the title Multiplicative Complexity of Cryptographic Functions.

Two days earlier, she gave a colloquium talk in the Department of Computer Science on Complexity Classes for Online Algorithms via Advice Complexity.

Jørgen Bang-Jensen gives a 30 minute video presentation for high school students. 6/9 2018
Jørgen Bang-Jensen participates in a film project comprising ten 30 minute videos, where expert mathematicians present their research topics in a way that can be understood by final-year high school students. The aim of the videos and the accompanying material is to encourage more young people to study mathematically-oriented topics.
Socializing in Storms Pakhus 4/9 2018
The Algorithms Group also likes meeting under less formal circumstances - here we are enjoying street food at Storms Pakhus.
Thomas Bellitto starts as postdoc. 1/9 2018
Thomas Bellitto is hired as a postdoc in the Graph Theory Group from September 1, 2018 through February 29, 2020. Thomas obtained his Ph.D. degree from LaBRI, Université de Bordeaux in August 2018. Thomas will work with the group on problems related to packing, covering, and partitioning in (di)graphs.
Organizing GT2018. 1/9 2018
Jørgen Bang-Jensen and Bjarne Toft organized the graph theory conference GT2018 at the picturesque location of Hotel Storebælt in Nyborg. There were 43 participants who came from as far away as South Africa, New Zealand, and Japan, enjoying the 32 presentations.
Speaking and chairing at WAOA in Helsinki. 24/8 2018
Joan Boyar and Kim S. Larsen attended WAOA - Workshop on Approximation and Online Algorithms at Aalto University School of Business. The workshop was a satellite workshop of ALGO. Joan gave a talk on joint work with Kim, Allan Borodin (University of Toronto), and Denis Pankratov (Concordia University) with the title Advice Complexity of Priority Algorithms. Kim contributed as session chair at the conference.
Collaboration with Energinet. 14/8 2018
Anders Yeo, Marco Chiarandini, and student Steffan Leth Jensen visited Energinet in Fredericia where they gave the presentation Towards resilient networks: Detecting maximum imbalance after k links breakdown in the European electrical grid. This was the culmination of an individual study activity by Steffan, where he worked with Energinet on one of their practical problems.

This project will develop further into a master's project involving collaboration with Energinet.

Attending and speaking at MOLI in Prague. 9/7 2018
Joan Boyar, Lene Favrholdt, and Kim S. Larsen attended MOLI - Modern Online Algorithms in the picturesque old Charles University in Prague. The workshop was a satellite workshop of ICALP. Joan gave a talk on joint work with Kim and Faith Ellen (University of Toronto) with the title The Scheduler is Very Powerful in Competitive Analysis of Distributed List Accessing and Lene gave the talk Upper and Lower Bound Techniques for Advice Complexity based on joint work with Joan and Kim, as well as former students Christian Kudahl and Jesper W. Mikkelsen. Several talks at the workshop cited results by our online algorithms group.