Sebastian Pokutta's Blog

Mathematics and related topics

Archive for November 2011

Informs Annual Meeting 2011

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I plan to update this post in the course of the following days and I would have also loved to send out a few more tweets, especially now that I have this fancy twitter ribbon, but I have hard time connecting to the internet at the convention center.

Day 1: So the first day of the Informs Annual Meeting is almost over… What were my personal highlights from today? I listened to quite a lot of talks and most of them were really good so that I feel that it would not be fair to mention only a few selected ones. One personal highlight that I would like to mention though is the Student Paper Prize that Dan Dadush from Georgia Tech got for his work together with Santanu Dey and Juan Pablo Vielma on the Chvátal-Gomory closure for compact convex sets. This result is really amazing as it provides deep insights into the way of how cutting-plane procedures work when applied to non-linear relaxations. Congratulations Dan! Below is a picture of the three taken at the session.


Day 2: The second day of the Informs meeting was great. In particular I loved the integer optimization session (for apparent reasons) and had some extremely intense and deep discussions with some of my colleagues – for me this is the most important reason to go to a conference: dialog. One such discussion was with David Goldberg from GATech about the fundamental concepts in optimization/math/reasoning that completely redefine your thinking once fully understood/appreciated (this includes concepts such as “equality”, “proof by contradiction”, “induction”, or “diagonalization”). I will have a separate blog post together with David on that. If you think there is a concept that completely changed your thinking, please email us or drop us a line in the comment section. I am off to my talk now – more later…

Day 3: I actually did not see too much of the third day as I had to leave early.

All in all, Informs 2011 was a great event, in particular to meet all the people that are usually spread all over the US. I was actually quite happy to see that there were also quite a lot of Europeans at the conference


Written by Sebastian

November 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm

UniGestalten initiative (Germany-specific)

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The ‘Die Junge Akademie’ together with the ‘Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft’ has launched the very interesting initiative ‘UniGestalten’  to improve working and living at German universities. People can submit and discuss ideas for improving various aspects of teaching, research, administration, and more. From the homepage of the initiative (German):

Wir brauchen Leute, die vor- und nachdenken.
Für neue Perspektiven zum Leben und Arbeiten an der Uni!

Unser Ziel ist es, neue Perspektiven für den Alltag an unseren Hochschulen auszuloten und konkrete Lösungsvorschläge zu entwickeln. Wir wollen zeigen, dass nicht nur große strukturelle Entscheidungen in Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Politik etwas verändern können, sondern dass jeder Einzelne etwas bewegen kann. Wir setzen auf die Innovationskraft von Personen und auf die Lernfähigkeit der Organisation. Wir erwarten keinen allumfassenden Masterplan. Im Gegenteil: Wir glauben daran, dass auch kleine Ansätze viel verändern können. Von den Studierenden und Ehemaligen, über Lehrende und Forschende, Beschäftigte aus Technik und Verwaltung, bis hin zu den Partnern aus der Wirtschaft – jeder Einzelne hat seine eigenen Erfahrungen im Unibetrieb gesammelt und kann mit konkreten Ideen das Leben und Arbeiten an der Hochschule von morgen gestalten.

Ihr Beitrag kann eine ganz persönliche Initiative sein, ein konkreter Verbesserungsvorschlag oder ein interessantes Geschäftsmodell. Ihre Kommentare zu den Beiträgen sind uns jedoch genauso wichtig,

um die eingereichten Ideen weiterzuentwickeln. Jeder ist ein Teil dieser CommUNIty!

So if you happen to life/work/study at a German university you should definitely have a look and maybe even submit your own idea.



Written by Sebastian

November 6, 2011 at 10:14 am