‘Our Programme Aims to Make a Research Breakthrough at the Intersection of Mathematics and Computer Science’
In 2017, the HSE Faculty of Computer Science and Skoltech are opening admissions to the Master’s programme in Statistical Learning Theory, which will become the successor to the Mathematical Methods of Optimization and Stochastics programme. Vladimir Spokoiny, the programme’s academic supervisor and professor of mathematics at Humboldt University in Berlin, told us about the research part of the new programme and the opportunities it offers to both Master’s students and undergraduate students alike.
How computers think
If we try to explain what ‘statistical learning theory’ means in common language, it is about teaching computers to think. We want to understand how a human brain thinks and how this can be used in computers. There are already computers that can talk to people, play chess with them; they can do a lot, but we haven’t yet understood the scientific foundation of ‘thinking’. There are some algorithms, but they are based on ‘precedent training’, which means that a computer’s memory contains a set of situations and relevant solutions. Computers don’t think; they search for closest precedents and reproduce the most relevant solution. This is machine learning. And we are only at the beginning of the path to understanding real thinking. The focus of our programme is to train experts who will be able to travel this path.
The courses selected for the programme cover the main subjects that are needed. While each of these courses isn’t unique in its own right, but the combination of courses we offer is without equal in Russian universities. The scale of the tasks and the research ambitions we are facing are huge. Our programme aims to make a research breakthrough at the intersection of mathematics and computer science, so it’s very intense and research-oriented.
What and how we’ll teach
The style of classes in the programme is determined by the fact that it is not only an educational programme, but also a research and study one. We believe that the Master’s level is the entry level to science. If a student sets academic goals, his or her Master’s thesis should add up to one third or even half of the doctoral thesis. This will be the focus of learning and teaching in our programme.
First, we offer students the opportunity to participate in one or more working groups (research seminars). There, each student determines an area of focus in which they will undertake an initial survey report, followed by solving some tasks at the intersection of cutting-edge research and technology in statistical learning theory.
Many companies, such as Yandex, Google, Microsoft, Bosch, Huawei, and Siemens are very interested in experts who have such a background; they search for them and make very appealing offers
These seminars will also include teamwork because the tasks we are facing are so complicated that they can’t be solved by one person alone. We won’t have situations when a student gets an assignment and then spends several months sitting alone, making calculations, and then shows us the result. We believe that complicated tasks can be solved only in a team where various research areas and competencies are discussed and combined. We aim to create an academic research environment for communication where the best researchers can grow.
Where prospective students can start
At the beginners’ level, we don’t expect our students to know anything beyond the traditional academic curriculum in areas of mathematics and computer science such as functional analysis, probability theory, optimization, and complexity theory. We want to choose applicants who are very well prepared, not specifically for this programme, but in comprehensive sense.
Moreover, we invite undergraduate students to take part in research and study events that are currently being organized by the Mathematical Methods of Optimization and Stochastics programme. We work with second-, third-, and fourth-year students, and prepare them to apply to Master’s programmes. They are full-fledged members of our working groups who carry out research. We are completely transparent; all of our events are announced on our website. Just come and join the work! In addition, we hold conferences, summer and winter schools where undergraduate students can also participate.
Why the programme is English taught
We expect to enrol not only Russian-speaking, but also international students in the programme. But this is not the only reason that we teach our subjects in English. Contemporary science, especially in our fied, is English-speaking, and we aim to attract the world’s leading scholars to participate in the programme.
English skills are a must. Students should be able to communicate to people from other countries freely and productively. Science is international, and the lack of English skills is a serious limitation.
Who students will work with
We are recruiting leading experts from both universities to work as part of the programme, including globally renowned scholars, such as Professor Yurii Nesterov, Professor Denis Belomestny, Professor Dmitry Vetrov, Professor Andrei Sobolevski, Associate Professor Alexey Naumov, Associate Professor Quentin Paris, Skoltech professors Ivan Oseledets, Viktor Lempitsky, Evgeny Burnaev, Yury Maximov, as well several other lecturers. This team is rather young, but has already made some significant research achievements.
In addition, we actively cooperate with the RAS Institute for Information Transmission Problems, as well as with the relevant faculties at Moscow State University and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. We also rely on job contracts with a number of big companies that are interested in our students and graduates. The level of mathematical development that we aim for is not available in the industry, even in research-oriented companies.
What graduates will do
First, we aim to prepare researchers in one of the most dynamic and high-demand fields of mathematics and computer science. I believe that our alumni will have wide opportunities for future academic careers in leading universities and research centres in Russia and globally. At the same time, many companies, such as Yandex, Google, Microsoft, Bosch, Huawei, and Siemens are very interested in experts who have such a background; they search for them and make very appealing offers. I can guarantee that our graduates will have a very wide range of opportunities.
Light Breezes Improve Moods of Social Media Users
Sergey Smetanin, Research Fellow of the HSE Graduate School of Business, conducted a large-scale analysis to examine the impact of weather conditions on the sentiments expressed by users of the Odnoklassniki (OK) social network. The findings have been published in PeerJ Computer Science. This is the first study of its kind in Russia.
Three HSE Researchers Receive Ilya Segalovich Award
Three researchers of the HSE Faculty of Computer Science are among the winners of the 2022 Ilya Segalovich Award: Research Professor Dmitry Vetrov, Associate Professor Alexey Naumov and doctoral student Sergey Samsonov. The award, established by Yandex in 2019, is aimed at supporting young researchers and the scientific community in the field of IT in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
‘Computer Methods of Cognitome Analysis’ Conference to Explore New Perspectives on Memory and Consciousness
On September 1–3, the HSE International Laboratory of Algebraic Topology and Its Applications will host the international conference 'Computer Methods of Cognitome Analysis'. Konstantin Sorokin, Research Assistant at the Laboratory and organiser of the conference, spoke about the main topics of the event and his hope that it will inspire pure mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists to apply their knowledge and intuition to the problems of brain-function mechanisms.
HSE University Maintains Positions in Two THE Subject Rankings
HSE has been included in two Times Higher Education (THE) subject rankings. It is ranked in the Top 500 for Computer Science and in 801-1000 group for Engineering.
'Programming Is an Ideal Profession and There’s No Better Time for It Than Now’
Ernest Sadykov, a graduate of the HSE Faculty of Computer Science (FCS), works as a software engineer at Facebook. In this interview, he tells Success Builder how an extrovert can be a 'techie', why companies have trouble finding IT specialists and what Facebook’s philosophy is.
HSE Is One of the Top Universities That Offers Programmes in English
HSE Faculty of Computer Science offers eight Master’s programmes, including four programmes taught entirely in English. Samia Nasrin, from Data Science Master’s programme, and Usama Albaghdady, from Master’s in System and Software Engineering, talk about choosing HSE University, admissions process, their studies and future plans.
‘Borders Between Countries Are Becoming Blurred Thanks to Online Communication’
Professor Oleg Melnikov is among the international professors invited to work remotely with HSE University’s students this academic year. He lives in California, runs the Data Science department at a company in Palo Alto, and teaches at Stanford and other universities in the United States. At HSE University he teaches a course on machine learning for the students of the Faculty of Computer Science and the International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF), as well as a university-wide optional course, ‘Machine Learning in Python’. He spoke about his work in an interview with the HSE News Service.
HSE University Becomes the First Russian University to Confer a Doctoral Degree in Computer Science
Upon successfully defending his dissertation before HSE Dissertation Council in Computer Science, Pavel Dvurechensky became the first Doctor of Computer Science in Russia. This was possible thanks to the fact that, starting in 2018, HSE University received the right to award its own academic degrees.
Faculty of Computer Science Opens Joint Department with Software Developing Company 1C
The Joint Department with 1C will train highly qualified engineers and developers with mathematical expertise, strong research profiles, and a fluency in modern software tools. Department graduates will be able to effectively solve both system-related and applied problems in business automation.
HSE Students and Faculty Member Receive Ilya Segalovich Award from Yandex
Four people have received this award for their achievements in the field of Computer Science: two HSE University graduate students, one doctoral student, and Sergei Obiedkov, Deputy Dean for Research and International Relations at the Faculty of Computer Science.