'I’m impressed by the mathematical history and general level of mathematical skills here in Moscow'
Bruno Bauwens, an expert in Kolmogorov complexity, is a new recruit at the HSE Faculty of Computer Science. He started in September 2015. Bruno received his PhD from Ghent University in Belgium, after which he held postdoctoral fellowships at Porto University (Portugal), as well as at the University of Montpellier and University of Lorraine. Associate Professor Bruno Bauwens spoke to HSE English News about his research and about settling in to life and work in the international academic community in Moscow.
— What is your background?
— I studied physical engineering and mathematics in Ghent University in Belgium. I did some research in machine learning and then switched to theoretical computer science for my Phd. I had several post-doc positions in France and Portugal.
— Why did you decide to come to work in Moscow?
— My recent research has been focussed on algorithmic information theory. It is a theory about how to store information in its most compact but still computably decodable way. The research is theoretical, it centers around questions such as: can we give a mathematical definition of randomness and causality?
In Moscow, there is a huge interest in this topic. Basically, the research started here and the best experts are here too. In general, Russia has a strong reputation for theoretical computer science (and mathematics and theory in general). When HSE offered me a position with focus on research and loads of freedom for the topic of research, I did not hesitate to accept it.
— How is living in an international environment going? What's difficult and what's exciting and rewarding?
— I've been living in foreign countries for almost 3 years. For me living abroad was never difficult. As long as I feel free to think about challenging theoretical problems, I'm happy.
I experience Moscow in a very similar way as Belgium. We also have a culture of faithful pessimism. I’m impressed by the mathematical history and general level of mathematical skills of PhD students here in Moscow and by the pedagogical talents of teachers at HSE
HSE has a nice international faculty unit. In the beginning of the year they organize many activities to get us integrated and it is always fun to hang out with other international faculty and the coordinators. There are many high quality lectures and research seminars at HSE and in Moscow. Many of them are in English and in the few cases I went to a seminar in Russian, people decided to switch to English. I'm really grateful for this effort.
I experience Moscow in a very similar way as Belgium. We also have a culture of faithful pessimism. Of course, I’m impressed by the mathematical history and general level of mathematical skills of PhD students here in Moscow. I’m also impressed by the pedagogical talents of teachers at HSE. When I’m spying in the auditoria, I see there is often a lot of interaction between the teacher and the students, even when teaching abstract and complicated topics. In the Russian language lessons, there is loads of fun and laughing.
The exciting and difficult part for me is that I'm offered a lot of responsibility quickly (compared to post-doc positions): to manage diploma works, lecture to phd students, try to do innovative research, etc. Information technology has changed the world fundamentally in the last 10 years, but education and research haven’t (at least in Europe). It is scary to decide what and how students should learn, if I cannot rely much on the past.
— Could you say a few words about your further plans?
— I’d like to switch research fields and study algorithms, combinatorics and machine learning. The publication demands seem reasonable so I believe I can survive such a change. In short, my plan is to learn many interesting things and work on challenging problems. But, that's everyone’s plan isn't it?
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service
HSE has teamed up with the University of California at San Diego (ranked 14th on the ARWU ranking, 41st on THE, and 59th on QS) to launch the new Data Structures and Algorithms specialization on Coursera. The specialization is taught completely in English and consists of five interrelated courses. Registration is open until March 7.
An important step in integrating the university into the global educational, scientific and research space is the expansion of international recruiting. Since its very first year, the Faculty of Computer Science at the Higher School of Economics has had a foreign professor working on staff. In 2015, four internationally recruited experts teach and conduct research in the faculty.
The Summer School on Machine Learning in High Energy Physics, which was co-organised by the HSE Faculty of Computer Science and Russian internet company Yandex, has ended. Below, the Head of HSE's Laboratory of Methods for Big Data Analysis, Andrey Ustyuzhanin, talks about the various ways in which physicists and programmers cooperate. He also discusses how researchers from HSE and Yandex have been participating in CERN experiments and how ordinary smartphone users can help unravel the secrets of the universe.
Vladimir Gromov graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the Faculty of Business Informatics. Completed his Masters on the Double Diploma programme at HSE and TU/e — Eindhoven Technical University.Currently lives in the Netherlands and works as a software engineer with UL Transaction Security.
The Faculty of Computer Science is only one year old – it was founded March 28, 2014 – but it already has a rich history and ambitious plans. Ivan Arzhantsev, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science, spoke to The HSE Look about highlights from the past year, current research focuses, and the faculty’s plans for the future.
Two HSE students have won the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, founded by Google to support women studying computer technology. The scholarship is awarded for academic achievement, leadership qualities and interest in computer sciences.
HSE and Yandex have opened a laboratory for methods of Big Data analysis at the HSE Computer Science Faculty (LAMBDA). The purpose of the new academic research lab is to create a world-class research centre to solve fundamental issues in computer science and develop methods for processing and analysing Big Data.
The HSE Faculty of Computer Science, where international specialists teach alongside Russian professors and one Master’s programme on systems and programming engineering is taught entirely in English, has launched a public colloquium. The colloquium — a faculty-wide seminar — is a platform for teachers, research fellows, graduates and undergraduates and anyone interested in computer science to discuss and exchange opinions and information. The only rule for the colloquium is that whoever wants to talk about their new research results or issues related to computing must use language that everyone can understand.
The Summer School on Operational Research and Applications, which took place as part of the International Conference on Network Analysis, ended on May 18 at HSE’s campus in Nizhny Novgorod.