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HSE MIEM Turns 5: Here’s What It’s Done

A move to a new building equipped with modern research equipment, an increase in admission numbers, a rise in the number of articles faculty members publish in international journals – these are just a few of the achievements the HSE Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM) has made over the last five years. Throughout those years, the head of the Institute was Alexander Tikhonov, who passed away on December 9, 2016.

Alexander Tikhonov can be said to have stepped in the same river twice, as he headed MIEM on two separate occasions. In the late 1980s, Tikhonov was MIEM’s rector before going on to serve as the Federal Minister of Education and the Director of Informika Research Institute. Some twenty years later he returned to his home institute as MIEM’s Academic Supervisor and Director after the institute became part of the Higher School of Economics following the December 30, 2011, Decree of the Russian Government.

Tikhonov’s task in this role was to develop MIEM comprehensively and improve the institute’s national and international competitiveness. A programme was immediately put together to grow the institute in terms of research, academics, and staff. MIEM had already demonstrated its great scientific potential at the time, and the results of the institute’s research and applied developments had been employed in the defence and industrial sectors. But MIEM still needed a breakthrough.

In 2011, the average score achieved on entrance exams for state-sponsored spots at MIEM was just 62.5%. In other words, 35%-40% of spots were made up of students who had scored a 55% or lower in the core subjects. But just one year later, soon after merging with HSE, this figured had soared to 72.8%. This year, the average entrance exam score at MIEM is 86.4%, with the largest year-on-year growth occurring in the Information Science and Computing Technology and Infocommunication Technologies and Communication Systems programmes. Thanks to achievements like this, MIEM is now on par with some of Russia’s best universities, such as ITMO University, the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. MIEM has even surpassed average entrance exam scores at schools such as the National University of Science and Technology MISiS, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, and Tomsk Polytechnic University. At least 5% of students admitted to MIEM for undergrad were accepted because of their performance at high school Olympiads.

MIEM was originally spread out over several older campuses in the centre of Moscow, but in 2014 the institute acquired a new building in Strogino with modern laboratories for research and student instruction. This includes the Mission Control Centre, which can monitor in real time more than 50 microsatellites in low-earth orbit; the Teaching Laboratory of 3D Imaging and Computer Graphics; and the Laser Technologies Laboratory.

In 2015-2016, MIEM faculty published more than 350 articles on Scopus as an HSE affiliate. This includes renowned publications such as Physical Review Letters, Carbon, Journal of the European Mathematical Society, Physics-Uspekhi (Advances in Physical Sciences), and more. These works have been cited by researchers in more than 20 countries. Currently, one of MIEM’s biggest contributions concerns the creation of HSE intellectual property registered on Russia’s Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent).

MIEM has been successful at integrating education and science. Starting from freshman year, students in all educational programmes take part in research seminars, and the institute has joint departments with some of Russia’s top companies and research centres. A student research community has also been created, and each year an inter-university academic conference takes place for junior researchers and undergraduate and graduate students. This particular conference is named in honour of Evgeny Armensky, MIEM’s founder and first rector. In addition, MIEM’s master’s programmes are developing and expanding, as the number of spots in these programmes has grown severalfold over the last five years. In 2017 MIEM will be launching a new English-taught Master's programme in Quantum Information Technologies.

MIEM’s dynamic development is largely thanks to the efforts of Alexander Tikhonov, who made a tremendous contribution to HSE’s development as a whole. Thanks to his creative energy and unique organisational skills, the Higher School of Economics was able to take a step towards the international education models used by MIT and Caltech, whose engineering schools work closely and successfully with researchers in the social sciences and the humanities. MIEM, together with other divisions of HSE, is still helping the university achieve truly international competitiveness in relation to other research and educational centres that are considered some of the best in the world.

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