‘Making It to This Forum Is Already an Incredible Feat’
For the first time ever, a doctoral student of the Higher School of Economics took part in the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, the world’s largest forum for young researchers in the fields of mathematics and computer science. Over the course of one week, the participants were able to meet and discuss their projects with laureates of awards such as the Fields Medal, Abel Prize, and Turing Award. Olga Tsukanova represented HSE at the Forum, bringing with her a project on mathematical modelling.
The Heidelberg Laureate Forum was created to serve as a platform for bringing together the new generation of scholars and world-renowned mathematicians and computer science experts who have at various times received the Fields Medal, Abel Prize, and Turing Award. This year, 26 laureates of these prestigious awards gave lectures at the event, and an academic committee hand selected 200 young researchers from all over the world to participate in the Forum.
‘I received information about the forum from two different sources at the same time – letters from the Association for Computing Machinery – the Forum's organiser – as well as an informational letter from an advisor with the HSE doctoral school in computer science,’ remarks Olga Tsukanova. ‘A special academic committee selects participants. I filled out the necessary forms and attached my resume, cover letter, list of publications, and letter of recommendation. I ended up getting an invitation as a result,’ she says.
‘Making it to this forum is already an incredible feat for a young scholar. It pays recognition to his or her work, as well as to the high level of research conducted at the university from which the young researcher comes,’ adds the Head of the HSE School of Business Informatics, Svetlana Maltseva, who is Olga Tsukanova’s academic supervisor.
The Forum was held in Germany. During the day, laureates would give lectures and exchange opinions with their colleagues, while nights were characterised by informal discussions over dinner or during excursions. ‘The list of laureates is impressive in and of itself,’ Olga notes. ‘What can be more interesting than getting to know about their experiences and learning about methods for conducting research first hand? In addition, students were able to hear the researchers’ opinions about their own research, as well as find like-minded individuals or constructive opponents,’ she adds.
Tsukanova’s research focuses on mathematical modelling for managing the informational resources of social networks. ‘Using the plainest language possible, my research concentrates on modelling the evolutionary dynamics of social networks and using this groundwork to develop methods for monitoring changes in the state of their resource potential as well as the extraction of evolutionary platforms that reflect the various stages of a network’s development,’ Olga explains. ‘The information being created on social networks is oftentimes viewed as one of the most important resource sources when making decisions in various aspects of human activity. And if you consider the fact that a network’s audience is the largest part of the active population, then it is clear why it is critical to ensure that networks’ informational potential is developed,’ she notes.
Andrey Okounkov, a famous mathematician who received the Fields Medal in 2006, was among the various laureates at the forum. He is currently the Academic Supervisor of the HSE International Laboratory of Representation Theory and Mathematical Physics. ‘It’s impossible to overestimate how important it is for students to meet and have academic discussions with such outstanding scholars like Okounkov,’ Olga Tsukanova says. ‘The Forum’s participants themselves serve as a way to test out your academic ideas, as well as come up with new ones, which is equally important.’
The Heidelberg Laureate Forum is an annual event that brings together young researchers and seasoned experts who have won various awards in their respective fields. To learn more about the requirements for participating in the Forum, as well as to submit your application, please visit the webpage.