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Highest Ranked European Computer Scientist Joins HSE as Academic Supervisor of International Laboratory of Process-Aware Information Systems

HSE’s International Laboratory of Process-Aware Information Systems (PAIS lab) was established in January 2013 and is supervised by Professor Wil van der Aalst, one of the leading computer scientists in the world and the most influential researcher in areas such as business process management and process mining. In fact, Professor Van der Aalst is the highest ranked European computer scientist (according to Google Scholar) with an H-index (measure of impact) of 101 and more than 43.000 citations. The PAIS lab emerged from the ongoing collaboration between HSE and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) where Van der Aalst is a distinguished university professor. On April 15, 2013 he is giving a lecture in the PAIS lab seminar series. We used this opportunity to ask him some questions.

— Why did you choose ‘Mediating Between Modeled and Observed Behavior: The Quest for the Right Process’ as the topic for your lecture?

— Process models are widely used for the analysis, redesign, and implementation of information systems. However, often these models fail to capture reality, and as a consequence the analysis results may be flawed, or the system driven by such models is unable to support the key processes well. Fortunately, the availability of torrents of event data makes it possible to apply a range of process mining techniques. Although process mining is a very recent development, we have been able to successfully apply it in over 100 organizations. In my lecture, I would like to point out several novel and important research questions, e.g., how to deal with enormous event logs (‘Big Event Data’) and how to discover configurable process models that can be used in multiple organizations.

— Why is process mining so exciting and intriguing for you as a scientist? 

— The idea of process mining is to discover, monitor and improve real processes by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in today’s systems. Process mining includes automated process discovery (i.e., extracting process models from an event log), conformance checking (i.e., monitoring deviations by comparing model and log), organizational mining, case prediction, and history-based recommendations. For the first time in history, we can analyze on a large scale how systems are really working, how they are being used, why they fail, and why people deviate. This is fascinating! Just like computer science emerged from mathematics, data science will emerge from computer science. For the data scientist of the future, process mining is one of its core capacities. 

— Being the academic supervisor of HSE’s International Laboratory of Process-Aware Information Systems how do you evaluate the involvement of the HSE in the world research process? What should be undertaken for better integration?

— By creating international laboratories like our PAIS lab, HSE is demonstrating that research excellence is one of its key priorities. This is great. Whereas in many other countries research funding is decreasing and too few students are studying topics such as computer science, HSE is investing substantially, thus creating opportunities to strengthen its position in the international research arena. In this context, it is important to not just establish new organizational structures, but to stimulate all academics (in all age groups) into doing excellent research that has a measurable scientific and practical impact.

— Why are you particularly interested in cooperating with HSE?

— From a cultural point of view, there are many similarities between Dutch and Russian people. This makes it easy and enjoyable to collaborate. We have been working with Prof. Irina Lomazova (head of the PAIS lab) in the context of process analysis research and the HSE-TU/e exchange program. This has been a very good experience. Moreover, I see the enormous potential of HSE’s ability to attract excellent students and stimulate research in emerging areas like process mining.

— How do you see the university of the future? 

— Universities need to specialize to survive. I see this in Eindhoven where students from all over the world come to study TU/e’s Master programs. Dutch students have become a minority in areas such as computer science and the influx of bright students is needed to maintain top quality. Excellent students are willing to move to other countries to get the best education possible and the research quality of universities has become much more transparent. Therefore, reputation and focus are essential for survival.

The lecture ‘Mediating Between Modeled and Observed Behavior: The Quest for the Right Process’ given by Professor Van der Aalst as part of the PAIS lab seminar series, will be held on April 15th 2013 at 18:30 in the HSE building at the Kirpichnaya street, 33/5 (auditorium 902).
For more information visit pais.hse.ru.

Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE news service

 

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