Monday, October 20th, 2014

Letter from the Director

Dear friends of the Simons Institute,

As I write this article, Calvin Lab, the home of the Simons Institute, is abuzz with a hundred visiting scientists from around the world who have gathered to participate in our Fall 2014 programs on Algorithmic Spectral Graph Theory and Algorithms and Complexity in Algebraic Geometry. This newsletter features in-depth profiles of these two programs, by organizers James Lee and JM Landsberg.

We are delighted to welcome back Luca Trevisan, a distinguished complexity theorist who was most recently on the faculty at Stanford, and has now returned to Berkeley as a Professor and a Senior Scientist at the Institute. We feature here a lively video dialogue between Luca and our other Senior Scientist, Christos Papadimitriou.

In this edition of the newsletter, we are experimenting with a new article format, the Research Vignette, which highlights an exciting result that emerged from the previous semester’s programs. The authors of our first two vignettes are Adi Livnat (Evolutionary Biology) and Thomas Vidick (Quantum Hamiltonian Complexity). These articles are more technical than we’ve had before, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this new format.

Participants in the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 programs at the Institute were generally pleased with their visits. Here are some typical comments:

“Absolutely outstanding. I can’t wait to visit the Institute again.”

“This is one of the most interesting and fruitful visits one can experience. The environment is excellent.”

“One of the most inspiring long-term research programs that I attended, located in the middle of a great campus.”

As we move into our second year of full-scale operation, I can report that the state of the Institute is strong. As the only large independent research institute fully devoted to the theory of computation and its applications, we have established an important role in the scientific community and demonstrated the ability to attract the best and the brightest to our programs.

Best regards,

Dick Karp, Director


Related Articles:

Profile of Luca Trevisan, the Simons Institute's Incoming Senior Scientist
From the Inside: Algorithmic Spectral Graph Theory
From the Inside: Algorithms and Complexity in Algebraic Geometry
Research Vignette: On Sex, Math, and the Origin of Life
Research Vignette: Quantum PCP Conjectures