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CWI rated 'excellent' in evaluation

The Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI) is rated 'excellent' by an international evaluation committee. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO announced this in a press release on March 15, 2006. "The combination of mathematics and computer science and fundamental and applied research gives the institute a strong and unique position in the international research landscape," NWO said. NWO subjected six institutes to an external evaluation: ASTRON, CWI, ING, NIOZ, NSCR and SRON.

Jan Karel Lenstra: 'We need a Minister for Science and Technology'

Jan Karel Lenstra, general director of CWI, pleaded for a Minister of Science and Technology in his speech during the festivities of the 60th anniversary of the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, on February 9, 2006, in Amsterdam. Lenstra: "Simply put: The country needs innovation, so it sets out to turn the brains of today into the money of tomorrow, on a 24-hour basis. True innovation comes from curiosity, serendipity and good conditions, not from pressure or from a law that the Netherlands will be number 1 in five years from now.

First Van Wijngaarden Awards for Lynch and Diaconis

Computer scientist Nancy Lynch and mathematician-magician Persi Diaconis were awarded the first two Van Wijngaarden Awards during the celebration of CWI's 60th anniversary on February 9, 2006. Some 250 guests - scientists, alumni and other relations of CWI - enjoyed the evening in the Oude Lutherse Kerk in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam scientists in Nature: Global warming could destabilize plankton

Global warming of the surface layers of the oceans reduces the upward transport of nutrients. This generates chaos among the plankton, according to researchers of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI), and the University of Hawaii (USA). In Nature of 19 January 2006 they present advanced computer simulations, which predict that plankton growth will show strong fluctuations when the supply of nutrients is reduced. This prediction was rather unexpected: It contradicts the idea that deep plankton would represent a very stable system.

Funding for software testing project TT-MEDAL

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has allocated funding to the software test development project TT-MEDAL. This was announced on November 12, 2003. TT-MEDAL is a cooperation of CWI's Specification and Analysis of Embedded Systems group SEN2 (headed by Wan Fokkink), LogicaCMG, ProRail and Improve QS.

CWI contributes to crack RSA-576

An international team of mathematicians and computer scientists including two CWI researchers has found the two prime factors of a specially prepared encryption testing number called RSA-576, a number of 576 bits or 174 digits. This was announced on December 3, 2003 by team leader Jens Franke from Bonn University. Factoring the number is equivalent to cracking a key of 576 bits in the widely used RSA crypto system. The security of this crypto system is based on the assumption that such large numbers are hard to factor.

Program recognizes patterns without prior knowledge

Identifying unknown composers, automatically recognizing languages, finding the origin of new strains of viruses. These are just a few examples of the many possibilities of the CompLearn Toolkit, a compression based pattern recognition program made by CWI researcher Rudi Cilibrasi, available since October.

BSIK funding for CWI projects

The Dutch government has allocated 12 million euros to the BRICKS project as a part of the BSIK investment program. The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced this on November 28, 2003. BRICKS is coordinated by CWI. Furthermore, the institute participates in two other ICT projects selected for BSIK funding, MultimediaN and Virtual Lab e-Science.

Successful editions CWI in Bedrijf & Open Day Sciencepark Amsterdam

The 2003 edition of CWI's business day CWI in Bedrijf on October, 17 featured a novelty: Erik Huizer of NOB Cross Media Facilities demonstrated the set top box that will be used in several Dutch internet video pilot projects. This device shows DVD quality web broadcasts like NOB's First Mile TV on an ordinary television screen. The demonstration was part of Huizer's presentation on the current state of affairs of internet video broadcasting.

CWI identifies causes of congestion in communication networks

CWI's Ph.D. student Miranda van Uitert has identified a number of causes of congestion in Generalized Processor Sharing (GPS) communication networks. GPS is a technique to schedule incoming network traffic at switches. Bandwidth is assigned to different types of traffic according to pre-defined weights. GPS allows the network operator to prioritize traffic types that require small delays like voice data over less demanding types like e-mail.

Fifteen years Internet in Europe

On Monday, November 17 2003, it is exactly fifteen years ago that Europe was connected to the Internet. This connection was established at CWI, the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands. The institute was the first non-American organization to gain access to the American science network NSFnet, which was the equivalent of Internet at the time. The connection was a result of extensive negotiations with the American Internet administrators, in particular by CWI's network manager Piet Beertema and his colleagues.

Image processing reveals both large objects and details

PhD student Gemma Piella has developed a technique that shows large objects and small details in the same image. Normally, the amount of detail in a picture depends on its scale. For example, from a distance a forest looks like a green surface. When approaching, more details like trees, branches or even individual leaves appear, but you lose sight of the bigger picture. To solve this problem, Piella modified the wavelet transformation image processing technique. The resulting transformation retains both small and large elements by utilizing geometric information.

VIDI grant for Mark Peletier

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a VIDI grant to CWI researcher Mark Peletier for his mathematical research of the aggregation of molecules. Particular molecules form flat or stringlike structures, instead of shapeless lumps. Lipid molecules for example, aggregate in this way to form cell membranes. These structures are essential to the way living cells function.

Ronald de Wolf first Dutch winner Cor Baayen Award

Ronald de Wolf first Dutch winner Cor Baayen AwardCWI-researcher Ronald de Wolf has won the 2003 Cor Baayen Award. He is the first Dutch scientist to win this ERCIM award for the most promising European researcher in computer science or applied mathematics. The award ceremony took place on November 5, 2003 during the ERCIM Meeting in Luxemburg. The prize, EUR 5000, was introduced in 1995. It is named after former CWI-director Cor Baayen who was the first ERCIM president.

CWI builds new supercomputer

CWI has started the construction of a new supercomputer cluster in the beginning of October 2003. The cluster, consisting of 48 dual and quad AMD Opteron systems, is the first quad Opteron cluster in the Benelux. The new supercomputer, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research NWO, is expected to be operational in two months.

CWI contributes to next generation web forms

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released a new Recommendation for online forms called XForms 1.0. Surfers can use these forms to submit information on websites. CWI-researcher Steven Pemberton presided the W3C Working Group that developed the worldwide standard.

Members of Parliament visit CWI

Three Dutch Members of Parliament were shown around at CWI as part of the Parlementaire Amsterdam Dag on September 26, 2003. Management Team member Jan Verwer gave the delegation an overview of CWI activities. Subsequently, CWI scientists Han La Poutré and Herman te Riele informed the visitors on some of the research highlights like ICT and health care and data security. Robert van Liere gave a demonstration in Virtual Reality.

INRIA and CWI launch VLTS benchmark website

Together with the VASY group of CWI's French sister institute INRIA, Stefan Blom (SEN2) has set up the first VLTS Benchmark Suite. This online database contains several very large transition systems (VLTS), systematic descriptions of complex processes like railway safety systems. These descriptions, also referred to as state space graphs, include all possible states of the system and the way these states are related to each other. The benchmarks can be used to the evaluate algorithms operating on state space graphs, like model checkers and visualisation tools.

CWI graduate Jeroen Wackers receives award

The faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology has elected Jeroen Wackers as the best graduate student of the year 2002-2003. Wackers completed his graduation work in cooperation with the Computing and Control group (MAS2) of CWI. His grade average exceeded 9 of 10. With his thesis on the solution of 2D unsteady Euler equations he graduated with honour. Wackers will continue to work at CWI as an OIO studying the simulation of water-air flows. It is not the first time a MAS2-graduate receives praise.

Science, games and theory at CWI

Crude graphics and a simple idea were enough to create the first computer games like Pong and Space Invaders. Thirty years later, the consumers' desire for life-like graphics and challenging game play make increasingly high demands upon the technology involved. CWI's annual business day CWI in Bedrijf on October 17, 2003 is dedicated to the role of research and science in game design and theory. Experts from the industry and universities will elaborate on topics like virtual reality and intelligent computer opponents.

Prestigious prizes awarded to Lex Schrijver and Bert Gerards

On Monday, 18 August 2003, Lex Schrijver received the Dantzig prize for his complete work in optimization. Furthermore, he and Bert Gerards both received the Fulkerson prize during ISMP 2003 in Copenhagen. Schrijver is one of CWI's top researchers and holds a part-time professorship at the University of Amsterdam. Bert Gerards is theme leader at CWI and is also a part-time professor at the Technical University Eindhoven.

Enabling more effective multimedia search queries

Ph.D. student Menzo Windhouwer has developed a method to enable semantic queries in multimedia databases. To provide access to stored multimedia objects, database systems use annotations, particular features describing the objects. When annotations are generated automatically, several difficulties occur. For example, the significance of annotations like cheerful or grim depends on the cultural context of the user. Windhouwer's feature grammar system can handle these ambiguities.

Willem Hundsdorfer wins Peterich Prize

Willem Hundsdorfer has submitted the best mathematical research proposal in the 2003 Open Competition of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). As a result his project receives the Peterich Prize. This was announced by NWO on July 21, 2003. The proposal was selected from a total of sixty submissions.

Appointment Rob van den Berg

Rob van den Berg has been appointed professor of spatial stochastics at the Faculty of Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam since July 1, 2003. Van de Berg leads CWI's Stochastics group (PNA3). Among his research interests are percolation, a branch of stochastics studying transitions in connectivity in random systems, and telecommunication networks. More information can be found at:

Jan Willem Klop new KNAW member

CWI's Prof. dr. Jan Willem Klop has been elected as a member of the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). Klop is researcher at CWI and the Catholic University Nijmegen, and professor of Applied Logic at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. In 2002, he received a doctor honoris causa degree at the English University of East Anglia. He cooperated with Jan Bergstra and Jos Baeten on the development of process algebra (ACP). Currently he works in the area of term rewriting systems, amongst others as co-author of the impressive book 'Term Rewriting Systems'.

Farewell Gerard van Oortmerssen

On May 15, 2003, Gerard van Oortmerssen bade farewell to CWI, after many good years as its General Director. CWI paid honour to him with the symposium `Managing in Knowledge Land', where Peter Nijkamp (NWO) spoke, as well as Ben Veltman (AWT), Martin Kersten (CWI and UvA) and Pieter Adriaans (UvA, and chairman of CWI's Governing Board).

Sander Bohte receives NWO grants

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research NWO has granted a VENI subsidy to CWI researcher Sander Bohte. Bohte will use the grant, approved in March 2003, to further his research on spiking neural networks. These types of networks incorporate the latest insights in functional biological neurons. In theory they are much more powerful than traditional artificial neural networks. Bothe's work is aimed at using spiking neurons in large-scale networks that can learn to deal with symbolic structures like grammar in language or compact descriptions of objects in vision.

New Scientist: Software to unzip identity of unknown composers

New Scientist wrote the following text about recent research of Paul Vitányi and fellow researchers at CWI: "A standard PC file-compression program can tell the difference between classical music, jazz ad rock, all without playing a single note. This new-found ability could help scholars identify the composers of music that until now has remained anonymous."

Mathematics of influenza

CWI contributes to the largest influenza survey ever conducted in the Netherlands and Flanders. The Grote Griepmeting, organized by science website Kennislink, magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek and several research centres, maps the spread of influenza and common cold from November 1, 2003 until April 1, 2004. People are invited to contribute to the survey by signing up on the Grote Griepmeting website . On a regular basis they will be asked to report any symptoms like fever, a sore throat or a runny nose.

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