ERCIM News No.23 - October 1995

GMD - Hermann Mierendorff, Dr. Anton Schäller and Prof. Ulrich Trottenberg, scientists at the GMD Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing, were awarded the first prize of Mannheim SuParCup'95. The award was presented to the scientists at the Supercomputer Seminar, 22 to 24 June 1995, in Mannheim. Mierendorff, SchACller, and Trottenberg considered the ECMWF weather prediction code (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) on clusters of C90 systems which are connected by HIPPI channels (High Performance Parallel Interface). Based on a performance model and on measurements provided by CRAY research, it was shown that a very good efficiency can be obtained for high resolutions as used in the daily weather forecast. This result is considered a breakthrough in cluster computing.
GMD - Dr. Hartmut Surmann, Dr. Liliane Peters and Jörg Huser, researchers at GMD's Institute for System Design Technology, have won the Robot Intelligence Award in a fuzzy robot competition in Yokohama, Japan. This prize was awarded for a novel fuzzy system for an autonomous mobile robot. Controlled by means of a new fuzzy logic controller, the autonomous robot navigates smoothly through an office building. Though weighing 400 kg and having a maximum payload of 150 kg, the robot accomplishes its tasks flexibly and fast. The robot has been developed within a cooperatioan with the "TZN Forschungs- und Entwicklungszentrum Unterlüß GmbH". The robot's independent attempts to get out from dead end and its fast evading manoeuver upon the appearence of a human obstacle impressed the jury.
GMD - Dr.-Ing. Christoph Lindemann, researcher at GMD's Institute for Computer Systems and Software Technology was elected a Senior Member of IEEE Computer Society. This election recognizes Lindemann's research work in the field of efficient numerical solution techniques for stochastic modelling formalisms and their application to the performance assessment of parallel computer systems. With more than 320,000 members, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is worldwide the largest academic association of electrical engineers and computer scientists. So far, less than eight percent of the IEEE members have been elected senior members.
INRIA - Damien Doligez, researcher at INRIA's PARA project on parallel computing, rekindled the debate on software cryptography by breaking into the security code of an international version of Netscape NavigatorTM, shortly after Netscape Communications Corporation's impressive entrance into the public market via NASDAQ, the American stock exchange. Interested in a challenge placed on the internet, Doligez employed a total of 112 computers from INRIA, Ecole Normale Superieure and Ecole Polytechnique for 8 full days to crack the secure session challenge. His program used the brute force method, which consists of trying more than 1000 billion possible keys, and found the key that broke the code on August 15th. Netscape NavigatorTM is the most popular software for navigating the Internet global network. Mostly used for accessing public-domain information, Netscape NavigatorTM also includes a secure mode for transferring confidential information. This mode uses the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol to encrypt the information and is used, for example, for on-line shopping to protect credit card numbers from eavesdroppers.
GMD - Prof. Dr. Ulrich Trottenberg, Director of GMD's Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing, began in August 1995 a one year's research stay with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York City. It is the primary aim of this stay to conduct a telecooperation project on the subject of parallel adaptive multigrid methods. The joint research project ranges from methodical foundations to industry-oriented applications. Within this project which is supported by Deutsche Telekom, Trottenberg will "tele-manage" his GMD Institute from New York.
CWI - Prof. Lex Schrijver, leader of CWI's research group on Combinatorial Optimization and Algorithmics, has been appointed a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Schrijver studied mathematics at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam and wrote in 1977 his Ph.D. thesis on Matroids and Linking Systems. His thesis adviser was Cor Baayen, former director of CWI and ERCIM's first president. Afterwards he became a well-known expert in the field of Discrete Mathematics. After a professorate at Tilburg University he became in 1989 a group leader at CWI, in combination with a part-time appointment at the University of Amsterdam. Schrijver is, after Profs. Jaco de Bakker (head of the Software Technology Department) and Michael Keane (leader of the Image Analysis group), CWI's third full Academy member - proof of the institute's prominent place in the Dutch scientific world.
CWI - Data Distilleries (DD), CWI's most recent spin-off company, has started its activities on 1 September 1995. The company focuses on applications of data mining, a rapidly evolving technique to extract knowledge (e.g., strategic information) from large databases. DD's director is Marcel Holsheimer, a former member of CWI's Database group led by Prof. Martin Kersten. DD maintains close relations with CWI as well as with other prominent European research institutions such as GMD. It is housed - as is CWI - on the premises of the Amsterdam Science Park.
CWI - Prof. C.J. van Duijn from Delft University of Technology has succeeded per 1 October 1995 prof. Odo Diekmann as leader of CWI's research group on Modelling & Analysis. Diekmann, who specialized at CWI in biomathematical problems, has been appointed professor in Applied Mathematics at the University of Utrecht.
return to the contents page