A delegation from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and a representative from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the German Embassy and DAAD are visiting AIMS South Africa from 13 to 17 June 2016. The selection committee from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will be selecting the candidate for the German Research Chair in “Mathematics with a Specialisation in Data Science”, who will be based at AIMS South Africa.

Members of the delegation include: Prof. Peter Gritzmann; Prof. Martin Groetschel; Dr Andrea Binder; Dr Anne Pflug; Dr Simone Heil; Ms Michaela Kreilos and Ms Daniela Mager. The delegation was joined by Ms Phillina Wittka (DAAD) and Ms Eva Ziegert from the German Embassy.

The selection committee is comprised of Prof. Gritzmann (TU München), Prof. Groetschel (President Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Prof. Barry Green (Director AIMS South Africa); Prof. Daya Reddy (South African Research Chair in Computational Mechanics, UCT and Chair of the AIMS Council) and Prof. Ingrid Rewitsky (Executive Head: Department of Mathematical Sciences, Vice-Dean (Teaching): Faculty of Science, SU).

The meetings commenced with an introduction by Dr Andrea Binder, Head of the Alexander von Humboldt Selection Department, on the work that the Foundation does. This was followed by presentations about AIMS from Prof. Barry Green, Prof. Jeff Sanders (Academic Director, AIMS South Africa), Dr Wilfred Ndifon (IDRC Junior Research Chair, AIMS South Africa/Ghana), Dr Simukai Utete (Senior Researcher, AIMS South Africa) and Dr Barrie Barnard (Academic Manager, AIMSSEC).

Special events planned for the week include the following:

  • On Monday 13 June, a public lecture titled: ““Is mathematics useful?” by Prof Martin Grotschel, President Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, held at Stellenbosch University.
  • On Tuesday 14 June, the four candidates for the Research Chair presented public lectures:
    • Title: “Machine Learning and Big Data: from Astronomy to Society” by Prof. Bruce Bassett, University of Cape Town and AIMS South Africa
    • Title: “Compressed Sensing: Exploiting Redundancy in Data” by Dr Bubacarr Bah, Mathematical Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA
    • Title: “Mathematical Models for Signal and Image Analysis” by Dr El Hadji Samba Diop, University of Thies, Senegal
    • Title: “Statistical Physics, Large Deviation Theory, and Data Science” by Dr Jürgen Vollmer, Department of Mathematics, University of Goettingen, German
  • On Friday 17 June, a public lecture titled: “Identifying homogenous risks – Theory and practical issues” by Prof. Peter Gritzmann, Munich TU München, will be held at AIMS South Africa.