Notes written by Hari Cherupalli
Supported by the ORAU and NSF, I had the opportunity to attend the 5th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) in late September. The Forum was a unique experience for me. Shaped as a conference it brings together some of the best minds in the fields of mathematics, and computer science, recipients of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, the Abel Prize, the ACM Prize in Computing, the Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize. The conference is open to undergraduate students, doctoral candidates, and researchers who can apply to be invited to the forum.
My own research involves developing application-specific design and optimization techniques for ultra-low-power embedded systems. These techniques are geared towards the coming Internet of Things revolution which will be primarily powered by embedded processors. In my research, I develop methodologies for power saving, cost and weight reduction, and security in ultra-low-power embedded processors based on the application running on the processor. To do this, I combine ideas from computer architecture, binary instrumentation, model checking, and VLSI. My application to the Forum was driven by the nature of my research.
Among the brilliant minds I met, was laureate Prof. Fred Brooks who coined the term ‘computer architecture’ and made significant contributions to the field while working at IBM. I also met Prof. Joseph Sifakis who is one of three Turing award winners for model checking. One of the techniques I use in my research, symbolic simulation, is used in model checking, and getting feedback from him on my research helped me assess my ideas and work. Some of the other laureates I had a chance to interact with are Jeff Dean, a University alumnus, Fields Medal winner Efim Zelmanov, father of computer graphics Ivan Sutherland, Nevanlinna prize winner Madhu Sudan, and developer of the famous quicksort algorithm, Tony Hoare. The Forum included several lectures by the laureates which helped me evaluate my research and identify forthcoming problems that need to be solved.
Apart from the lectures, the Forum had other events including visits to research institutes, workshops on current research ideas, and several social events. Attending the HLF exposed me to some exciting research from around the world, and I would encourage students interested in pursuing research in computer science or mathematics to consider applying to participate in the Forum.