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HLF: From an experiment to an establishment


The 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) drew to a close on last Friday in fitting form at Heidelberg Castle, and it did so with the certainty of many HLFs to follow. “HLF will be continued as long as the open, unfettered scientific exchange between laureates and young researchers is a useful means for advancing science – which we are convinced will be the case for a long time,” affirmed Beate Spiegel, Chairperson of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) and Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Foundation. In 2013, the HLF took shape as an experiment in the hope it would take root. Since then, it has cemented itself as a fixture in the worlds of mathematics and computer science.

Two strong scientific institutions have joined the side of the organizing foundation: Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) committed to being scientific partners of the HLFF. The collaboration was sealed by an official contract signing just before the opening ceremony of the 4th HLF.

© Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation

A farewell dinner at Heidelberg Castle was the shining conclusion to a week full of scientific exchange, intensive knowledge transfer and reciprocal inspiration between generations of researchers. Among the participants were 21 laureates, who have received the most renowned prizes in mathematics and computer science, and 200 selected young researchers from over 50 nations, who impressed the Scientific Committee of the HLFF with their credentials. The young researchers were given the chance to meet and get to know their scientific role-models: Recipients of the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, the Nevanlinna Prize and the ACM A.M. Turing Award.

What distinguishes the HLF from other conference formats is the unique atmosphere that enables both highly scientific and informal exchanges among the participants. Lectures, postdoc workshops and panel discussions ignite scientific dialogue and the diverse social program encourages the participants to pursue their discussions outside of the auditorium.

The success of previous Hot Topic session at the HLF has secured its place in the program, and this year focused on the research field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A panel of experts, moderated by the science journalist Christoph Drösser, gave an overview of the current trends and possible applications of AI in their lectures. They also discussed potential areas were AI can be applied in the future and the ethical questions that arise with how Artificial Intelligence is implemented.

Participants of the 4th HLF were invited on a tour into the world of astronomy with this year’s ‘Lindau Lecture’. To celebrate the HLF’s bond with the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, Brian Schmidt, who received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, delivered his fascinating lecture on ‘The State of the Universe’.

For the first time during the Forum week, the HLFF presented an exhibition in the Old University of Heidelberg as part of the accompanying program, which was also open to the public. “Konrad Zuse’s Early Computing Machines” told the story of how Konrad Zuse’s initial ideas blossomed into the development of his machines and demonstrated the details of Zuse’s early computers. In the six days its doors were open, over 1,500 visitors experienced the exhibition that was designed specifically for the Forum.
The 5th HLF will take place from September 24-29, 2017, and we encourage mathematicians and computer scientists to save the date. The application tool will be opened for young researchers this fall.

Videos of the laureate lectures are available to stream:

Lecture videos are also available on YouTube:

Photos of the 4th HLF are on Flickr:

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) annually organizes the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), which is a networking event for mathematicians and computer scientists from all over the world. The 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum will take place from September 18 to 23, 2016. The HLF was initiated by the German foundation Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), which promotes natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The Forum is organized by the HLFF along with the KTS. It is strongly supported by the award-granting institutions, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM: ACM A.M. Turing Award), the International Mathematical Union (IMU: Fields Medal, Nevanlinna Prize), and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA: Abel Prize).

Registration and Press Inquiries
Wylder Green
Christiane Schirok
Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation
Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg 33, 69118 Heidelberg, Germany
Telephone: +49-6221-533-384

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