Thore Husfeldt

Archive for September 2010

Title of a post about self-referential science journalism

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This is a blog post without any content of itself, just linking to an article by a science journalist in a major newspaper: This is a news website article about a scientific paper. As an excuse I mention that I have some interest in science journalism. I also add a link to one of the posts on my blog: P vs NP vs PR.

Written by thorehusfeldt

September 28, 2010 at 12:24

Posted in Silly

Golden Pointer 2010

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I’m immensely proud to have received the 2010 pedagogical prize of D-sektionen, the computer engineering students’ association at Lund University.

Golden Pointer Trophy, Diploma

The award consists of a diploma and the trophy itself, a golden pointer mounted on a wooden board. The word “pointer” refers to (see what I did there?) a teacher’s pointing stick, not to the computing term, even though I suspect that the play on words is deliberate. Close inspection reveals that the pointer is in fact wooden and painted with gold colour. The left part of the mounting board displays plaques with the names of previous recipients:

  • 2005: Görel Hedin
  • 2006: Jan Eric Larsson
  • 2007: Lars Bendix
  • 2009: Andrey Ghulchak
  • 2010: Thore Husfeldt

I’ve been teaching at the computer engineering programme for two years now. The course is EDAF05, an introduction to algorithms design that appears in the fourth term of the computer engineering programme, and elsewhere on other programmes.

Here’s an excerpt from the nomination, in Swedish:

Thore är enligt oss den perfekta läraren, han har kunskapen, han har humorn och han har förmågan att kombinera dessa förmågor i en god och pedagogisk undervisning. Genom hans brinnande intresse för pedagogisk undervisning och sitt egna ämne samt sitt engagemang i att göra det intressant även för människorna i hans omgivning, för han över intresset på de studenter han undervisar.

Han pratar öppet och gärna om sin forskning både under föreläsningar, i pauser och när en student kommer upp till honom och visar sig nyfiken. Han har även förmågan att anpassa nivån när han berättar om sin forskning så den passar de aktuella åhörarna. Att knyta an forskning till utbildning på det vis Thore gör är något som vi anser vara eftersträvansvärt, samt belysandet av att detta är genomförbart anser vi alltid ligga rätt i tiden.

Thore lägger även in flertalet trevliga moment i undervisningen. För att ge ett exempel så tog han ner ett antal studenter under en föreläsning för visa hur algoritmen Stable Marriage fungerar på personerna, i stället för att rita på tavlan.

Han lyckas även få studenterna engagerade i föreläsningarna vilket märks genom att studenterna vågar ställa frågor och även öppet svarar och spekulerar när Thore själv ställer frågor under föreläsningarna. Ett förfarande som uppskattas av många studenter är att han även implementerar de algoritmer han går igenom under föreläsningstid, istället för att använda sig av färdigskriven kod.

Algoritmer kan vara väldigt abstrakt och svårt att greppa, men Thore lyckas genom koppling till praktiska, relevanta och roliga exempel konkretisera ämnet på ett mycket bra vis.

What can I say? I’m really happy for this, thanks to whoever nominated me. I have some ideas for improving this course further, all time-consuming, and now feel doubly inspired to implement them next time.

Teaching remains the part of my job I enjoy (and do) best, but it is unrewarding: not in itself—the fact that somebody listens me, and somebody else pays me for, telling about algorithms is an enormous privilege. But all other parts of my job include external gratification as well: when I invest time and energy in research, I can hope to put a new publication on my cv. When I actually prepare for a departmental meeting, I might take some administrative victory home. But for teaching, no such reward system exists. It’s a task that is removed from meritocratic principles, with no external incentive for excellence.

Except, of course, for awards like this. Which is why they not only are a way to make people like me feel immensely good about themselves. They are also a valuable and influential instrument to improve quality of higher education, provided they are handed out with care. With great power comes great responsibility, so please think long and hard about who should be the next recipient.

Written by thorehusfeldt

September 23, 2010 at 21:56

Posted in Uncategorized

IPEC 2010 Accepts (with links)

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Here are the papers accepted at The Fifth International Symposium on Parameterized and Exact Computation (IPEC 2010), December 13-15, 2010 at Chennai, India, with links to whatever electronic version I could find. Updates are welcome.

  • Robert Crowston, Gregory Gutin, Mark Jones and Anders Yeo. A New Lower Bound on the Maximum Number of Satisfied Clauses in Max-SAT and its Algorithmic Application [arxiv 1004.0526]
  • Frederic Havet and Leonardo Sampaio. On the Grundy number of a graph
  • Robert Ganian, Petr Hlineny, Joachim Kneis, Daniel Meister, Jan Obdrzalek, Peter Rossmanith and Somnath Sikdar. Are there any good digraph width measures? [arxiv 1004.1485]
  • Daniel Binkele-Raible and Henning Fernau. Enumerate & Measure: Improving Parameter Budget Management
  • Chris Calabro, Impagliazzo Russell and Ramamohan Paturi. On the Exact Complexity of Evaluating Quantified k-CNF
  • Thore Husfeldt and Nina Taslaman. The exponential time complexity of computing the probability that a graph is connected [arxiv 1009.2362]
  • Britta Dorn and Ildikó Schlotter. Multivariate Complexity Analysis of Swap Bribery [PDF at Schlotter’s web page]
  • Katarína Cechlárová and Ildikó Schlotter. Computing the deficiency of housing markets with duplicate houses [PDF at Schlotter’s web page]
  • Marek Cygan, Marcin Pilipczuk, Michal Pilipczuk and Jakub Wojtaszczyk. Improved FPT algorithm and quadratic kernel for Pathwidth One Vertex Deletion
  • Yixin Cao and Jianer Chen. Weighted Cluster Editing: Kernelization based on Edge-Cuts [arxiv 1008.4250]
  • Jesper Nederlof and Johan M. M. van Rooij. Inclusion/Exclusion Branching For Partial Dominating Set and Set Splitting
  • Nadja Betzler, Robert Bredereck and Rolf Niedermeier. Partial Kernelization for Rank Aggregation: Theory and Experiments [PDF at Betzler’s web page]
  • M. Praveen. Small Vertex Cover makes Petri Net Coverability and Boundedness Easier [arxiv 1009.2577]
  • Yngve Villanger. Proper Interval Vertex Deletion
  • Gregory Gutin, Eun Jung Kim, Arezou Soleimanfallah, Stefan Szeider and Anders Yeo. Parameterized Complexity Results for General Factors in Bipartite Graphs with an Application to Constraint Programming
  • Sylvain Guillemot, Christophe Paul and Anthony Perez. On the (non-)existence of polynomial kernels for Pl-free edge modification problems [arxiv 1007.4011]
  • Christian Hoffmann. Exponential Time Complexity of Weighted Counting of Independent Sets [arxiv 1007.1146]
  • Michael Fellows, Serge Gaspers and Frances Rosamond. Parameterizing by the Number of Numbers [arxiv 1007.2021]
  • M A Abhimanyu, B Radheshyam, Chintan Rao H, Venkata Koppula, Neeldhara Misra, Geevarghese Philip and Ramanujan M.S..On the Kernelization Complexity of Colorful Motifs

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September 17, 2010 at 23:40

Posted in Uncategorized

Demotivational poster: Scotch and SODA

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Sour grapes


[PDF version]

Public domain image by Chris Huh, available at Wikimedia Commons: Glass of Bell’s

Completely unrelated: list of accepted papers at SODA 2011 [PDF].

Written by thorehusfeldt

September 15, 2010 at 11:55

Posted in Conferences, Silly