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These are the five Leiden highlights of ICT.OPEN

The ICT.OPEN conference had no less than five Leiden highlights. PhD candidate Anna Louise Latour won the pitch prize of 500 euros and PhD candidate Can Wang won the second prize in the Commit2Data poster competition. In addition, Professor Holger Hoos gave the keynote lecture on the first day and Suzan Verberne pitched the workshop ICT with Industry 2020. Finally, Felienne Hermans gave a workshop on social media.

Optimal decisions

In a three-minute pitch Anna Louise Latour won over the jury and the audience of one hundred people. The researcher talked animatedly about her research and used a lively example to sketch the problem: As a project manager, how do you ensure that an electricity network is as earthquake-resistant as possible, while taking into account your budget and uncertainties about what will break down? That's where she comes in the picture, says Latour in the pitch. She develops accessible methods to solve problems like this, in a programming language that resembles our natural language. Because users can often learn the language in a day, people without programming skills can still use these methods. 

Bob the Builder

To clarify the difference between the user with the problem (the project manager) and the scientist with the solution, Latour used an object. 'A yellow safety helmet, similar to the one from Bob the Builder. Of course I also used it for a Bob the Builder joke at the end', she laughs. Latour is very happy with the prize, but liked the experience itself and everything around it the most. 'Think of all the support, feedback and input I received from my colleagues, but also from NWO and the other candidates.'

The pitch of Latour and the other three candidates envisioned by Flatland

Artificial intelligence changes everything

Besides Latour, there was another winner of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), namely PhD candidate Can Wang. At the Commit2Data poster competition she won the second prize of 250 euro. The day before, Professor of Machine learning Holger Hoos gave the keynote lecture on the synergy between machine learning and logic. He stated that artificial intelligence is radically changing our 600-year-old way of doing science. ‘Whether probing the evolution of galaxies or discovering new chemical compounds, algorithms are detecting patterns no humans could have spotted.’

ICT with Industry

Suzan Verberne made those present enthusiastic about the workshop 'ICT with Industry', which NWO is organising together with the Leiden Lorentz Center. The edition in 2020 will be held at the Lorentz Center. The workshop brings young scientists together with professionals from industry and government and revolves around a number of case studies.   
Finally, Felienne Hermans showed how to effectively use Twitter as a scientist during the workshop 'Social media for the busy scientist'.

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