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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » November 29, 2012
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Top Guns of Theoretical Computer Science
November 29, 2012   
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Poland’s National Science Center, a government agency that finances fundamental research, has launched its third Maestro program of research grants for experienced researchers. The funds are expected to help finance and facilitate a number of pioneering research projects.

One of the researchers who has benefited from the Maestro program is Prof. Marek
Kubale from the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics of the Gdańsk University of Technology. He has secured a grant of zl.1.25 million for research on information technology in areas such as electronics, telecommunications, information technology and automatics. Kubale’s research project is one of 29 selected for funding in the field of science and technology. His project is called “The development of graph methods for discrete optimization in technical and biological applications.”

Kubale will receive the grant in installments spread over five years. Part of the amount will go to the Gdańsk University of Technology, and the rest will be allocated to support his team and finance its participation in conferences and publications.

Kubale has authored hundreds of publications, including books such as Introduction to Computational Complexity and Algorithmic Graph Coloring, published by the Gdańsk Scientific Society; Łagodne wprowadzenie do analizy algorytmów (A Gentle Introduction to Algorithm Analysis), published by the Gdańsk University of Technology; Optymalizacja dyskretna. Modele i metody kolorowania grafów (Discrete Optimization: Graph Coloring Models and Methods); and Graph Colorings, published by the American Mathematical Society, of which Kubale has been a member for 30 years.

The American Mathematical Society has also asked him to review publications for its journal Mathematical Reviews.

Kubale is also a member of the Institute of Combinatorics and Its Applications (ICA), an international scientific organization based in Canada. For many years he was the only Polish member of this organization. Kubale’s other prestigious affiliations include membership of the Computer Science Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Kubale’s name is associated with the Polish school of graph methods for discrete optimization, or in broader terms with the Gdańsk school of theoretical computer science.

Polish theoretical computer science aspires to prominence in the international arena. One example of the permanent achievements of Polish theoretical computer science is the so-called trace theory initiated 30 years ago by Prof. Antoni Mazurkiewicz. This theory has entered the world canon of the theory of concurrent processes. Also significant for global information technology is the work of Prof. Zdzisław Pawlak covering the so-called rough set theory, formulated in 1982. Another scientist worthy of note in this context is Prof. Janusz Kacprzyk from the Systems Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who has developed a number of innovative, theoretical and practical IT solutions for flexible queries and linguistic summaries of numerical data. Many of his ideas have been put into practice in Poland and beyond.

The Gdańsk University of Technology maintains close ties with a number of Polish-born researchers who have been successful internationally. In 2010, Kubale hosted Prof. Stanisław Radziszewski, since 1995 a professor at the Department of Computer Science of the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States and the author of many works in fields including graph theory, Ramsey theory, block designs, number theory and computational complexity. This year the Gdańsk University of Technology was visited by Prof. Marcin Kamiński, a scientist linked with the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research and Université Libre de Bruxelles. Another frequent guest is Prof. Wiesław Kubiak from the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.

The potential of the team led by Kubale is significant. The team has claimed seven awards from the Polish Computer Science Society and seven START scholarships from the Foundation for Polish Science.

Just to what extent Kubale’s research will contribute to Polish, European and world science largely depends on his young team. It includes Krzysztof Giaro, who became a university professor before he turned 40. Other team members are Paweł Żyliński, Ph.D., from the University of Gdańsk, who is seeking a postdoctoral qualification, and Dariusz Dereniowski, Ph.D., Kubale’s deputy who is in his 30s like the rest of the team.

The youngest member of the team is Adrian Kosowski. His master’s thesis in computer science, written under Kubale’s supervision, has won a nationwide competition held by the Polish Computer Science Society, and Kosowski himself has won the Primus Inter Pares competition in which he was named the best student in Poland. Kosowski also holds a master’s degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Gdańsk. In 2007 he obtained a doctorate in technical sciences at the age of 20.

At the moment, Kosowski is working at the INRIA Bordeaux Sud-Ouest Research Centre in France and attending research symposia in places such as Hong Kong, Bratislava and Toronto. Kubale says Kosowski is a mathematical genius and hopes the young researcher will continue to support the work of the team.

“Graph methods can be used wherever we are dealing with objects and relationships occurring between them, which means they can be used to describe many phenomena taking place in the world around us,” says Kubale. “For example, the methods can be used to solve the problem of allocating radio frequencies or the issue of communication between computers.”

The team plans to focus on two technical applications. One of these is scheduling, or developing different types of schedules based on graph theory methods. There are thousands of such models, including the development of school schedules and timetables to streamline transportation in urban areas. Another application is related to bioinformatics, particularly analysis of phylogenetic trees (family trees) describing the evolution of species as well as the identification of DNA strands.

“Here the team is already entering biomedicine and typical interdisciplinary research. While working on the development of graph methods for discrete optimization, we will be looking for optimal solutions in a finite set of feasible solutions,” says Kubale.

Adam Grzybowski
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