3 Turing Award And 1 Nobel Prize Winners Visiting SAP

BLOG: Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Laureates of mathematics and computer science meet the next generation
Heidelberg Laureate Forum

This post is brought to you courtesy of Thomas Zurek – Thomas is VP for Development of SAP HANA BW. He has 16+ years of experience in analytics and over 20 years with RDBMS. He holds a PhD in computer science from Edinburgh University.

On Wednesday 21 Sep, SAP hosted a group of visitors participating in the 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), a meeting of young researchers and winners of the most prestigious awards in Mathematics and Computer Science, the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, the Nevanlinna Prize and the ACM Turing Award, all tantamount to a Nobel Prize in their respective discipline. Amongst the visitors were:

Vinton Cerf (@vgcerf), Turing Award 2004, also known for his contributions of forming today’s internet and as such frequently named as the “father of the internet”,
Sir Tony Hoare, Turing Award 1980, known for coming up with the Quicksort algorithm and the Hoare Logic,
Joseph Sifakis, Turing Award 2007, who received the price for his contributions in verification technologies for hard- and software, and
Brian Schmidt (@cosmicpinot), Nobel Prize in Physics 2011, who was this year’s visiting laureate from the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and who gave this year’s Lindau Lecture at the HLF.

From left to right: K. Bliznak (SAP), O. Ioannadi-Sifakis, J. Sifakis, Sir T. Hoare, B. Schmidt, V. Cerf, T. Zurek (SAP)
From left to right: K. Bliznak (SAP), O. Ioannadi-Sifakis, J. Sifakis, Sir T. Hoare, B. Schmidt, V. Cerf, T. Zurek (SAP)

This visit took around 2.5 hrs and comprised a tour through SAP’s inspiration pavillon and a demo of SAP’s digital boardroom. The 4 laureates showed a huge interest in both, still being critical here and there: at the big data wall, Vint Cerf noted the omission of some of the advances in the internet in the 1970s and 1980s. Brian Schmidt commented: “Vint, you are too biased!” The digital boardroom demo triggered a good set of questions that went beyond the pure visualisation on the 3 screens but extended towards questions on how to incorporate data sitting in non-SAP or legacy systems, on who composes the dashboards and how that might be applicable in their respective areas etc. They even speculated on how SAP might create upsell opportunities. It has been a lively exchange of ideas and, overall, a bit different from the common visits by SAP customers.

Vint Cerf commenting on the Digital Boardroom
Vint Cerf commenting on the Digital Boardroom

If you are interested in finding out more details on the HLF, you might want to look at the HLF website where you also find video recordings of the laureates’ lectures.

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