The 80-20 Rule of Understanding

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Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Bushra Anjum, HLF13 participant: I have to give it to the organizers of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, they organized the plenary lectures exceptionally well! Interleaving one CS and one Math based lecture is an excellent idea which gives a lot of flavor to our mornings. Add to it the intermediate coffee breaks where you can talk to the laureates, it makes everything a perfect blend.

Bushra Anjum and Sir Michael Atiyah at HLF13
Image: Courtesy of Bushra Anjum

I am from CS and am enjoying the newly discovered 80-20 rule of understanding. Here comes a CS lecture, and I can follow 80% of the discussion, then comes the Math lecture and my understanding drops to 20%, then rises again to 80 and then drops again to 20. But then there are some remarkably well architected (cannot think of a better word) lectures that I could follow 100%. I have to hand it to Dr. Wigderson for his lecture on Randomness. Now that is a topic that is at the heart of both Mathematics and Computer Science. Not only was I able to understand and follow the entire lecture, everyone else that I talked to afterwards (in the young researchers) also had the same opinion. Similarly, I must mention the lecture “Advice to Young Mathematicians” by Dr. Atiyah. It was full of witty and practical advice applicable to any young researcher, be it Mathematics, Computer Science or any other field. Kudos!

Looking forward to the remaining two days of lectures and interaction with the laureates.

P.S. Yes I was the one who asked Dr. Atiyah at the Mathematics Panel how he manages to look so good at this ‘young’ age!

Bushra Anjum

Bushra Anjum was born in Lahore, Pakistan from where she received her Bachelor and Master’s degree in Computer Science. She then moved to USA on Fulbright Scholarship and completed PhD (CS) from North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh in 2012. Since then she has moved back to her home country and is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. She has authored scholarly papers in the areas of performance modeling, computer networks, and quality of service provision. She enjoys photography, buying shoes and playing every social game Zynga has ever introduced!


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