According to the recently published QS World University Rankings for 2016/2017, Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) and Technische Universität Berlin (TU) belong to the top nine universities in Germany.

The QS World University Rankings assess university performance based on the following six indicators: the institution's academic reputation, the ratio of students to faculty, the number of citations by researchers, the reputation of graduates among employers, the international faculty ratio and the international composition of students. Data from over 900 universities worldwide was evaluated in order to determine the 2016/2017 rankings.

Placed among the best universities in Germany, HU, FU and TU Berlin were ranked 5th, 6th and 9th, respectively, and claimed higher positions in comparison with previous results. The three Berlin universities also appear among the best 200 in the world with the FU ranked at 123, the HU at 121 and the TU at 164.

The 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) took place at Heidelberg University from 18 to 23 September 2016. The HLF is a networking event for mathematicians and computer scientists from all over the world and is organised annually by the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF).

200 young scientists from over 50 nations were successful in convincing the foundation's scientific advisory board of their outstanding academic abilities to secure a place at this event, where they were given the chance to interact extensively with 21 Laureates of mathematics and computer science. The Laureates are the winners of some of the most prestigious awards in these two fields: the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, the Nevanlinna Prize and the ACM A.M. Turing Award. There are several stages in the career of a young researcher during which they may apply to attend the HLF: undergraduate; graduate (in the PhD phase); or postdoc.

Ana, Lauri, Georg, Stephen A. Cook, Christoph and Hanka

Six BMS Phase II students were selected to attend the HLF this year: Gregor Bruns, Ana Djurdjevac, Christoph Gorgulla, Kathlén Kohn, Hana Kourimska und Lauri Loiskekoski. The BMS students took the opportunity to converse with their fellow participants and, in particular, with one of the Laureates, Stephen A. Cook, an American-Canadian computer scientist and mathematician and winner of the ACM A.M. Turing Award in 1982. According to the organisers, this year's “Hot Topic” proved to be one of the highlights of the event: leading researchers and experts examined the current scientific trends in Artificial Intelligence and their applications. It was followed by a broader discussion about how those developments affect our lives and society.

BMS Phase II student Christoph Gorgulla said “I had a truly amazing time at the 4th HLF, which is the most well organized conference that I have ever attended. Because of that, one was able to fully concentrate on the science and the interaction with other participants. It was remarkably inspiring and insightful to listen to the lectures of laureates and to talk with them in person. To get to know many brilliant young researchers from all over the world was another extremely valuable experience. I have learned much about various aspects of science which will be very helpful to find my path in science in the future.”

 The HLF was initiated by Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), a German foundation which promotes natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The Forum is organized by the HLFF along with KTS and HITS. It is strongly supported by the award-granting institutions, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM: ACM A.M. Turing Award), the International Mathematical Union (IMU: Fields Medal, Nevanlinna Prize), and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA: Abel Prize). A longer news article can be found in English and in German on the HLF website.