Triple honor for Saarbrücken Max Planck researchers

The Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest and most important organization of computer scientists, has elected three researchers from the two Max Planck Institutes in Saarbrücken to Fellow status, the most prominent level of membership. In doing so, the ACM honors their fundamental contributions to modern computer science, with whose insights our current technology has been shaped.

Saarbrücken once again proves to be one of the most important computer science locations in Germany. Since 1993, the ACM, founded in 1947, has honored with the status of Fellow the one percent of its members who have made the most outstanding achievements in the field of computer and information technology.  To date, only 19 researchers in Germany have been elected to the highest category of the leading computer science organization, four of whom are already based in Saarbrücken. The new 2021 Fellows, two from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, MPI-INF, one from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, MPI-SWS, bring the number of Saarbrücken researchers holding the Fellow honor to seven, including five Max Planck directors.


Thomas Lengauer, MPI-INF director emeritus, is recognized for contributions to bioinformatics and medical informatics; Joël Ouaknine, director at MPI-SWS, receives the honor for contributions to algorithmic analysis of dynamical systems; Bernt Schiele, director at MPI-INF, for contributions to large-scale object recognition, human detection, and pose estimation.


Thomas Lengauer has spent his career working on theoretical computer science and methods for integrated circuit design, as well as bioinformatics, cheminformatics, and medical informatics. In the 1970s, he conducted research in theoretical computer science at Stanford University and Bell Laboratories. In the 1980s, he conducted research at Saarland University and Paderborn University. Inspired by the developing Human Genome Project, he was one of the first Germans to move into genomics and bioinformatics in the 1980s.  His "school" of PhD students and postdocs is a cornerstone of today's bioinformatics in Germany and beyond.
         Lengauer is a member of the Presidium of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. He has received various scientific awards, including the Konrad Zuse Medal - the highest award of the Gesellschaft für Informatik, the Karl-Heinz Beckurts Prize and the Hector Science Prize.
         In 2001, the Max Planck Society accepted him as a scientific member and director at MPI-INF, where he headed the Department of Bioinformatics until his retirement in 2018.


Joël Ouaknine: His research interests lie at the interface between theoretical computer science and mathematics, particularly at the interface between dynamical systems and computation, using tools from number theory, Diophantine geometry, algebraic geometry, and mathematical logic. Ouaknine studied mathematics at McGill University and received his PhD in computer science from Oxford in 2001.
         He has won a number of major research awards, including a €1.8 million ERC Consolidator Grant; he is one of 18 principal investigators in the transregional Collaborative Research Center "Foundations of Understandable Software Systems," led from Saarbrücken and funded by the German Research Foundation with €11 million. In 2020, he was elected as member of the Academia Europaea.
         Joël Ouaknine has been a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society since 2016 and is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he leads the Foundations of Algorithmic Verification group.


Bernt Schiele's research areas are computer vision and multimodal sensor processing. Current research is on deep machine learning and the foundations of image and video understanding, such as 3D object class recognition or 3D person recognition and tracking. A seminal aspect of his research is the problem of 3D scene understanding of traffic scenes as a case study for complete scene understanding. Bernt Schiele studied computer science in Karlsruhe and then in Grenoble, where he received his PhD in 1997. After stays at MIT and ETH Zurich, he received a chair at the University of Darmstadt in 2004.
         He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of Germany, the Leopoldina, in 2021, and he is also a Fellow of IEEE, ELLIS, and IAPR.
         Bernt Schiele has been a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science since 2010, he leads the Computer Vision and Machine Learning group.


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