Monday, December 13th, 2021

Letter from the Director, December 2021

Dear friends,

This week we say goodbye to the participants in our programs on Computational Complexity of Statistical Inference and Geometric Methods in Optimization and Sampling. It’s been a gift to share Calvin Lab with them this fall for our first in-person programs since early 2020.

We’re pleased to invite applications for participants in our Research Pods in Quantum Computing and Machine Learning for the 2022–23 academic year. Both pods are accepting applications for postdoctoral fellows, and the Quantum Pod is also offering visiting research scientist positions. We hope the quantum and machine learning researchers among you will consider applying!

In this month’s newsletter, I would like to share with you a feature article on spiking neural networks by our science communicator in residence, Anil Ananthaswamy. The piece explores advances in algorithms for training artificial neural networks (ANNs) that use spiking neurons instead of standard rate-coding neurons, and are opening the door to a new generation of ANNs that work on low-energy, always-on neuromorphic devices, which can operate without access to the cloud.

In our SimonsTV corner, we have the third and final installment of the Foundations of Computing miniseries, an interview with Scott Aaronson (UT Austin) about the history of computer science and his own trajectory within the field.

As the world enters the third pandemic winter, I am grateful to you, our friends and collaborators, for the dedication and intense intellectual pursuits you continue to share with us. This is not to be taken for granted in these challenging times. I wish you all joyous holidays and a happy new year.

All my best wishes, 

Shafi Goldwasser
Director, Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing