Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Letter from the Director

Dear friends,

Greetings from Berkeley, where we are six weeks into two very lively research programs: Theory of Reinforcement Learning and Probability, Geometry, and Computation in High Dimensions. It has been good to see so many of you at our boot camps, workshops, and other events this fall. As you know, we are operating online for now, but we will move to limited on-site convenings as soon as the university permits. Watch this space for developments.

In the last few months, we’ve shared the news of the Simons Foundation’s new grant to support the Institute for a second decade (2022–2032), and we’ve announced two large NSF grants that will support (among other things) the Institute’s activities in quantum computing and deep learning (the latter funded through a collaboration between NSF and the Simons Foundation). This month, we’re delighted to announce yet another large grant from NSF, which will establish a multi-institutional Foundations of Data Science Institute (FODSI) led by Simons Institute Associate Director Peter Bartlett and which will support numerous related activities at the Simons Institute. You can read more about that new initiative here

This month’s newsletter features a trio of research vignettes (by Eli Gafni, Xiaowu Dai, and Vassilis Zikas) from our Fall 2019 research program on Proofs, Consensus, and Decentralizing Society, with each vignette representing a different aspect of the program. 

In our SimonsTV corner, we present an interview with Andrew Yao (ACM A.M. Turing laureate, 2000) in conversation with Simons Institute Research Director for Quantum Computing Umesh Vazirani, the fourth of five episodes in our miniseries Berkeley in the 80s.

And you can catch up on our cooking adventures as well!

I hope you are all doing well, and I look forward to seeing you online and in Berkeley soon.

Best wishes,

Shafi Goldwasser
Director, Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing