Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science The Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) was established in 1996. The institute collaborates with many national and international institutes and has formal affiliations with two national research schools, the Advanced School for Computing and Imaging (ASCI) and the Institute for Programming Research and Algorithms (IPA). The research areas of LIACS range from theoretical to applied computer science and the research programs are organized along the themes of the IPA and ASCI.
The LIACS belongs to the top hundred of computer science insti-
The LIACS has strong international visibility and is recognized
tutes in the world. With its fifteen permanent research staff, four
for its excellent scientific output and quality of research. Rather
postdoctoral researchers and fifty PhD students, the institute has
than covering the whole spectrum of Computer Science, the
shown considerable growth in the past years. The ties with inter-
institute strives for excellence in a limited number of research
national institutes are very strong and are reflected in the staff
areas, which together yield a challenging, relevant and modern
and students, of which the majority is international.
The research programs of LIACS often contain theoretical,
The institute offers two main research programs, which both
experimental and applied components. Many of the application
comprise several clusters. The program Algorithms and Founda-
areas are of substantial societal and technological relevance.
tions of Software Technology consists of two clusters. Investiga-
Fruitful collaborations exist between the LIACS, the Math-
tion of methods and techniques for designing and analyzing
ematical Institute and the Leiden Amsterdam Center for Drug
algorithms is the aim of the Algorithms cluster. The design of
Research, which are foreseen to intensify in the coming years.
algorithms based on paradigms gleaned from nature has turned
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out to be successful in areas such as evolutionary computing and
In the cluster Imagery and Media, the focus lies on analysis,
neural networks. Such algorithms have proven to be superior in a
formation and interaction of media from sources ranging from
number of application domains.
human vision to microscope imaging to creative research.
The cluster Foundations of Software Technology focuses on the
Imagery refers to the five senses and the mental image that can
structure of software systems. Society becomes increasingly more
be created using these senses. Understanding how humans inter-
dependent on software driven applications. Simplifying these
act with different media is one of the main goals of this research
applications is of great importance and together with treating
group. Evolutionary strategies are gleaned from principles
both humans and computers as components of information processing systems, this research may lead to a smoother and more
The bioinformatics research is directed toward biomedical appli-
of organic evolution â€“ a population of search points
efficient functioning of society.
cations and it is potentially relevant for real progress in providing
undergoing simplified operators of mutation, recom-
basic health care.
bination, and selection to drive optimization towards
Computer System, Imagery and Media is the second program of
increasingly better solutions. These algorithms are
the LIACS. Topics like data mining, embedded software devel-
very powerful for solving search and learning tasks. In
opment, analysis of multimedia information towards human
the natural computing group of Prof. Dr. Thomas BĂ¤ck,
computer interaction and high performance computing are
they have been extended by the biological principle of
under study in the cluster Computer System. But also improv-
niching, i.e., the fact that co-existing animals and plants
ing content based in digital libraries and optimizing embedded
are assigned to different loci in an ecosystem. Adding
the concept of niching to evolutionary strategies allows these search methods to find multiple, alternative solutions to an optimization task within a single run. The resulting algorithm can be applied to a variety of practical tasks involving learning and optimization, such as automotive design optimization, building optimization, control of laser pulses for molecular alignment applications and many others. An application example of such algorithms is designing cars for minimum weight and maximum crash safety. Companies like BMW are using
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such optimization methods today!