Thursday, August 13, 2020

Simons Institute Gets Another Decade

 Great news out of the Simons Institute.

The Simons Foundation has ensured a second decade of research and innovation for the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, based at UC Berkeley, through a $35.5 million grant. The grant, which will begin in 2022, after the conclusion of the Simons Institute's first 10 years, will support the Simons Institute's mission and activities through June 2032.

Congrats to Shafi Goldwasser and her team and of course a special thanks to Jim Simons and his foundation for their support for the theory community. 

Time flies. I remember when I was on Team Chicago in the final rounds back in 2011. We lost but the theory community won as Berkeley did the institute well with amazing collaborative spaces, thanks mainly I hear from Alistair Sinclair, and the strong programs and workshops organized by the many volunteers across the theory community. 

The institute started right when I started as a department chair so I never had the opportunity for the true Simons experience, joining for a semester-long program. When I did sneak away for a week at Simons I purposely avoided the workshops for Simons is at its best when strong researchers, connected by one of the programs, just talk, work and socialize together. I joined an amazing collection of complexity theorists to form a rather mediocre pub trivia team.

Even if you never make it there, the institute has a great collection of videos of its workshops, talks and celebrations. COVID-19 has driven Simons on-line but that just opens up their workshops and other events to a wider audience.

Congrats again to the Simons Institute for what it's given to the theory community and to its next dozen years with hopefully many more to follow!

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