Scientific lectures and colloquia

The Faculty of Informatics regularly invites distinguished foreign and domestic scientists to give plenary lectures at the weekly Informatics Colloquium (with a tradition dating back to 1997) and on additional important occasions.
The lectures are usually given at the Faculty of Informatics, in lecture room D2, unless specified otherwise. See also the FI building tour.

Since the year 2018, moreover, Masaryk University has launched a new distinguished Seminar Series in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. This series brings to our university world top scientific speakers, selected and invited jointly by the Faculty of Informatics and the Faculty of Science. Lectures of the Seminar Series are given at the Mendel Museum in Brno.


  •   9. 11. 2018, 9:00, Mendel Museum, Refectory of Augustinian Abbey (Mendlovo nám. 1a, Brno)

    Prof. Anuj Dawar

    Professor of Logic and Algorithms at the University of Cambridge
    Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute in London

    The Limits of Symmetric Computation

    Lecture Description

    The most famous open problem in theoretical computer science, known as the P vs. NP problem challenges us to prove that for some natural search problems, no efficient algorithm is possible. At the moment, we have no idea how to prove such a statement. In order to make meaningful progress, we can restrict the class of algorithms we consider and show that, within these restrictions, no efficient algorithm exists. In this talk, I consider a natural restriction to symmetric algorithms. I explain how symmetries arise naturally in computational problems and why algorithms that respect these symmetries have inherent limitations. Many of our most powerful algorithmic techniques are symmetry-preserving, while others are not. Exploring these limits offers a rich research agenda combining logic, algebra and combinatorics with algorithms.

    MU Seminar Series
  •   10. 10. 2018, 16:00, Mendel Museum, Refectory of Augustinian Abbey (Mendlovo nám. 1a, Brno)

    Prof. Javier Esparza

    Faculty of Computer Science, Technische Universität München, Germany.

    Black Ninjas in the Dark: Analyzing Population Protocols

    Lecture Description

    Population protocols are a mathematical model of distributed computation introduced by Angluin et al. in 2004. The original purpose of Angluin et al. was the theoretical study of systems consisting of identical, cheap mobile devices with tiny computational resources, like sensor networks. However, since its introduction the model has also been used to analyze the behaviour of chemical systems and of people in social networks. Population protocols help us to pose and study many fundamental questions about distributed systems: What can be computed by agents wishing to remain anonymous? Are leader processes necessary for optimal speed? Can macroscopic "phase transitions" be "programmed" at microscopic level? Is it possible to check automatically that a protocol works correctly? Is it possible to automatically synthesize a protocol for a given task? In the talk I will introduce the population protocol model with the help of several examples. More precisely, I will present the problem of the Black Ninjas in the Dark, and the different solutions given to it by their Senseis. I will also show animated simulations of some protocols.

    MU Seminar Series
  •   22. 5. 2018, 14:00, D2

    Mouzhi Ge, Ph.D.

    FI MU

    Recommender System Research in E-Commerce

    Lecture Description

    Over the last decade, recommender systems have been widely applied in e-commerce, for example, video recommendations in Youtube, book recommendation on Amazon, and movie recommendation on Netflix. Recommender systems are developed to help users find relevant products that may interest them. The goal of recommender systems is to reduce the information overload and provide personalized recommendations for users. In this talk, I will discuss the state-of-the-art research of recommender system in E-Commerce, which includes rationale and algorithms inside the recommender black box, important features and evaluations in recommender systems. Finally, a real-world food recommender system project in E-Commerce will be described and demonstrated to show how to construct and evaluate the recommender system in practice, as well as possible challenges that are related to the food recommender systems.

    Public talk within a Habilitation procedure

  •   27. 3. 2018, 14:00, D2

    Ing. Vlad Popovici, M.Sc., Ph.D.

    Faculty of Science MU

    Case studies in multimodal biomarker discovery

    Lecture Description

    High throughput genomic revolution started almost twenty years ago with the first in-house printed DNA chips. Since then, various technologies evolved, allowing the interrogation of the whole (human) genome, proteome, metabolome, etc., all producing large amounts of data. Bioinformatics tools and methods evolved to account for all these data modalities with the current bottleneck being the integration of these perspectives into a more comprehensive picture. In parallel and completely independent of bioinformatics, digital pathology also witnessed significant advances fuelled mostly by technological developments: slide scanners and computational infrastructure. However, both “classical” bioinformatics and digital pathology/bioimaging are often used to investigate the same biological phenomenon. It is, therefore, natural to attempt to combine these two seemingly incompatible fields with the hope of unveiling new connections between them. In this talk we will look at three examples of jointly mining the transcriptome and the histopathology images in the context of breast and colon cancers. We will also discuss the computational challenges one faces when working with these data.

    Public talk within a Habilitation procedure

  •   16. 2. 2018, 11:00, D3

    Prof. Daniel Kráľ

    University of Warwick, UK

    Models of Large Networks

    Lecture Description

    A graph is a mathematical model of a network of nodes, which can be, e.g., a computer network or a social network. Problems concerning networks of enormous sizes, which more and more often arise in computer science applications, led to a need to find new mathematical tools to represent and analyze large graphs. The theory of graph limits, whose foundations were laid at Microsoft Research about a decade ago, has responded to these challenges by developing analytic models of large graphs.

    We will provide a brief self-contained introduction to the theory of graph limits, which will be followed by the exposition of the most major lines of research. We will conclude with presenting solutions of some of the most significant open problems in the area.

Past lectures


  •   10. 11. 2017, 9:00, Mendel Museum, Refectory of Augustinian Abbey (Mendlovo nám. 1a, Brno)

    Prof. Juraj Hromkovič

    Department of Computer Science, ETH Zurich

    Teaching mathematics and computer science as research instruments

    Lecture Description

    We view mathematics as a language that was and is developed in order to describe what is describable in an unambiguous way (everybody mastering this language interprets each sentence in the same way) and in order to have a language in which the correctness of each argumentation is verifiable. Together with experiments mathematics became the main research instrument for discovering our world. In this talk we present the history of the development of mathematics and computer science in a concise way and recognize that the main contributions of science are not in discovering facts, but in introducing new concepts that increase the power of our research instruments. Finally, we discuss why and how we have to change our education in mathematics and science that is still living in a more than 100 years old world of technical revolution. The main idea is based on moving from teaching long time optimized and finalized products of scientific work as facts, relationships and methods to teaching the processes of the development of research instruments and of making discoveries. The main goal is to force the intellectual growth of young people, to motivate them to strive to understand and to be creative.

    MU Seminar Series

  •   3. 10. 2017, 14:00, D2

    Mgr. Jan Obdržálek, Ph.D.

    FI MU

    Digraph Width Measures

    Lecture Description

    Treewidth, defined by Robertson and Seymour, proved to be an extremely successful graph parameter. Intuitively, it measures how much tree-like a given graph is. Many problems which are NP-hard on general graphs become tractable on graphs of low treewidth. However treewidth quickly hits its limits once we try to apply it to directed graphs. Directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), on which many problems have simple efficient algorithms, can have arbitrarily high treewidth. Naturally one can ask whether there is a digraph width measure with all the nice properties of treewidth. In this talk we first quickly survey some of the known digraph width measures, and then try to answer the question whether there indeed is a good directed counterpart to treewidth.

    Public talk within a Habilitation procedure

  •   2. 5. 2017, 14:00, D2

    Ing. RNDr. Barbora Bühnová, Ph.D.

    FI MU

    Quality-Driven Software Architecture Design

    Lecture Description

    Software architecture design is one of the key activities in any software engineering process. The decisions made during software architecture design have significant implications for economic and quality goals related to the developed software product. To better guide the software architect along the design process and prevent an evaluation of an enormous number of design alternatives, various architectural tactics have been introduced. Generally, these tactics are designed to improve a specific quality attribute, but often declare an additional cost in terms of degrading the architecture with respect to other quality attributes. It is the task of the software architect to evaluate various solutions and determine a good trade-off between all existing quality and cost goals. In this lecture, we discuss the concepts that make up the field of quality-driven software architecture design. We will focus on the basics, best practices, as well as the challenges that are currently studied by the research community.

    Public talk within a Habilitation procedure