Since the first of October 2016 I am a member of Yachay Tech, a new university in Ecuador. Currently I am the dean of the school of Mathematical Sciences and Information Technology. The university just published an interview article about me written by Maria Caridad Bermeo.
The first scientific meeting that I have been able to attract to Yachay is a Cimpa Summerschool on Algorithmic Nonsmooth Optimization for September 19-28. Nonsmoothness is my current hobby horse as described in some detail on the page Research Interests.
Here is a short CV resume16.
My creative heroes. For the last 12 years I have worked in academic environments that have turned the quest for excellence into a ritualized mantra. Increasingly often the claim to ones own superiority is based on one of the growing number of individual performance indices. Okay, as a vain old man I have regularly stooped to looking at “my” numbers and comparing them to those of who I consider my peers, especially the not so friendly competition. But if I was asked who really was creative in my life time I would nominate a bunch of autodidactic guys who hold no academic degrees of any kind and whose H factor is and will remain zero forever. Here they are:
- Dick Fosbury defied thousands of years of athletic practice and the good advice of every coach he ever met by jumping backward over the bar, winning the olympic gold medal in in 1968. From a modeling and optimization point of view it is clear that there can be no continuous path from the classical straddle or the scissor kick to the Fosbury flop that does not travel through large regions of infeasibility. Some of those intermediate jump strategies would certainly leave the jumper dead in the ground. So we are talking serious global and structural optimization by the mechanical engineering sophomore Fosbury.
- Jimmy Hendrix revolutionized the electric guitar without any formal music training. Never learned the conventional music notation, which is actually pretty useless for the guitar. My favorite song is Red House. He is up there with Johann Sebastian Bach.
- Matt Groening came of with Life in Hell, which I found extremely funny and then the Simpsons. You can google as much as I about him. Again, not much of a formal education. A lot more interesting than Goethe to me.
- Julian Assange should be released by the British poodles and offered Head of Computer Science at Yachay Tech. Too bad his many publications are not indexed.
Please note that three are Northamericans, who benefited from the cultural and economic free-for-all environment, while for example in Germany everybody was looking over their shoulders to check what the professors and other authorities were claiming to be serious and of acceptably high culture.