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Heidelberg chapter’s field trip to IBM Research in Zurich

After an exciting year in 2012, we started our 2013 activities with a great field trip to the IBM global research lab in Zurich, Switzerland. Because mathematical and computational sciences play a key role in the lab’s research program, it was an ideal destination for our chapter’s field trip.


At 5:15 a.m., twenty (still tired) chapter members met at the IWR Heidelberg. Thanks to the generous support of SIAM and the Heidelberg Graduate School MathComp, we were able to charter a bus that took us to Rüschlikon near Zurich. Karin Vey, executive briefing manager, warmly welcomed us with coffee and cake in IBM’s impressive visitor centre with its exhibitions of past and current IBM technology. In comfortable conference facilities, the scientific program started with three presentations from IBM researchers. After a general overview on the lab’s research activities, talks on integer programming and simulation-based assembly systems optimization concluded the first part of the workshop.

After lunch in the on-site cafeteria, three of our members contributed to this exchange with talks on integer optimal control, experimental design, and simulation of subdiffusive transport.  Intermittent coffee breaks left ample opportunity for further questions and discussions. The final presentation, given by Moshe Rappoport, was a “Global Technology Outlook” that gave interesting insights into the direction of future developments at IBM. Last but not least, we got a glance of the newly constructed nanotech centre.

At 5.30 p.m., we left for Zurich and met for a joint dinner in the historic city centre where the lively dialogue from the day continued in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. Career opportunities were of particular interest and extensively discussed before taking the bus back to Germany where we arrived as an exhausted, but glad for the opportunity, group at around 1 a.m. the next day.

We thank IBM research Zurich for the invitation, the time, the hospitality and the dialogue with the Heidelberg Chapter of SIAM.

For more details and pictures, visit


IBM-2013-Zurich-13IBM-2013-Zurich-17 IBM-2013-Zurich-15

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