On January 6th, 2020, Dr. Bin CHEN [陈斌] of Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and Hefei University of Technology [合肥工业大学] gave hold research talk Multidimensional Modulation Formats for High Speed Optical Communications [面向高速光通信的多维度调制技术] at 15:30 in our meeting room 920 in our office building 53 [合肥学院53 栋920]. Today, the internet is a vital part of the infrastructure and subject to an ever-rising demand for bandwidth, much of which is routed through optical-fiber based connections. In his highly interesting talk, Dr. Chen discussed the limits of this technology and how we can push them further. If our national and international network connectivity can keep growing and improving in the future, one of the reasons may well be the work of Dr. Chen, which won two best paper awards. Thanks for this great talk!

Our friends from the Nevergrad and the IOHprofiler are organizing the Open Optimization Competition 2020 and welcome contributions.

Nevergrad is an open source platform for derivative-free optimization developed by Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, Paris, France. It contains a wide range of optimization algorithm implementations, test cases, supports multi-objective optimization, and handles constraints. It automatically updates results of all experiments merged in the code base, hence users do not need computational power for participating and getting results. IOHprofiler is a tool for benchmarking iterative optimization heuristics such as local search variants, evolutionary algorithms, model-based algorithms, and other sequential optimization techniques. It has two components: the IOHexperimenter for running empirical evaluations and the IOHanalyzer for the statistical analysis and visualization of the experiment data. It is mainly developed by teams at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the Sorbonne University and CNRS in Paris, France, and the Tel Hai College in Israel.

This competition is part of the wider aim to build open-source, user-friendly, and community-driven platforms for comparing different optimization techniques. The key principles are reproducibility, open source, and ease of access. While some first steps towards such platforms have been done, the tools can greatly benefit from the contributions of the various communities for whom they are built. Hence, the goal of this competition is to solicit contributions towards these goals from the community.

Our team warmly congratulates Dr. Xinlu Li to his promotion to Associate Educator! This promotion is very well deserved and the result of seven years of continuous hard work and high performance as senior lecturer. Additionally, this year in February, Xinlu completed his PhD Degree at TU Dublin in Ireland and published a great article in an SCI/EI-indexed 2区 journal in August. Congratulations Xinlu!

Yesterday, on December 18, 2019, as a member of a small delegation from our Hefei University [合肥学院], I had the pleasure to participate in the Consultation Symposium and New Year Party for Foreign Experts [外国专家建言献策暨新年联谊会] of the Anhui province, organized by the Department of Science and Technology of the Anhui Province [安徽省科学技术厅], the Hefei Municipal Bureau of Science and Technology [合肥市科学技术局], and Anhui University [安徽大学].

On December 18, 2019, at the Consultation Symposium and New Year Party for Foreign Experts [外国专家建言献策暨新年联谊会], Prof. Dr. Thomas Weise was awarded the title Hefei Specially Recruited Foreign Expert [合肥市特聘外国专家证书] within the First Hefei Recruitment Program of Talented Foreigners [首批市"引进外国高端人才计划"] by the Hefei Municipal Bureau of Science and Technology [合肥市科学技术局], Hefei Municipal Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs [合肥市外国专家局].

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