The Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), the Dutch research institute for mathematics and computer science, is located at Science Park Amsterdam. The CWI operates successfully in the areas where mathematics and computer science and basic and applied research meet and passes this knowledge on to the community. It also trains talented mathematics and computer science graduates to be professional researchers.
The CWI works together closely with companies, universities and major technological institutions at home and abroad. It was one of the founders of the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), a network currently involving over 12,000 researchers that promotes cooperation within the European research community and with European industry.
With 50 permanent research staff, 40 postdocs and 65 PhD students, the CWI lies at the heart of Dutch mathematics and computer science research. It provides a meeting place for researchers from all over the world and employs researchers of 25 to 30 different nationalities.
The strength of the CWI lies in its ability to identify new developments in mathematics and computer science, bring them to the Netherlands and pass on the expertise to science and industry, through publications, open source software and partnerships, and above all by having its researchers go on to work in industry and higher education. We have already supplied 170 professors, making the CWI by far the most successful training institution for professors in the Netherlands.
The CWI focuses on areas of mathematics and computer science that feed into one another – algorithmic mathematics for the purpose of modelling, analysis, simulation and optimization – and core computer science, such as complexity and algorithms, software technology and database architecture. This combination of research in the area where mathematics and computer science meet makes the CWI unique. This is a fertile research field that produces results which have widespread uses and are transferable.
Social issues inspire us to pose and study fundamental questions in research that in turn leads to envelope-pushing solutions to practical problems. The CWI computed the dimensions of the wings of the Fokker Friendship, for instance, and it was at the CWI that Python, the language in which Google is programmed and which was used to create the visual effects for the Star Wars films, was developed. The CWI was in at the birth of the Internet: cwi.nl is the oldest country domain name in the world. The CWI has applied combinatory algorithms to train movements on Netherlands Railways, enabling more frequent train services to be run on the existing rail network using the same rolling stock. The Netherlands Forensic Institute uses query and XML techniques developed by the CWI to explore hard drives that have been seized. The CWI’s new 3D visualization techniques enable medics to identify tumour cells more reliably. Boundary-pushing mathematics and computer science with concrete goals.
To enhance its position as an outstanding research institution still further, the CWI will be focusing its research in the coming years on four social issues so as to contribute to our understanding of such areas as health, climate, congestion, accessibility, security, service and efficiency.
• Earth and Life Sciences
• The data explosion
• Social logistics
• Software as a service