VCLA International Student Awards 2023 – Announcement

The 7th edition of the VCLA International Student Awards 2023 was concluded in June. Based on the international call for (self-)nominations, the award committee consisting of seventeen internationally recognized researchers announced one Outstanding Master Thesis Award and one Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award. As the decision on the Master Thesis Award was a close call, there is also an honorary mention of a runner-up in this category. The nominated degrees had to be awarded between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022 (inclusive).

The Outstanding Master Thesis Award

The Outstanding Master Thesis Award goes to Lydia Blümel (University of Leipzig) for her master thesis “Defining Defense in Abstract Argumentation from Scratch – A Generalizing Approach” under the supervision of Markus Ulbricht.


“I was introduced to the field of abstract argumentation by my supervisor, Markus Ulbricht, who took notice of my interest in graph theory during one of his seminars. I quickly got immersed in the diverse world of argumentation semantics with its elegant combination of non-monotonic reasoning and graph theory. One challenge I ran into while comparing existing semantics were the different backgrounds from which they stemmed. To proceed, I thought it necessary to find a generalized representation scheme for them which evolved into the central problem I put all my effort in. In my thesis, I came up with a solution that turned out to be natural, yet general enough to capture many semantics from the literature.”

After her graduation, Lydia is now pursuing a doctoral degree in Computer Science at FernUniversität in Hagen. Currently, she is mainly active in the field of Abstract Argumentation, but her research interests also include Graph Theory, Formal Argumentation in general, Tarskian Logics, Constructivism in Mathematics, and, as of lately, Computational Complexity. Together with Markus Ulbricht, Lydia has published in the conference proceedings of KR 2022.

A copy of her thesis is available here.


The Outstanding Master Thesis Award – Runner-up

There were many excellent submissions for Outstanding Master Thesis Award, which is why we would like to give an honorary mention of the runner-up for winner in this category: Vitor Rodrigues Greati (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte), master thesis “Hilbert-Style Formalism for Two-Dimensional Notions of Consequence” under the supervision of João Marcos.

“The notion of two-dimensional consequence relations, when introduced to me by my supervisor (João Marcos), attracted me for its elegance in expressing interactions between different logics and for its relation with inferential many-valuedness. The lack of a notion of logical basis or Hilbert axiomatization for such consequence relations was an important gap waiting to be filled, and I got very excited to work on that. In view of the works of my co-supervisor (Sergio Marcelino) on analytic Hilbert systems for multiple-conclusion logics, we also noticed that alongside the two-dimensional Hilbert formalism we could provide (in fact, generate) two-dimensional systems appropriate for automated reasoning for a multitude of two-dimensional many-valued logics, what considerably increased my motivation. Finally, the goal of implementing the involved procedures to aid research in this field made the project even more attractive to me.”

Vitor is currently a PhD student at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) under the supervision of Revantha Ramanayake, working on decidability and complexity of substructural logics via proof theory. His main research interests are proof theory and computational properties of logical systems, with focus on many-valued and substructural logics, as well as abstract notions of logic and abstract algebraic logic.

A copy of his thesis is available here.


The Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award

The Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award goes to Barbora Šmahlíková (Brno University of Technology) for her undergraduate thesis “Next Generation of Rank-Based Algorithms for Omega Automata” under the supervision of Ondřej Lengál.


“I started with the research in the second year of my bachelor’s degree. I didn’t know much about automata theory back then, so I left the choice of my topic to my supervisor. My only requirement was that I wanted to do something related to theoretical informatics and mathematics because that’s what I always enjoyed. The topic chosen by my supervisor was complementation of Büchi automata. I didn’t know what to expect and spent a couple of months reading articles and studying this topic. After that, I was ready to come up with some new ideas for the complementation algorithm. I find this topic very interesting and even though I didn’t know what to expect at first, I dived deeply into it really fast.”

Barbora has recently received the Czech Republic’s Government Award for Gifted Students and is now in the second year of a Master’s degree at the Faculty of Information Technology, Brno University of Technology, in the program Mathematical Methods. Her research focuses mainly on developing and optimizing algorithms for omega automata.

A copy of her thesis is available here.


The VCLA International Student Awards

Helmut Veith, Co-Founder of VCLA

The annually awarded VCLA International Student Awards for Outstanding Undergraduate and Master Theses in Logic and Computer Science recognize and support students all over the world at the beginning of their scientific career in the field of logic in computer science.
The awards entail an invitation to the award ceremony (depending on the current COVID-19 situation) and a monetary prize from the fund of €2000. The VCLA Awards are dedicated to the memory of Helmut Veith, a brilliant computer scientist who tragically passed away in March 2016, and aim to carry on his commitment in promoting young talent and promising researchers in these areas.

The VCLA Award Committee 2023


The Former Awardees

  • Tuukka Korhonen (University of Helsinki): Finding Optimal Tree Decompositions
  • Jasper Slusallek (Saarland University): Algorithms and Lower Bounds for Finding (Exact-Weight) Subgraphs of Bounded Treewidth
  • Karolina Okrasa (Warsaw University of Technology): Complexity of variants of graph homomorphism problem in selected graph classes
  • Antonin Callard (ENS Paris-Saclay): Topological analysis of represented spaces and computable maps, cb0 spaces and non-countably-based spaces
  • Martín Muñoz (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile): Descriptive Complexity for Counting Complexity Classes
  • Alexej Rotar (TU München): The Satisfiability Problem for Fragments of PCTL
  • Tomáš Lamser (Masaryk University): Algorithmic Analysis of Patrolling Games
  • Jeremy Liang An Kong (Imperial College London): MCMAS-Dynamic: Symbolic Model Checking Linear Dynamic Logic
  • Felix Dörre (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology): Verification of Random Number Generators
  • Valeria Vignudelli (University of Bologna): The Discriminating Power of Higher-Order Languages: A Process Algebraic Approach
  • Maximilian Schleich (Oxford University): Learning Regression Models over Factorised Joins
  • Pablo Muñoz (University of Chile): New Complexity Bounds for Evaluating CRPQs with Path Comparisons
  • Kuldeep S. Meel (Rice University): Sampling Techniques for Boolean Satisfiability
  • Luke Schaeffer (University of Waterloo): Deciding Properties of Automatic Sequences
  • Sophie Spirkl (University of Bonn): Boolean Circuit Optimization

See the full list here

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