Eike Best – Professional Profile
Research and Teaching Interests. For many years, I have been interested in the formal theory of concurrent systems and programs, more specifically in their semantics, verification, model checking, in efficient algorithms, and in modelling parallel systems by Petri nets, process calculi, or transition systems. More recently, especially through the fruitful cooperation with my good friend Philippe Darondeau (who unfortunately passed away not long ago), my interests have focussed on the synthesis of concurrent systems. In this area, I discovered many challenging, still open, problems of a mathematical nature. In particular, I would like to gain a fuller understanding of the notion of `real' distributability, a question that has recently been raised by a variety of researchers. My short-term interests include the partial characterisation of Petri net representable transition systems as well as the discovery of algorithms and results for the purpose of improving automatic system synthesis and pre-synthesis. I am happy to cooperate with Raymond Devillers, amongst others, on these topics, and it is also my cherished privilege to supervise a small group of excellent, highly motivated young students in my group. I also enjoy travelling, and welcoming visitors, for the purpose of scientific exchange. Throughout my career, I have also liked teaching students. Recently, I have set myself the task of producing an extensive and comprehensive set of slides for the two basic theory modules in Oldenburg, covering logic, automata theory, formal languages, and complexity. The idea is to make these slides very clear and readable, but also complete, in the sense that any supporting lecture notes could be viewed as non-compulsory (but, of course, welcome), additional material.
Research Projects. During my employment at the Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung and at the University of Hildesheim, I became Principal Investigator of two large Esprit Basic Research projects funded by the EU, named DEMON (Design Methods Based on Nets) and CALIBAN (Causal Calculi Based on Nets). Besides producing a multitude of scientific results, these projects helped in promoting the careers of several bright young students, whose names are by now well-known in the field, such as, amongst others, Javier Esparza, Hanna Klaudel, and Luca Bernardinello. Since these times, I have continuously been awarded various research grants from DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), from Volkswagenstiftung (supporting a cooperation with Irina Virbitskaite from the Siberian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk), and from DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) for cooperation with the groups of Maciej Koutny in Newcastle upon Tyne, and Hanna Klaudel and Elisabeth Pelz in Paris. Presently, I am engaged in the DFG Research Training Group SCARE and in two DFG projects, CAVER (a fairly loose cooperation between Oldenburg, Novosibirsk, Berlin, Dortmund, and Trier), and ARS (Algorithms for Re-Engineering and Synthesis). In the end, I must admit that I favour the `small is beautiful' idea, enjoying very much the voluntary cooperation inherent in such an approach, rather than taking part in large conglomerations of different research groups.
Publications. At the present time, I am still actively involved in obtaining and publishing original scientific research results. For example, I regularly contribute (sometimes – but not always – as an invited speaker) to conferences such as ATPN, CONCUR and LATA, and I submit papers to scientific journals. In the past, I have (co-) authored several monographs and textbooks, for instance, Petri Net Algebra in Springer-Verlag (2001; with Raymond Devillers and Maciej Koutny), Semantics of Sequential and Parallel Programs in Prentice Hall (1996), and Nonsequential Processes: A Petri Net View in Springer-Verlag (1988; with César Fernández). I have also written various lecture notes (mostly in German) which I would like to edit, time permitting, as online publications.
Other Professional Activities. I have been a member of the Working Group 2.2 Formal Description of Programming Concepts of IFIP's Technical Committee 2 (from 1987), of the CONCUR Steering Committee (1990 – 2013), and of many program committees, doctoral committees, and search committees. I have also often served as a reviewer for journals, for research applications, and as a member of national and international research evaluation commissions. Moreover, I have given several invited talks on conferences and workshops, and I have recently been invited as a contributor to various Festschrifts for colleagues (R. Devillers, P.S. Thiagarajan, U. Montanari, A. Mazurkiewicz, W. Vogler). Locally, I have done my share of administrative work. In Hildesheim, I led the Computer Science group for some time. Some fifteen years ago, I was an active supporter and promoter of the Bologna changes at the University of Oldenburg, even if I am presently not unconditionally happy about the actual realisations of these reforms. At that time, I served as the Dean of Fakultät 10 (Informatik) of the University of Oldenburg, and later, when some faculties were merged, I also held the position of the Director of the Department of Computing Science. Presently, I am a member of two selection committees for the admission of students to MSc curricula offered by the department.
Dated: May 2016.