Contributed by HP Labs Bristol communications manager Lucy Feilen
HP Labs supported the first girls-only European Mathematical Olympiad, hosted at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, UK. It was the final math competition for European schoolgirls, (which also included Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the USA) challenging some of the best female teenage mathematicians in the world.
The European competition was inspired by the successful China Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad which has encouraged girls to develop their interest and skills in math. The 70 contestants from 19 countries in teams of four sat through two 4½ hour exams each with four problems. The winning team was from Poland, one point ahead of team Romania. The individual top score was shared by Pavlena Nenova of Bulgaria and Danielle Wang of the USA.
Miranda Mowbray, senior researcher for HP’s Cloud & Security Lab in Bristol, attended the event and gave a talk entitled ‘Faster Detection of attacks on computer networks’. A common problem in computer science is that you have a pattern and you want to find all the matches to this pattern in a large set of data items, and report back parts of the matches to the pattern. This kind of pattern matching is used, for example, to detect attacks on computer networks. The usual ways of solving this problem are very fast for small or simple patterns, but can take an impractically long time if the pattern is complicated. Mowbray and researchers from HP Labs Bristol and Princeton have found a way of doing this faster by turning the patterns into two-labelled graphs and then using these graphs to process the data.
Mowbray also shared with the girls the things that she wishes she had known about mathematics when she was at school. She commented: “It was brilliant! ... After the talk, two of the audience members told me they had no idea there were such interesting jobs in computer science.”
For more information about the EGMO visit:
BBC Coverage of the Event: