Department of Informatics

Week-long honor for FPT pioneer Mike Fellows

Last week, the FPT Fest took place in honor of Mike Fellows; distinguished computer scientist and emeritus of The Department of Informatics.

MikeFest attendees standing in break area
Randi H Eilertsen, UiB

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This week-long conference brought together academics from around the world to celebrate and recognize Fellows' significant contributions to the field of parameterized complexity. He attended the conference along with his wife, Frances A. Rosamond, with whom he is also recognized for contributions to popular communication of computer science.

“We wanted to celebrate Mike's 70th birthday as well as his retirement from University of Bergen” says Professor Saket Saurabh, who organised the event along with Fedor Fomin and Pål Drange.

“We put in a lot of thought, and decided to organize an event that truly captures the versatility and generosity of Mike's – not only in developing the subject of Parameterized Complexity, but also in building a community around it – and represents that aspect of Mike's contribution to computer science. “

The event provided a platform for attendees to attend talks and mini symposia on FPT related topics, and to meet up with their peers from across the globe.

Wednesday was labeled “Mike’s day”; dedicated specifically to Mike Fellows and his remarkable achievements in the field. This day included an interactive session called "Computer Science Unplugged", demonstrating the opportunity to teach core concepts of computer science without requiring access to computers or complex technology.

As the day progressed, attendees were treated to a session filled with stories from Fellows' long and illustrious career. Colleagues and friends shared anecdotes and memories, offering insights into his work and personal journey.

The festivities culminated in a grand gala dinner in the evening, where attendees had the chance to eat, drink and celebrate Fellows' accomplishments in an atmosphere of academic camaraderie.

Mike Fellows speaking at dinner
Fedor Fomin

“Mike moving here and joining the University of Bergen as a full-time professor has given a huge boost to computer science research, not only in Bergen and Norway, but also in Europe,” says Pinar Heggernes, Prorector and Professor of computer science.

She and Mike have worked together at the university since Mike’s arrival in 2016, but they have known each other as academic peers for far longer.

“I have always been grateful for, impressed by, and learnt from his generosity in sharing his knowledge. So many young researchers, not only from parameterized complexity, but also from other fields, have visited Bergen thanks to his hospitality,” says Heggernes.

“Mike’s contributions to computer science are invaluable, and his legacy will always be evident at the University of Bergen.”

The FPT Fest not only honored Fellows but also served as a platform for researchers and professionals to exchange ideas, collaborate, and hopefully inspire further advancement in the field of parameterized complexity.

One of the organisers, Professor Fedor Fomin, says this of Fellows:

“Mike Fellows, a visionary leader and a true advocate of parameterized complexity, has dedicated his life to inspiring others and creating the field. With his unwavering passion and relentless pursuit of knowledge, he has paved the way for groundbreaking advancements and created a thriving community around the world. Through his tireless efforts, he has illuminated the path for countless researchers and inspired a new generation to push the boundaries of what is possible. The opportunity to celebrate Mike Fellows’ lifetime achievement by bringing together brilliant minds of parameterized complexity was the true inspiration for this event.”