16 November 2018
IMDEA Networks organized a two-part event celebrated on November 13th, in which ninety students from the Madrid secondary schools IES Diego Velázquez and IES León Felipe participated.
The first part of the event consisted of a talk by Rafael García, a Research Engineer at IMDEA Networks, under the heading “P=NP, the million dollar problem. An efficient algorithm to solve all mathematical problems?”. Considered one of today’s most difficult mathematical and computing challenges, (one of the so-called “problems of the millennium” whose solution is rewarded with one million US dollars), the P=PN problem served as a conduit to explain the importance of finding solutions to mathematical challenges and how impactful these findings can be on our everyday lives.
The second part of the event consisted of a workshop about algorithms, where the children had the opportunity to solve many fun puzzles such as “Travelling Salesman”, “8 Queens”, “Quick Sorting” or “Tower of Hanoi”, as well as learn how computers solve this type of problems. The experience brought the students in direct contact with a team of IMDEA Networks researchers, engineers and PhD students, who helped the children along the process of discovery and explained the scientific concepts related to every game.
It was a rewarding experience for the IMDEA Networks team to bring young minds into direct contact with science and research and to challenge their assumptions about subjects commonly considered difficult instead of challenging and fun. We hope to have had a positive impact on their perception of the scientific world and to have piqued their curiosity to know more.
The XVIII Science and Innovation Week of Madrid takes place from 5 to 18 November. Organized by the madri+d Foundation for Knowledge, this scientific dissemination event brings together over 600 institutions across the Madrid Region, involving 3000 scientists in the organization of about 1000 free events, with the aim to actively involve citizens in science, technology and innovation activities.