Hee-Kap Ahn (Computer Science & Engineering)
If we were to construct a hospital or a fire station in a modern city with complex topographical features, where would be the ideal location? Obviously, the optimal place would be central enough to be accessed from any angle of the city. However, the more complicated a metropolitan area is, the more difficult it is to locate such a central point. This is where computer algorithms come in: algorithms designed to provide logical solutions to calculation problems will enable computers to discover the most accessible point – regardless of point of origin – to ultimately determine the most favorable place for civic architectures.
The Algorithms Lab or ALGO Lab directed by Professor Hee-Kap Ahn at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, POSTECH, aims to become most accurate and expedient in designing algorithms that solve optimization problems arising in industrial or academic settings. As evidenced in the fact that Google became what it is today based upon its single search algorithm known as PageRank two decades ago, algorithms are undoubtedly recognized as the key enabler behind the development of the software industry. From urban designing to effective route planners, algorithms play an indispensable role in a broad spectrum of computer-based technologies.
The ALGO Lab has recently been focused on algorithms that analyze the optimal routes within areas containing obstacles. One key use for such an algorithm is in identifying the quickest and most energy-efficient route to a prescribed destination in a real-life scenario laden with obstacles. Algorithms capable of making precise calculations within obstructed areas are essential for the swift movement of drones or robots in real-life situations.
Algorithm research holds the potential to improve performance hundreds of thousands of times or more without even increasing computer performance. Researchers at the Lab have recently developed an algorithm to find the center of different polygons as quickly as possible, and demonstrated that nothing was on par to this approach in further improving the speed. Essentially, when it comes to the ability to locate the center of a polygon, there is no speedier method in existence, even if the performance of computers were to improve.
The ALGO Lab, unlike other labs at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is oriented towards theoretical research. In lieu of ultra-high-speed computers, the Lab is proudly equipped with well-trained students, exceptional in mathematical ability. “Competing to create superior algorithms that address universal issues at hand can be compared to a marathon-like race”, Professor Ahn commented, and went on to say “The spirit of exploration that drives long-term thinking and deduction is the most critical asset here, not simply producing flash-in-the-pan outcomes that dazzle society for mere moments in time”.
Head of Lab
Science Building Ⅱ 208