Tim Kemp wins the ENIAC Thesis Award 2019 – 2020!

On September 12, 2021 Tim Kemp has received the ENIAC Thesis Award 2019-2020 for his thesis titled “An algorithmic approach to a conjecture of Chvátal on toughness and hamiltonicity of graphs”. A delegation of the ENIAC board visited Tim at home to hand over the big cheque (worth €500,-) and the physical trophy.

The jury consisted of Meike Nauta, Rom Langerak (FMT) and Pieter-Tjerk de Boer (DACS). They scored all nominated theses on a number of criteria:

  • Scientific approach
  • Practical approach (“engineering approach”)
  • Difficulty of research
  • Readability and usability of thesis to specialists and computer scientists in general
  • Benefits of research / development for greater good

The jury had the following to say:

The jury had the pleasure to consider and discuss three excellent master theses. All addressing relevant topics, though very different in nature, showing how broad and diverse computer science and its related field Business&IT can be. The jury was genuinely impressed by the quality of the nominations. After assessing the theses on scientific approach, practical approach, level of difficulty, readability and relevance of research, the jury unanimously selected Tim Kemp as the winner of the ENIAC thesis award 2019-2020!

The title of the thesis, “An algorithmic approach to a conjecture of Chvátal on toughness and hamiltonicity of graphs”, might sound complex and difficult, but Tim managed to introduce and explain the mathematical jargon in an accessible way with clear examples and figures. He took up a complex and highly theoretical topic, and combined it with a novel algorithmic approach and evolutionary algorithms. He therefore used computer science in an original way. His approach was thorough, systematic and methodologically sound. He also critically reflected upon his own approach and suggested various promising directions for future work.

Tim developed three efficient pieces of software, which were used to validate known solutions from literature, but have also led to new theoretical insights. His thesis showed that the research to find a specific type of graph by hand “does not have to be continued”. This is a perfect example of the relevance of computer science when tasks get too complicated to do by hand and head. As his supervisor summarizes it: “The new approach developed by Tim can in principle lead to new breakthroughs and have potentially high impact in the Graph Theory community.

Congratulations Tim!

Tim was nominated by the FMT group. Besides Tim, the other nominees were:

  • Valentine Legoy (SCS) – Retrieving ATT&CK tactics and techniques in cyber threat reports
  • Dico Defize (BIT) – Developing a Maturity Model for AI-Augmented Data Management

We would like to thank the departments for the nominations and the jury for reading and grading the theses. We wish all nominees the best of luck with their future careers!