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CIAS Inn: “Hungarian researchers can be found almost everywhere in the world” – interview with László Végh

2023-10-26 14:40:00

We spoke to László Végh, a Hungarian-born researcher and lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who is spending two months as a visiting professor at the Corvinus Institute of Advanced Studies this academic year.

Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

Mathematician László Végh has been teaching and researching in the Department of Mathematics at the London School of Economics and Political Science for 12 years. He came to CIAS on a non-resident scholarship, so he will spend a total of two months in Budapest in the 2023/2024 academic year.  

He completed his PhD at the ELTE Mathematics PhD program, and then spent two years in the United States on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. From there, it was a relatively direct route to London, where he has been teaching and researching ever since. In his view, Hungarian universities are so strong in the natural sciences that Hungarian researchers can compete almost anywhere in the world with the training they receive here.  

“In my field, there are many excellent researchers working in Hungary, and I keep in touch with them from London, and from time to time I try to return home and work with them personally. I am therefore very happy about this scholarship from CIAS,” says the researcher.  

László Végh, a theorist of mathematical optimisation theorist, is currently working on understanding and solving linear complementarity problems with his Hungarian co-researchers. As a researcher, one of his important previous achievements has been the development of an algorithm for a network optimization problem, the so-called travelling salesperson optimisation problem.  

“I was trying to find a solution to the problem where a salesperson wants to visit all the cities in a country with the shortest possible travel time and route. This problem is known to many applied fields, including chip design and genetics.” – explains the researcher.  

He is currently on a one-year sabbatical from his job in London, so he does not need to teach this academic year. He tries to use the time freed up to do intensive research and networking, for which he believes the CIAS grant provides an excellent basis.  

“Teaching in London also means a constant workload during the academic year, which of course makes it harder to progress with research, as at least half of the working time is taken up with preparing for and teaching classes.” – he also mentions the challenges of reconciling research and teaching. Even so, he is still very happy with the working conditions in London, as he is aware that he would have a much heavier teaching load at a Hungarian university. This is why he considers the Corvinus CIAS Institute a good initiative, where academic experts dedicated to research in a certain line can focus exclusively on that particular field.  

László Végh lives in London with his wife and three children. His children were all born in the UK capital, and go to school and nursery there. Therefore, although he would like to stay in Hungary for longer periods at a time, he could only commit to shorter stays in Budapest for family logistics reasons. He also spends most of his free time with his five, eight and ten-year-old children, visiting Budapest or the countryside when they are at home, and he and his family also spend a lot of time roaming the streets of London.  

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GEN.:2024.04.18. - 07:49:33