Volume 13, Number 7
31 October

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83rd Anniversary of the
Turkish Republic

Happy Republic Day!

Senior IE Student Selected to Be a
Microsoft Student Partner

The Microsoft Student Partner is an award given annually in recognition of students who have made outstanding contributions to the student technical community. Fevzi Çağrı Gökbayrak, a fourth year Industrial Engineering student, is the first Bilkent University student awarded a MSP.

With the help of the MSPs, Microsoft aims to connect with students in order to make them aware of new Microsoft technologies and to provide them with assistance. A MSP's main responsibilities are to answer questions about software technologies, software development tools and products, Microsoft certificates, Microsoft activities and conferences and generally, all questions about Microsoft.

Microsoft is also aiming to help students and academicians by involving them in, and sharing with them, studies and information about applications that are on the market or that Microsoft is developing which are intended for the academic world. Such studies and applications include supporting the use of Microsoft technologies and products in graduate and undergraduate lessons, making use of Microsoft platforms in graduate projects and research studies, increasing job opportunities after graduation and supporting the development and knowledge base of student clubs.
For more information visit the program's web page: http://www.msakademik.net
or email questions to: cagri@gokbayrak.net

Ankara Jazz Festival is Just
Around the Corner

The tenth Ankara International Jazz Festival, presented by the Ankara Jazz Association, will bring many remarkable musicians from Turkey and from around the world to our city this month.
The Festival will take place from November 15 to November 25, with concerts being held at the Bilkent University Concert Hall, the METU Culture and Congress Center, and the Hacettepe University Culture Center.
Ankara is not a city known for its music scene, so this festival is an event music lovers look forward to all year. These ten days are filled with pure jazz music and will hopefully, be enough to hold people over until the next festival a year later. Young jazz bands from Turkey will also be given the opportunity to perform at the festival. The bands attending will give workshops and attend jam sessions.
In addition, for the first time ever, there will be jazz and music related stands located in the festival area.
This year's artist roster is impressive, with acts like JP Gallis featuring Sibel Köse on vocals, the Esther Keiser Trio, Tuna Ötenel, and Claude Bolling featuring Şefika Kutluer. The festival is also honored with a very special guest, Charlie Haden, one of the most respected jazz bassists of our time. The night will be even more special, as the Liberation Music Orchestra and Carla Bley will back up Charlie Haden. This event is definitely something you will not want to miss! Go to the following website for the festival schedule and information on how to get tickets. www.acd.org.tr  
See you there!

Sera De Vor (AMER/II)

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Emre Alper Yıldırım Receives INFORMS Optimization Prize for Young Researchers

The Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) awarded a Bilkent IE member, Emre Alper Yıldırım, the Optimization Prize for Young Researchers in 2006. This annual prize is given to an esteemed and promising researcher who is at the beginning of his or her academic or industrial career for the most outstanding paper in optimization that is submitted to and accepted, or published in a refereed professional journal.
The award includes a cash amount of US $1,000 and a citation certificate. Dr. Yıldırım received his B.S. from Bilkent and his Ph.D. from Cornell University (USA). He is now an assistant professor in the Industrial Engineering Department at Bilkent.
Dr. Yıldırım received this award for his paper "On the minimum volume covering ellipsoid of ellipsoids" published in SIAM Journal on Optimization Vol. 17 (2006), pp. 621 - 641. The award committee described the contribution of this publication as presenting a novel polynomial-time algorithm for computing an approximation of the minimum volume covering ellipsoid of the convex hull of a given finite number of ellipsoids.
The paper generalizes previous results on covering a finite set of points by developing an innovative semi-definite programming formulation that leads to the surprising result that the asymptotic complexity of computing the ellipsoid-covering is the same as that for the point-covering, despite the very different topologies of these sets. With a fluid style and clear presentation, the paper also illustrates potential extensions to other input sets and forms a solid foundation for further studies in this area.
Dr. Yıldırım is invited to give a half an hour presentation of his award winning paper at the INFORMS Annual Meeting to be held in Pittsburgh, USA on November 5, 2006.

Atatürkçü Düşünce Topluluğu
Hosts Prominent Writers

This past week, just before the Bayram holiday, the Bilkent Atatürkçü Düşünce Topluluğu hosted a Republic Week where prominent writers gave talks and shared their ideas with students. The events started with a memorial ceremony for Ahmet Taner Kışlalı on the 19th of October.
The first talk was given by Mustafa Balbay, the Ankara representative for Cumhuriyet newspaper. While talking about the life of Atatürk, Balbay emphasized many times that Atatürk was an avid reader and he also added that the language makes the country, so we should take care of our language. (continues)

Also in this issue:

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Please submit your letters to bilnews@bilkent.edu.tr
or to the Communications Unit, Engineering Building, room EG-23, ext. 1487.
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