Aarhus Universitets segl

Mogens Nielsen is now emeritus professor

On January 31 Professor Mogens Nielsen resigned from his position at Aarhus University, and will in future be affiliated with the Department of Computer Science as emeritus professor.

Professor Emeritus Mogens Nielsen. Photo: Lise Balsby, Aarhus University

A glorious career came to an end when Mogens Nielsen resigned from his position as professor at Department of Computer Science at the end of January. A position he has held since 2004, however, Mogens Nielsen's career at the Department of Computer Science started already in 1973, where he - with Brian Mayoh as his supervisor - graduated with a Master's degree in computer science and Mathematics. Three years later, he obtained his PhD degree and was employed as associate professor in computer science only a year after. Computer science was at that time a department at the Institute of Mathematics and known under the acronym DAIMI.

Mogens Nielsen's field of research is mathematical models for advanced IT systems. His research is particularly focussed on the increasing inclusion of IT-systems as an integrated and natural part of our everyday life, while the systems' functionalities simultaneously become more and more complex. Mogens Nielsen works with techniques that can be used to analyse and control the correctness and reliability of IT-systems. Most recently, he has focussed on alternative types of data security in advanced IT, which in the future will be integrated into buildings, vehicles, etc.

The PhD program has always been close to Mogens Nielsen’s heart. During the period from 1997 to 2007, he was director of the BRICS International PhD graduate school in Computer Science founded by the Danish National Research Foundation. When BRICS ended, Mogens Nielsen was appointed Chairman of Science and Technology’s graduate school. A position he held until 2011.

"Mogens Nielsen's 15-years of efforts as manager of PhD activities at BRICS and the Faculty of Natural Sciences have left permanent and substantial marks. It was first and foremost Mogens Nielsen's achievement that the Danish National Research Foundation in 1997 decided to award BRICS a significant grant for expanding the research activities with an international graduate school. Under his competent leadership a systematic recruitment process of international PhD students was initiated, and he was part of establishing a significant guest program for international researchers, which in addition student guidance contributed to a dynamic programme of PhD courses. 

The best experiences from the systematisation of the BRICS PhD programs were transferred to AGSOS, Aarhus Graduate School of Science, which Mogens became manager of in 2007. Here he had the responsibility for expanding the PhD program to include not only the 4+4 program but also a 3+5 program (the number 8 can be calculated in many ways). Furthermore, he played a central role - in cooperation with managers of the other faculties’ PhD programs - in expanding the concept of a graduate school to the entire university," says Erik Meineche Schmidt, former associated centre director at BRICS and Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Mogens continued his career at Science and Technology, as he was appointed Vice-Dean for Research in 2013. As Vice-Dean for Research he was in charge of strengthening and developing the faculty’s research activities, as well as its’ interests within research both nationally and internationally. Moreover, he became a member of the management team at ST.

"One of the first things I did as dean was to appoint Mogens Nielsen as Vice-Dean for Research. The decision was made on the basis of Mogens Nielsen's well-documented qualifications as a strong researcher, skilled manager and experience within the Danish and international world of funding," says Dean Niels Christian Nielsen. And he continues: "It has been an great pleasure to work closely together with Mogens Nielsen.  If any he combines a profound academic insight, political flair and administrative talent. Together with Mogens' always friendly manner, pragmatic sense and focus on the ball, I can say that Mogens Nielsen as Vice-Dean for Research has made a tremendous effort for the research conducted at Science and Technology and the entire Aarhus University. "

For several years Mogens Nielsen has held a range of national and international honorary positions. Until 2006 he was member of the Board of the Danish Council for Independent Research and former chairman of the Danish Natural Science Research Council. Moreover, he was President of EATCS, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science from 2002-2006. Since 2011, Mogens Nielsen has been a member of an academic panel under the European Research Council.

Lars Birkedal, Head of Department at Department of Computer Science, states: “I would like to give a special thank you to Mogens Nielsen for his many years of invaluable efforts for the Department of Computer Science. Mogens has contributed immensely in so many areas; with excellent teaching and research in models of concurrency, with the establishment and management of the BRICS center that really placed the Department of Computer Science on the international map, with development of the PhD program at Computer Science and AU, and with participation in numerous councils and boards related to research in Denmark and Europe, etc. I would especially like highlight Mogens’ focus on international research cooperation, which has been and continues to be of extreme importance. “