Fellow Marco Ragni Departs DIAS

After a little over a year in Denmark, Professor Marco Ragni is ending his fellowship at The Danish Institute for Advanced Study and returning to Germany for a full professorship.

By Rikke Ulvedahl Carlsen, Student Assistant

When Marco Ragni first arrived in the summer of 2020 the country was in a hiatus between pandemic waves. During this time, he got a chance to enjoy the facilities of the DIAS House and socialize with the affiliates over a coffee break. However, when the virus flared up in the fall and another national lockdown was subsequently implemented, the working day once again went form 3D to 2D.

“I am very sorry, that Marco spent most of his time in virtual meetings in DIAS, but I am very pleased to hear from Marco that he has had many inspiring interactions with researchers in DIAS in discussions of ideas and with feedback on talks. I am convinced that Marco has made strong ties to DIAS and will remain in close contact with SDU in his new position.”

DIAS Director Marianne Holmer

Regardless, Marco Ragni’s research has prospered during his fellowship, at which he has gained valuable insights and inspiration to his future academic endeavors. He has moved more and more towards computational thinking, where his mentor Nina Bonderup Dohn has helped him getting settled practically as well as scientifically and inspired him for interesting great new research lines in algorithmic thinking. He is very grateful for all the many ideas, discussions, projects, and insights he gained from Ninas enthusiastic way of research. She herself expresses gratitude towards Marcos time at DIAS:

“I would like to thank Marco for his great contributions during his time with us, both to the interdisciplinary discussions at DIAS and to advancing the field of computational thinking at Center for Learning Computational Thinking (anchored at Department of Design and Communication), locally, nationally and internationally. Marco’s research focus on cognition, algorithmic thinking and computer modelling, and his breadth of perspectives which synthesizes cognitive science and computer science, have allowed him to combine rigor and creative approaches to the study of cognition, to the benefit of us all. I wish Marco all the best in his further career and look forward to continuing the collaboration with him in his new position as Full Professor.”

It’s especially the interdisciplinarity of the institute that drew him to DIAS in the first place. With a keen interest in understanding the human mind and how computational and cognitive systems can model human thinking, Marco Ragni exerts methods from neuroscience, psychology, cognitive AI as well as machine learning, and values inspiration from other research areas than his own. As scientists generally tend to stick to their departments and focus on the similarly disposed, the open environment at DIAS has been especially fruitful:

“Not only has it inspired collaborations, but it has put me into a specific new direction which I have not taken before.”

As Marco states,

“I am not going light-heartily as I enjoyed so much `the meeting of minds’ at DIAS, the discussions of any form of research over a hot pot of coffee and so many memorable talks. While the new position is a great new adventure, I am grateful for all the inspiring possibilities, excellence, and so amazing moments that only DIAS could make possible.”

He is proud to stay an external fellow of DIAS and will continue to meet and research with the DIAS fellows.