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CNR: Alamanacco della Scienza


N. 14 - 8 ott 2014
ISSN 2037-4801

International info   a cura di Cecilia Migali


Iciam Collatz: a Cnr researcher awarded

The International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics has announced that the 2015 Collatz Prize will be awarded to Annalisa Buffa, director of the Cnr-Institute for Applied Mathematics and Information Technologies (Imati) in recognition of her spectacular use of deep and sophisticated mathematical concepts to obtain outstanding contributions to the development of computer simulations in science and industry. The Collatz Prize was established to provide international recognition to individual scientists under 42 years of age for outstanding work in industrial and applied mathematics. It was created on the initiative of the Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (Gamm) and first awarded in 1999. Carrying a cash award of USD 5000, the Collatz Prize is presently funded by Gamm.

Buffa graduated in Computer Engineering at the University of Pavia in 1996, and got her PhD in Mathematics at the University of Milan, in 2000. In 2004 she became Research Director at the Institute for Applied Mathematics and Information Technologies (Pavia-Genoa-Milan), before becoming Director of the Institute in 2013.  She has received important grants, including an Erc Starting Grant in 2008, and prestigious awards, including the Bartolozzi Prize and the John Todd Fellowship Prize in 2007.

She has been able to bring fundamental contributions to a number of different aspects of scientific computing, with an incredible range both in the type of applications and in the type of mathematical instruments. One of her major achievements is the characterization of traces of vector fields for Sobolev spaces relevant in electromagnetics: these are found in a series of fundamental papers with Patrick Ciarlet. The Cnr researcher produced a complete characterization of the traces on the boundary of polyhedral domains.  This has been a breakthrough for the understanding of the integral equation formulation of electromagnetic scattering.

Another result was the construction with Snorre Christiansen of an optimal preconditioner for electromagnetic integral equations. This problem was open for a long time, and the result finally came thanks to the combination of mathematical knowledge and engineering conception that she had acquired over the years.  The preconditioner is already widely used in industrial practice.

In brief, the trademark of her work is the use of highly sophisticated mathematical techniques to produce fundamental breakthroughs that are applied to computer simulations in industry.

To read about the other prizes and awardees, please visit http://www.iciam.org/.