SIAM News Blog

Congratulations to the 2024 SIAM Postdoctoral Support Program Recipients

SIAM is excited to announce four new researchers who will receive funding through the SIAM Postdoctoral Support Program, the second set of awardees in this newly established program. These early career professionals proposed a program of research collaboration with an established mentor in the SIAM community.

The SIAM Postdoctoral Support Program is made possible by gifts to the SIAM Postdoctoral Support Fund, which was established by Drs. Martin Golubitsky and Barbara Keyfitz. The program provides up to $15,000 in financial support for postdoctoral researchers to work with a mentor from a different institution. The goal is to foster direct research experience and professional development. Applications remain open on a rolling basis. If you’d like to make a contribution to the SIAM Postdoctoral Support Fund, please click here

If you have any questions about giving to SIAM or would like to learn more about the ways that your gift can make a difference, please contact Abby Addy, Director of Development and Corporate Relations.

Nicolás Barnafi, Center for Mathematical Modeling, University of Chile

Mentor: Massimiliano Lupo Pasini, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Nicolás Alejandro Barnafi Wittwer is a Chilean researcher at the Center of Mathematical Modeling, University of Chile. He is an industrial engineer with a diploma in mathematics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC), where he also received his master's degree in engineering sciences. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematical models and methods in engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milan, and has held several postdoc positions at the University of Milan, the University of Pavia, University of Chile, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Dr. Barnafi's research interests include porous media and numerical methods, especially if they are combined within a soft tissue modeling context. He has mainly contributed in cardiac modeling contexts, but he's also interested in finding further applications of these models. Outside the office, he is passionate about coffee, which he toasts and brews himself, and electric guitar music.

Dr. Barnafi has had a long-lasting and pandemic-proof relationship with SIAM as a member for the past 11 years. With his friends, he founded the SIAM Student Chapter at PUC, which at some point was the only SIAM Student Chapter in the southern hemisphere. He remains an active member of the SIAM community through conferences, having attended the 2016 SIAM Annual Meeting, and the 2021 and 2023 SIAM Conference on Mathematical & Computational Issues in the Geosciences, as well as published contributions to the SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences and the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics. Dr. Barnafi asserts that SIAM is a very important part of his career, and hopes to remain a part of the community for years to come.

Q: What was the research you proposed?

A: We would like to provide an efficient implementation of an iterative method known as Alternating Anderson Richardson, which is a top class method for solving large scale linear systems. We want to focus on open source implementations in widely used linear algebra libraries, so that our work can be leveraged by the community as quickly as possible. The method relies on the Anderson acceleration technique, my favorite iterative method, which in principle works for any kind of nonlinear fixed point iteration. If everything works as expected, we might break some paradigms and drive people away from the extremely established GMRES method to yield a general, robust, and efficient iterative method.

Q: How will this award help you achieve your career goals?

A: How will it not! This award will help me establish a collaboration with Massimiliano, who does incredible work. Additionally, he works at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which houses the best supercomputer on earth. Having the opportunity to work in such a wonderful place is honestly a privilege, and one that can greatly boost the talent that exists here in Chile. I am dreaming big and hope to find a way in which Chileans can formally contribute to the creation of knowledge in such a fantastic place. Additionally, we have made open access and open source one of the pillars of our proposal, so that not only will our work permeate beyond the barriers of costly journal subscriptions but will also allow me to work more intensely with colleagues doing low level software development. I am really looking forward to becoming part of these big efforts to accelerate science through community developments, so this is indeed a very unique opportunity.

Q: What do you most look forward to in working with your mentor?

A: Well, there are some obvious things, such as having the opportunity of working on very interesting research topics with a leader in the field; but I don’t think this is what I am looking forward to the most. I am more excited about sharing with a new colleague, whom I have found to be—in our few encounters—very witty, outgoing, and funny. Doing science is so much more motivating when it is done with great people, so I am looking forward to creating amazing memories with a great person. Everything else will be a corollary. I will also be surrounded by excellent people that I do not know, so I am very excited to extend my collaborations network in general.

Julia Lindberg, University of Texas at Austin

Mentor: Guido Montùfar, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Julia Lindberg is a R.H Bing Instructor in the mathematics department of the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the nonlinear algebra group at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. She graduated with a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) in May of 2022. Prior to her graduate studies, she received an M.S. in math and a B.S. in math and dance from UW. Her research is broadly in applied algebraic geometry and has focused on applications in statistics, optimization, and power systems engineering. She was the recipient of the John Nohel award for an outstanding thesis in applied math, the Excellence in Mathematical Research Prize, the Grainger Graduate Student Fellowship, and the Sarah and Dave Epstein Fellowship.

Q: What was the research you proposed?

A: Polynomial optimization has applications in many aspects of modern life. The objective of the proposed project is to develop an understanding of semidefinite relaxations to polynomial optimization problems using tools and algorithms in real algebraic geometry. In particular, we wish to further the theoretical understanding of topics in convex optimization and algebraic geometry with an eye towards applications in partially observable Markov decision processes, combinatorial optimization, and nearest point problems.

Q: How will this award help you achieve your career goals?

A: This award will help advance my future career goals of becoming a professor at a research university. Support through the SIAM Postdoctoral Support Program gives me the opportunity to expand my current research network and gain new expertise. Aside from the benefits of working directly with my mentor, Professor Montùfar, I am excited to take advantage of the exciting research environment at UCLA. 

Q: What do you most look forward to in working with your mentor?

A: I have met Professor Montùfar multiple times at various conferences and workshops where he has presented on exciting problems and results in his personal research. I am excited to have the opportunity to visit Professor Montùfar in person and collaborate with him on these problems.

Mattia Manucci, University of Stuttgart

Mentor: Serkan Gugercin, Virginia Tech

Dr. Mattia Manucci received his Ph.D. in mathematical sciences in February of 2023 at the Gran Sasso Science Institute. He then joined the research group of Dr. Benjamin Unger at the SimTech Cluster of Excellence, University of Stuttgart, in April of 2023. Dr. Manucci's research focuses on the development of Model Order Reduction (MOR) strategies for dynamical systems. Specifically, he is investigating the use of Contour Integral Methods based on Laplace transform as a reduction tool to efficiently and reliably deal with the control of dynamical stems used to model heat supply through local, climate-neutral feeds. His research interest also goes in the numerical linear algebra field, in particular to what is related to the study of eigenvalues and singular values optimization.

Q: What was the research you proposed?

A: We aim to construct a MOR framework for certain classes of parametric non-linear input-output systems, specifically addressing the approximation within finite time T or time windows ensuring error control and efficient computations. To reach our goal, we plan to combine the Volterra series, for the evaluation of the non-linear terms of the system, with Contour Integral Methods, for the evaluation of matrix function-vector products.

Q: How will this award help you achieve your career goals?

A: The contribution is twofold. First, it gives me the possibility to collaborate with a leading expert of MOR for dynamical systems on a problem at the frontier for this sector, which we aim to solve also by employing original techniques studied and developed during my Ph.D. Second, this is an opportunity to further expand my network, and hopefully, start new collaborations with the Virginia Tech scientific community, since my academic education and network was entirely developed in Europe.

Q: What do you most look forward to in working with your mentor?

A: I can't wait to collaborate in person with Professor Serkan Gugercin. From his reputation and the online meetings we had, I have no doubts that I will learn fundamental scientific tools for the development of my career, and have fun while investigating our research.

Abba Ramadan, University of Alabama

Mentor: Keith Promislow, Michigan State University

Dr. Abba Ramadan is a researcher in the field of applied mathematics, specializing in nonlinear partial differential equations and their applications. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 2022 and he is currently serving as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alabama. His research focuses on exploring the existence and stability of solitary waves, particularly in Schrödinger-type nonlinear partial differential equations and fluid dynamics. He recently expanded his interests to encompass the dynamic behavior of nonlinear optical systems.

Q: What was the research you proposed?

A: We are interested in the parametric nonlinear Schrödinger equation, which is a general model for parametrically forced surface waves and for pattern formation. For the defocusing regime, during my early visit to Dr. Promislow, we successfully derived a normal velocity equation that describes the evolution of curved dark-soliton fronts. The analysis presented in the recently accepted work provides a formal analysis of the bifurcation to curve lengthening. The goal of this proposal is to extend the collaboration to rigorously establish these findings.

Q: How will this award help you achieve your career goals?

A: This award holds immense significance in advancing my career goals, particularly in extending and strengthening my collaboration with Dr. Promislow, a renowned expert in the field. The financial support provided by the award will enable me to dedicate more time and resources to our collaborative research efforts. By fostering an extended and successful partnership with Dr. Promislow, I aim to delve deeper into the study of curvature flow transitions in dispersive systems.

Q: What do you most look forward to in working with your mentor?

A: I eagerly anticipate reconnecting with Dr. Promislow. My previous visit to Michigan State University was both enjoyable and intellectually enriching. Dr. Promislow is a down-to-earth, humble, and highly intellectual individual. Being in his company is always a delightful experience.

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