SIAM News Blog

Prize Spotlight: Pierre Lairez

The 2017 SIAG/Algebraic Geometry Early Career Prize was awarded to Dr. Pierre Lairez of Inria Saclay Île-de-France, France, on August 2, 2017 at the SIAM Conference on Applied Algebraic Geometry (AG17) at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Dr. Lairez is a research associate in the Inria Team Specfun, whose area is Symbolic Special Functions; Fast and Certified. He received his PhD in Mathematics from École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, in 2014. His research focuses on the design of algorithms to perform exact computation with functions governed by linear differential equations, as they appear in combinatorics, algebraic geometry, and physics.

The SIAM Activity Group on Algebraic Geometry (SIAG/AG) honors Dr. Lairez for his paper, "A Deterministic Algorithm to Compute Approximate Roots of Polynomial Systems in Polynomial Average Time," which represents the final step in the resolution of Smale's 17th problem. The paper was published in Foundations of Computational Mathematics in 2016. Dr. Lairez presented a lecture, “A Brief History of Smale’s 17th Problem,” after accepting the SIAG/AG Early Career Prize at AG17.  

This is the first award of the SIAG/AG Early Career Prize. Every two years it will be awarded and the recipient will give a lecture at the Applied Algebraic Geometry conference. The prize recognizes an outstanding early career researcher in the field of algebraic geometry and its applications, for distinguished contributions to the field in the three calendar years prior to the award year. 

SIAG/AG Chair Agnes Szanto (left) and Vice-Chair Jan Draisma (right) present the SIAG/AG Early Career Prize to Pierre Lairez of Inria Saclay Ile-de-France.

Q: Why are you excited to be winning the prize?

A: The prize is a fantastic acknowledgment of my work and, beyond that, of great collaborations, especially with my former advisors, Edward Bierstone, Bruno Salvy, Alin Bostan, and Peter Burgisser.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about the research that won you the prize?

A: This research is part of the great effort to understand how one can solve systems of multivariate polynomial equations. A question posed by Stephen Smale, known as the 17th problem, has fostered research on a specific aspect of the question: the design of theoretically efficient algorithms to solve polynomial systems in a numerical setting. Building upon the work of many people, I have been able to bring the last piece to what is now a complete answer to Smale’s question.

Q: What does your research mean to the public?

A: There is still a lot to understand and discover about the resolution of equations. In the long term, we hope that research on theoretical aspects of numerical algorithms will eventually lead to tangible improvements in every day computing.

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