First BGCE Student Prize in CSE

June 12, 2007

Vying for a week at the Bavarian Graduate School in Computational Engineering, finalists for the BGCE student paper prize presented their papers at the 2007 SIAM Conference on CSE. Shown here with prize committee members Tamara Kolda and Hans Bungartz (far left) and Denis Donnelly (fifth from right) are Jan Rosam, Taeyoung Lee, Won-Ki Jeong, Robert Shuttleworth, Alfonso Bueno Orovio (who received the prize), Fang Fang, and Weigang Zhong. Ulrich Rüde, also a member of the prize committee, took the picture.

This year, for the first time, the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering hosted a student paper competition. The aim is to promote excellence by recognizing outstanding work in the field by undergraduate or graduate students. To enter, students were to submit four-page papers. The prize committee received 13 submissions from students in seven countries, showing wide international interest in the field and in the prize.

The winner will spend one week as a guest of the prize sponsor, the Bavarian Graduate School in Computational Engineering (BGCE) in Bavaria. BGCE is a consortium of two Bavarian universities---Technische Universität München and Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg---which offer a joint International Master Program with an "Honors Track" for their best students in computational engineering (BGCE students are not eligible for the competition).

Eight finalists were invited to present their work in two minisymposia at the SIAM conference. Seven students gave presentations (one student was unable to attend and thus was not eligible for the prize):

In their talks the students highlighted essential components of research in CSE---mainly, along with an emphasis on computational aspects of the work, the highly interdisciplinary nature of the field. Moreover, every one of the finalists demonstrated excellent communication skills (essential for the collaborative work characteristic of CSE) with their clearly organized and well-thought-out presentations. These student presentations turned out to be the highlight of the competition and, in our opinion, of the conference as a whole. Together, the speakers covered a wide range of topics in computational science and engineering at a uniformly impressive academic level.

Presented with near-perfection, the prize committee---Tamara Kolda (Sandia National Labs), Denis Donnelly (Siena College), Hans Bungartz (München), and Ulrich Rüde (Erlangen)---found the task of selecting the winner both enjoyable and difficult. On behalf of the prize committee, we congratulate all of the finalists for their impressive accomplishments.

After much deliberation, the committee agreed to award the prize to Alfonso Bueno Orovio. The research described in his presentation, "Extension of Spectral Methods to Irregular Domains Via a Fictitious Domain Approach," had all the ingredients of advanced research in CSE: development of innovative computational techniques and methods for a challenging and important real-life application in science. Though the method is widely applicable, Bueno Orovio developed it specifically for simulation of the electrophysiology of the heart. His work also included careful implementation in three dimensions and impressive visualizations. Alfonso Bueno Orovio will visit Munich and Erlangen from June 13 to 21.---Tamara Kolda and Ulrich Rüde.

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