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$1.5 Millon Grant Brings Renowned French Mathematician to the College of Natural Sciences

Posted by Staff Writer on Monday, September 10, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas – Renowned French mathematician and engineer Francois Baccelli joins The University of Texas at Austin this fall as the first Simons Chair in Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Baccelli is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and a cutting edge researcher at the intersection of mathematics, telecommunications and network information theory. As part of the appointment, he will develop a new Center in Information and Network Science.

The University of Texas at Austin and Stanford University are the first two recipients of “Math+X” grants from the Simons Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to advancing the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.

The $1.5 million grant, which was matched by the university, is designed to encourage novel collaborations between mathematics and other fields in science or engineering.

The new Center in Information and Network Science will bring together faculty from across the university to seek governing principles common to a wide array of network applications, from communications to biology and the social sciences.

Baccelli is coming to the university from the École Normale Supérieure de Paris, where he was director of computer science research. He is also the resident “network wizard” at INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, and the head of TREC, a joint research team between INRIA and the ENS de Paris, investigating the modeling and control of communication networks.

During the course of his career he has forged and maintained deep industry connections with both telecommunication equipment vendors (Alcatel, Alcatel-Lucent, Qualcomm and Intel) and service providers (Orange, France Telecom, and Sprint). He’s used his powerful theories to provide design insights and to guide cellular phone system implementation and optimization.

“He is the right glue to hold the two sides of the new center together,” said Alan Reid, chair of the Department of Mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences. “He’s a mathematician by training who has a strong track record of research in electrical and computer engineering. He’s also had a great deal of experience building up the kind of program we envision here at UT.”