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UC San Diego Distinguished Math Professor Named 2020 SIAM Fellow

April 3, 2020 | By Cynthia Dillon

Ruth WilliamsDistinguished Professor of Mathematics Ruth Williams

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) recently announced its 2020 Class of SIAM Fellows. Among the 28 new fellows is UC San Diego’s Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Ruth Williams, recognized for her contributions to the study of stochastic processes and their applications.

In probability theory and related fields, a stochastic, or random, process is a family of random variables indexed by time that is used to describe the dynamic evolution of random phenomena or systems. Such processes have applications in many fields of science, as well as engineering and technology fields. These processes are even used in modeling financial markets. Williams has famously applied them in the study of heavy traffic in communication networks and other stochastic networks.

According to SIAM, each of its 2020 fellows was nominated for his or her exemplary research as well as outstanding service to the community. Through their contributions, SIAM Fellows help advance the fields of applied mathematics and computational science, the society’s announcement stated. In addition to Williams, Jorge Cortes, from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering, was also named a SIAM Fellow.

“I am very honored to be elected as a SIAM Fellow. SIAM is a major international society which fosters the development and application of mathematics for solving real world problems across a broad range,” said Williams. “As we see at UC San Diego, many fields are becoming increasingly quantitative; SIAM and its members play a key role in developing and analyzing mathematical models to help solve new problems as they arise.”

Williams, who holds the UC San Diego Charles Lee Powell Endowed Chair in Mathematics I, is a highly accomplished mathematician with numerous awards and prizes. These include the John von Neumann Theory Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics, which she earned in 2016 for her work on stochastic networks. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and a 2017 winner of the Award for the Advancement of Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.