June 8, 2015

IST Austria Professor Caroline Uhler receives START award

Statistician Caroline Uhler receives highest national award for early-career researchers • € 1 Mio for 6 years for project on Gaussian graphic models • IST Austria President Thomas Henzinger: award confirms selection strategy

Vice-Chancellor and Science Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, Secretary of State Harald Mahrer and the President of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, Pascale Ehrenfreund, this evening announced that IST Professor Caroline Uhler is one of this year’s START Award recipients. Around € 1 Mio are allocated for the duration of six years. Uhler receives the award for the project „Gaussian graphical models: Theory and Applications“. Uhler, who has been with the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria since 2011, is the second of 35 professors to receive a START Award. To date, scientists at IST Austria have received funding from such, mostly competitively awarded, prices to a total of € 50,5 Mio.

The focus of Uhler’s research lies on mathematical statistics and its applications in algorithmic biology. In particular, she is interested in the area of algebraic statistics, which uses algebraic techniques for the development of paradigms and algorithms in data analysis. In her research, she uses methods from algebraic geometry, algorithmic algebra and combinatorics to study problems of statistical theory, for example the estimation and determination of parameters in graphical models. The START project is at the interface of mathematical statistics, convex optimization and applied algebraic geometry, three areas which have developed a strong interplay in recent years. Uhler’s aim in the coming years is to expand knowledge and insight about graphical models and to deepen the connections between mathematical statistics, convex optimization and applied algebraic geometry.

Caroline Uhler, from Switzerland, performs research in mathematical statistics and statistical applications to computational biology. She was born in 1983 and studied mathematics at the University of Zurich, graduating with two master’s degrees (Mathematics and Math Education) in 2006/7. She then moved on to do her PhD in Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley in the group of Bernd Sturmfels, where she graduated in 2011. At the same time, she was conferred a Management of Technology Degree by the University of California. Uhler moved to IST Austria in fall 2011.

IST President Thomas Henzinger: „The START Award for Caroline Uhler documents the quality of our selection process. IST Austria provides excellent young scientists like Caroline Uhler an outstanding research environment, which they can use optimally for realizing their research plans.“

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