Research: Numerical methods for parametrized PDEs
Undergraduate Institution: Beihang University
Hometown: Shijiazhuang, China
Why did you choose to come to AMSC?
During my undergraduate I did some research in computational fluid dynamics and I found it an exciting area where I could use the mathematical tools I learnt to solve engineering problems. I applied to AMSC because it has a strong group in PDE and numerical analysis, and it offers great flexibility so that you can choose advisors from many differerent departments across campus. People were very nice and prompt to answer all my questions when I was applying. Also, Maryland has a big and beautiful campus.
What are your research interests and why?
My research is in numerical methods for PDEs, and in particular, parameter-dependent or stochastic PDEs. Such problems arise in applications for example where an explicit formula for some physical property is not available and people want to quantify this uncertainty and model possible variations in the solutions. My work focuses on fast iterative solvers since in general numerical treatment gives rise to large scale linear or nonlinear systems. I enjoy working on problems that are closely related to physical applications, and it’s a lot of satisfaction when you can break down the problem using computational tools, implement the idea, and finally find solutions (even they are just approximate) to the complicated systems.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I try to stay active and go to the gym to do workouts. I’m recently learning to play squash which is a lot of fun. I also like to hang out with friends, exploring places nearby. When there is a long break I’d like to travel the country so I can take advantage of my time here. There are still many places to go on my list.
What are your favorite parts of the greater Washington DC area?
I like the DC city itself very much because it is clean and neat and it has many free museums you can explore. My favorite places include Freer Gallary and Renwick Gallary. There are also many national parks nearby (Great Falls, Shenandoah, Harpers Ferry etc) and these are nice places to go for a hike over the weekend and take a break from your study. Annapolis is also a beautiful city that’s worth a visit. Many authentic Chinese restaurants can be found in Rockville.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
I think it’s a good idea to talk to other grad students to learn who they are working with and what they are working on. That can give you some ideas especially if you don’t have a clear mind about what you are gonna do for research. Ask for help and the senior students have answers for most of your questions. I’d suggest try something out early, maybe during the summer, to see how it turns out. If you are on the Scientific Computing track then the second year project will be a good start. You can get to know the professors from their students as well as by taking classes or going to seminars. I found time management very important because I have to balance between my course work, research, and teaching. Besides, find something you like outside of school work and stick to it; otherwise time goes by too fast as you are sitting in front of your desk for the whole day.