Pursuit of Excellence

On Wednesday, May 9th, the UCSB College of Engineering held a special event, honoring Prof. Linda Petzold as the recipient of the inaugural Mehrabian Endowed Chair in the College of Engineering. Dean Rod Alferness, CS Chair Matthew Turk, and Mechanical Engineering Chair Frederic Gibou have recounted Prof. Petzold's numerous honors and awards over the past two decades at UCSB. Linda's honors and awards include the recognition as a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and Fellow of ACM, ASME, SIAM, and AAAS. She is also the recipient of the Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software in 1991, the Dahlquist Prize in 1999, and the SIAM/ACM Prize for Computational Science and Engineering.

Prof. Petzold gave a lecture on accelerating scientific progress and technology development, and she discussed a wide range of intriguing interdisciplinary research problems on modeling, analysis, simulation and software, applied to multiscale, networked systems in biology, materials and social networks that she pursued over the years. Her research group has been developing advanced algorithms for discrete stochastic simulation of systems where the fate of a few key molecules can make a big difference to important outcomes.  Prof. Petzold and her group engage with experimentalists through the analysis of data and the development of mathematical models that yield insight and suggest new directions for research.  Current collaborations range from biology(circadian rhythm (jet lag), and cell polarization), to medicine (coagulopathy and post-traumatic stress disorder), to ecology (chytrid disease in frogs), to social networks  (sentiment analysis and opinion dynamics).