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Well networked and equipped it researches better

Dr. Michelle Vallejos researches as a Humboldt scholarship holder at the Professorship for Partial Differential Equations - at her home university she was almost exclusively involved in teaching

  • Dr. Michelle Vallejos from the Philippines has been awarded a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and decided to stay at TU Chemnitz. Picture: Philip Knauth

Since November 2013 the Professorship for Partial Differential Equations of TU Chemnitz has a new Humboldt scholarship holder: Dr. Michelle Vallejos. The 35-year-old comes from the Philippines and is highly motivated. "At TU Chemnitz I have the possibility to fully concentrate on my research. In the Philippines, as a university employee, I have almost exclusively taught," said Vallejos.

Vallejos graduated from 1995 to 2002 her Bachelor and Master degrees in mathematics at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. Between 2005 and 2008 she took the opportunity to finish her doctoral thesis about multi grid methods using a scholarship at the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz in Austria. "My colleagues urged me to go abroad, because I would be able to benefit from better research conditions in my subject group. At the beginning I was doubtful. Today I am grateful," said Vallejos.

"As a university employee in the Philippines there are less possibilities to work scientifically"

After Vallejos apprehend between 2008 and 2012 various teaching activities at the University of the Philippines, she decided to go abroad again. "As a university employee in the Philippines there are less possibilities to work scientifically," said Vallejos and added: "I wanted to do research and not only to teach classes with 35 students. Mostly I taught four lectures with exercises. This is very time-consuming, since we have no assistants for the corrections." As a post-graduate student from 2012 to 2013 at Yonsei University Seoul, South Korea, the young Filipina was able to tie in with her research on multi grid methods. At the same time Vallejos started to apply for the scholarship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Because of a Philippine colleague she made contact with Prof. Dr. Roland Herzog of the Professorship for Partial Differential Equations at TU Chemnitz in April 2012, who supported the cooperation with Vallejos. The first meeting between the two took place a few months later at 21st International Symposium on Mathematical Programming in Berlin in August 2012.

Since November 2013 Vallejos is researching now for one year at the professorship in Chemnitz. The focus of the Humboldt scholarship holder concentrates as in previous experiences on multi grid methods. In this case Vallejos working title is "Multi grid methods for the optimal control of elliptic variation inequalities”. Vallejos researches here on an optimality system for the control of variation inequalities without requiring them to be regularized. Many everyday applications in business, electrodynamics or the transport network can be traced back to mathematical models with variation inequalities. "I want to develop better algorithms to solve elliptic optimal control problems with variation inequalities," Vallejos summarizes her research work at TU Chemnitz.

"At TU Chemnitz I can share information about my research field"

The local research conditions are very convenient for the Philippine scholarship holder. "Here in Chemnitz I can share information with other groups of our faculty. They understand my topic. At my home university I had only a single contact regarding my topic. This was not very motivating," said Vallejos. Today she also benefits from the sophisticated campus network of TU, from the powerful computers and the digital databases of the University Library. Within the next year Vallejos has the goal of learning more about the general fields of application of her field of study: "I want to return home with new ideas in order to encourage future mathematicians in the Philippines."

(Author: Victoria Graul, Translation: Jakob Landwehr)

Katharina Thehos
03.01.2014

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