Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Current Winner
2009 NSERC Doctoral Prize

Mark Braverman

Mathematics and Computer Science

University of Toronto

Mark Braverman
Mark Braverman

Computers may be more powerful than ever before, but developers still regularly grapple with problems that stubbornly resist efforts to find an efficient electronic solution.

That's where computer scientists like Mark Braverman come in. He specializes in developing a theoretical basis to determine whether those roadblocks can be removed by designing a better algorithm, or if the problem is just too complex or maybe even the wrong type to be solved by a computer. Straddling the line between mathematics and computer science, his thesis research in this area earned him a 2009 NSERC Doctoral Prize.

It's a field where even negative results are welcomed — proving that a class of problems is extremely hard or actually impossible to solve can help developers avoid going down blind alleys.

Dr. Braverman's doctoral research focused in part on problems related to "Julia sets," which are complex graphical representations of certain types of mathematical formulas. The results will have an impact on the ability to use computers to simulate the changes that occur over time in real-world phenomena such as physical and biological systems.