What inspired you to work at Berkeley Lab? What excites you about your work?
I joined the Lab in March 2020 after finding an open position for a project in which one has to apply techniques coming from different areas, and I thought it was perfect for me! What excites me the most is the intertwining of graph theory and machine learning. This is a very new research field in which I always have to learn and experiment.
What does your current scientific project or research entail?
My current research is technical and focused on using machine learning techniques for problems involving graphs, like graph partitioning. These problems cannot be solved exactly, but there are some algorithms that find solutions that are approximate. The goal of my project is to use and create machine learning alternatives that work better than classical algorithms to improve the performance of many HPC computations, especially those involving big matrices.
What have you been most proud of in your work?
I am proud of my team and the great research we are doing in the Scalable Solvers Group to develop efficient linear and eigensolver algorithms and fast, scalable, library implementations which can then be integrated into the Department of Energy’s emerging HPC platforms. I am so grateful I get to work at the Lab because I’ve met amazing people and work with great scientists on a day-to-day basis. This experience has expanded my understanding on so many levels.
Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter and/or succeed in your field of work?
I think it is very important to learn many different skills while performing the main activity of research. For example, learning technical competencies is foundational, but skills like public speaking and communications can add value to your research because you can refine presenting your work verbally and in writing papers. One doesn't have to be an expert in everything, but having a basic knowledge of different areas may be absolutely beneficial.
How can our community engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
Organizing fun activities involving science during the very first years of school is key. STEM subjects are often seen as intimidating by girls and minorities, hence trying to get rid of as many barriers and preconceived notions may help. The Berkeley Lab K-12 office offers great and exciting programs for kids, from elementary to high school! In 2021, I participated and volunteered for Oakland's Summer Town Camp, where I read a science book to elementary school kids. It was so much fun and they were engaged and asked many questions.