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Dr. Huan Lei honored with NSF Early CAREER Award

Huan Lei, assistant professor in the Department of Statistics and Probability (STT) is among five Michigan State University (MSU) researchers from the College of Natural Science (NatSci) who have received NSF Early CAREER Faculty Awards. Their cutting-edge research pushes the limits of science, while their devotion to education is preparing the next generation of scientists to propel their field even further. Collectively, over the next five years (2022-2027) they will receive more than $3.7 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding.

Professor Lei (Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE) and the Department of Statistics and Probability), studies the connection between scientific machine learning and computational mathematics. More specifically, Lei is interested in developing high-fidelity computational models for multiscale multiphysics systems.

Lei’s $413,516 CAREER Award will support the development of a machine learning–based model of complex fluids with molecular fidelity—a well-known and challenging problem in the fields of applied mathematics and fluid physics. To address this issue, Lei and his team will create a new learning framework based on the theories of model reduction and stochastic differential equations. In addition to its broad engineering applications, the developed method will enable scientists to probe some fundamental scientific questions in the nanoscale fluid physics field.

In addition to his research goal, Lei will develop an education plan that seeks to enhance training for the next generation of STEM workers by integrating data science and computational mathematics education. Despite the fast growth and progress of machine learning in computational mathematics and natural sciences, current education and training initiatives in these areas are largely based on conventional perspectives. To fill the gap, Lei will develop a new Capstone course on scientific machine learning geared toward STEM students to extend their understanding beyond conventional offerings. Ultimately, he hopes to develop a sustainable pipeline for the broad engagement of mathematics and natural science students and retain a diverse student population in this exciting research direction.

“This NSF CAREER award means a lot to me,” Lei said. “As an applied mathematician, my long-term research goal is to develop computational tools to advance our scientific understanding of complex multiscale physical systems. I envision this project as a foundation for my effort toward the predictive understanding and control of these systems.”

“The Department of Statistics and Probability is proud of Dr. Huan Lei’s achievement,” said STT Interim Chair Lyudmila Sakhanenko. “Congratulations on this impressive and exciting award!”

Lei received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Brown University. Prior to joining the MSU faculty in 2019, he worked as a research scientist and postdoctoral research associate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

For the original news article, see https://natsci.msu.edu/news/five-natsci-faculty-members-honored-with-nsf-early-career-awards/ .