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The German National Science Foundation (DFG) has awarded Stephan Mandt, an associate professor of computer science and statistics in UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), its prestigious Mercator Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes international scholars and seeks to integrate them into large-scale research efforts at German universities to foster the international exchange of knowledge. As a Mercator Fellow, Mandt will be integrated into a multimillion dollar initiative at the University of Kaiserslautern, focused on advancing machine learning methodology in chemical engineering.

Professor Mandt’s team has actively promoted machine learning in the physical sciences. In particular, the group recently published a sequence of papers in Chemical Science, the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters and Chemical Communications, showing how machine learning methods could accurately predict thermodynamic properties of fluid mixtures in a fully data-driven way. Fabian Jirasek, a former UCI postdoc and lead author of these projects, is now an assistant professor at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.

The team working on the initiative to advance machine learning for chemical engineering: (from left) Prof. Fabian Jirasek, Prof. Stephan Mandt, Prof. Sophie Fellenz and Prof. Marius Kloft.

“I’m particularly excited about the opportunity to collaborate with these outstanding experts,” says Mandt, “and to deepen existing collaborations.”

Mandt is the second ICS faculty member to be named a Mercator Fellow. Alfred Kobsa received the fellowship in 2016.

— Shani Murray