Mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace, who lived in England in the 19th century, is known as the world’s first programmer. Currently, the PRACE Ada Lovelace Award is given annually to a scientist who has made extraordinary and influential contributions to high-performance computing, and this year’s award is given to Marija Franek, a scholar and visiting professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico.
In addition to higher education, Vranic collaborates with the IPNF (Institute for Plasma and Nuclear Fusion) on laser and plasma group research. The researcher recognizes the “special significance” of this award, noting that she was able to do her work in part because of other projects supported by PRACE. “I have made contributions to the development of algorithms and to research on how to use these algorithms,” he adds.
Vranic’s main research work focuses on the interaction of light with plasma in extreme conditions, an area that is gaining even greater importance at a time when ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) is becoming a reality in Europe. This installation will be able to generate laser beams about 10,000 times more powerful than so far. This advance could pave the way for developing cheaper than conventional particle accelerators and recreating conditions that occur only naturally in space, along with black holes or pulsars.
During her PhD at Técnico, Professor Maria Franek developed the implementation of the radiative cooling model in light-particle interaction algorithms and developed particle fusion algorithms that allow scientists to simulate large numbers of quantum-particle pairs originating in extreme plasmas.
For this work, the researcher, who is a guest lecturer in the Department of Physics at Técnico, has received numerous scientific awards and honors throughout her career.
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