Luis Ruiz-Lopez

Luis Ruiz-Lopez, MMath candidate
Luis Ruiz-Lopez

Degrees: MSc, Pure Math

Supervisor: David Jao

What program are you in? What is your research area?

I am pursuing  a Masters degree in Combinatorics and Optimization. My area of research is Cryptography.

Why did you choose to study in the Faculty of Mathematics? Why did you choose the University of Waterloo?

The Faculty of Mathematics has a great reputation and history. Moreover, cryptography is a very active area at the University of Waterloo. I always wanted to take a class and talk to those people whose books I once read.

What are your career goals?

My first goal once I finish my Masters is to do a PhD. After that I would like to be a researcher. However, since I’ve had many positive experiences as teaching assistant, professorship would be my first choice as a career.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your graduate career so far?

I’ve had many rewarding moments, but probably the most rewarding/inspiring moment was during a conference on post-quantum cryptography that was hosted here in Waterloo, where I  had the opportunity to talk to some of the most important researchers in my area.

What has been the most challenging part of life as a graduate student?

I would say that the most challenging part is to learn how to do research. As an undergrad one is given  too many hints and instructions to follow, but that is not the case when one is facing an open problem.

What has been your favourite course or project so far in grad school?

The Mathematics of Public Key Cryptography (CO685) definitely changed my life. I also really enjoyed The Geometry of Numbers (PMath944) since it linked many things I learned during my undergrad with my current research.

Can you describe any practical or hands-on experience you’ve had during your studies?

During the summer of 2014 I worked as a research intern at Fujitsu Labs of America, in California. The team I was part of worked on a project motivated by biometric security. It was an invaluable experience.

How do you describe combinatorics and optimization to your friends and family?

In one hand, combinatorics is a set of disciplines that are so fun that you would not even believe that are part of mathematics. In the other hand, optimization is a set of disciplines that are so important that the world would have never progressed without them. At C&O, we study those things that are fun and important at the same time.

How do you spend your time outside of school?

I like to spend some time with my friends. When the weather is good we like to bike to some other town nearby. I also go to the gym, play soccer, read and practice photography.

Do you have any words of advice for people considering or planning graduate studies at the University of Waterloo? What about for people who may be interested in C&O?

If you are planning to study at Waterloo, you will have to overcome the fear of trying new things and very likely you will also have to adapt to a new workload. If you are interested in C&O, I would recommend you to learn the basics about linear programming and graph theory, that might save you some time.