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Dan Ursu receives prestigious 2021 Huawei Prize for Best Research Paper

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dan Ursu, a PhD student in the Department of Pure Mathematics has received the 2021 Huawei Prizes for Best Research Paper by a Mathematics Graduate Student. Ursu is one of two students to receive this prestigious award. This award recognizes the impact of his paper, Characterizing traces on crossed products of noncommutative C*-algebras with a prize of $4,000.

"I would like to express my appreciation for being chosen to receive this award. Thank you – it is a great honour." Ursu says.

Ursu’s paper resolves an important problem about the structure of mathematical objects called C*-dynamical systems. These objects were introduced by von Neumann over 80 years ago in order to encode various kinds of mathematical symmetry, and in particular, the symmetries of observables in quantum physics. In his paper, Ursu completely describes an important numerical invariant of these objects called a trace. Understanding these traces is a necessary step towards any kind of classification of these objects, and so obtaining such a description had been an open problem for at least 45 years.

"Dan’s paper is one of the strongest that I have seen written by a graduate student in this area for some time. I believe that he has a very bright future as a mathematician." remarks Professor Matthew Kennedy, Ursu's supervisor.

The 2021 Huawei Prize for Best Research Paper by a Mathematics Graduate Student would not be possible without the generous support from Huawei.