Alfio Quarteroni, Director of the Chair of Modelling and Scientific Computing at the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Lausanne (Switzerland)

Alfio Quarteroni


Alfio Quarteroni is Director of the Chair of Modelling and Scientific Computing at the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Lausanne (Switzerland), since 1998 and Professor of Numerical Analysis at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), since 1989.

He is author of 20 books, editor of 5 books, author of more than 300 papers published in international Scientific Journals and Conference Proceedings, member of the editorial board of 25 International Journals and Editor in Chief of two book series published by Springer.

He has been an invited or plenary speaker in more than 300 International Conferences and Academic Departments, in particular he has been invited speaker at ICM 2002 in Beijing and plenary speaker at ICM 2006 in Madrid.

Among his awards and honors are: the NASA Group Achievement Award for the pioneering work in Computational Fluid Dynamics as a member of the ICASE numerical analysis and algorithms group, 1992, the Fanfullino della Riconoscenza 2006, Città di Lodi, the Premio Capo D'Orlando 2006, the Ghislieri prize, 2013 and the Galileo Galilei prize for Sciences 2015.

He is the Recipient of the ERC advanced grant “MATHCARD”, 2008 and of two ERC PoC (Proof of Concept) grants in 2012 and 2015, Recipient of the Galileian Chair from the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy ,2001, doctor Honoris Causa in Naval Engineering from University of Trieste, Italy, October 2003, SIAM Fellow since 2009, IACM (International Association of Computational Mechanics) Fellow since 2004.

His research interest concern Mathematical Modelling, Numerical Analysis, Scientific Computing and Application to fluid mechanics, geophysics, medicine and the improvement of sports performance. His Group has carried out the mathematical simulation for the optimisation of performances of the Alinghi yacht, the winner of two editions (2003 and 2007) of the America’s Cup.


Mathematical models aim at describing various aspects of the real world, their interaction and their dynamics, through mathematics.

Thanks to the impetuous progress of computers power and the development of powerful and accurate algorithms, nowadays we can use mathematics to improve our basic understanding of natural and biological processes, enhance social communications and technological innovation, provide medical doctors with quantitative and rigorous tools in clinical practice.

This presentation will introduce the basic concepts behind mathematical and numerical models based on partial differential equations, and illustrate their use on a variety of applications in different fields of science and engineering, including sports, life sciences and the environment.

Étienne Ghys, Member of the French Academy of Sciences
Étienne Ghys, Member of the French Academy of Sciences

Étienne Ghys


Étienne Ghys is a French mathematician. His research focuses mainly on geometry and dynamical systems, though his mathematical interests are broad. He also expresses much interest in the historical development of mathematical ideas, especially the contribution of Henri Poincaré.

He co-authored the computer graphics mathematical movie Dimensions: A walk through mathematics!

Alumnus of the École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud, he is currently a CNRS « directeur de recherche" at the École normale supérieure in Lyon. He was editor-in-chief of the Publications Mathématiques de l’IHÉS and is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and several other foreign Academies.

He was an invited speaker at the ICM of Kyoto in 1990, and a plenary speaker at the ICM of Madrid in 2006.

In 2015, he was awarded the inaugural Clay Award for Dissemination of Mathematical Knowledge.


I would like to start with a clever (and elementary) observation of M. Kontsevich. When we draw the graphs of four real polynomials in one variable, intersecting in some point, some local qualitative pictures turn out to be impossible. I will then generalise to any number of polynomials and then to  singularities of real algebraic curves. This is a very old question, going back at least to Newton. Some interesting algebraic structures appear and open questions arise, related to topology, combinatorics and computer science. I'll try to give a very elementary talk.