27. June 2023

Assistant Professor Dr. Vera Traub Honored with Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize Assistant Professor Dr. Vera Traub Honored with Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize

The award from the DFG is its most important for early-career researchers

Assistant Professor Dr. Vera Traub from the Institute for Discrete Mathematics at the University of Bonn is joining nine other researchers in being awarded the €200,000 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize
Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize - Jun.-Prof. Dr. Vera Traub © Photo: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn
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The DFG calls its Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize the most important award available to early-career researchers in Germany. The prize money offered to the winners has been increased from €20,000 to €200,000 for the first time and can be put toward their continued research work for up to three years. They also receive a program allowance of 22 percent. The awards are to be presented at a ceremony in Berlin on October 16, 2023.

Vera Traub conducts research at the interface between discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science. Her field is that of combinatorial optimization, which tackles questions for which a particularly good—or optimal—solution needs to be found from a large number of equally feasible variants. Her doctoral thesis focused on so-called approximation algorithms for the traveling salesman problem. This is a well-known problem in mathematics and involves finding the shortest round trip that takes in multiple cities without trying out all the possible routes individually. Whereas specific algorithms are usually used for this purpose, Traub invented a new approach based on dynamic programming, which finds much better solutions than the existing algorithms can in the same time. Her more recent work has also looked at how networks are designed, something for which she has likewise developed new models that are superior to everything that has gone before.

Vera Traub is a member of the Mathematics, Modelling and Simulation of Complex Systems Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA Modelling) at the University of Bonn. She is also a member of the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics Cluster of Excellence. After Patrik Ferrari (2009) and Georg Oberdieck (2020), this is the third time in the last 15 years that the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize has been awarded to a member of the Hausdorff Center.

The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize has been awarded every year since 1977 to outstanding researchers who are at an early stage in their academic life. It is designed to encourage them to keep pressing on with their career in research. As well as their doctoral thesis, the award also, and in particular, recognizes their subsequent efforts in wasting no time building their own research profile and enriching the academic community with their research findings—the expectation being that they will continue to deliver a top-quality academic performance in the future too. The prize has borne the name of nuclear physicist and former DFG president Heinz Maier-Leibnitz since 1980, having first been awarded during his time in office (1974–1979).

Media contact
Jun.-Prof. Vera Traub
Phone: +49 228 73-8770
Email: traub@dm.uni-bonn.de

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