Making MaRDI Gallery

You want to know who is making MaRDI and what motivates them? Here we introduce you to the people who shape MaRDI with their expertise and vision for mathematical research data.

 
Numerical algorithms are working behind the scenes in all aspects of our daily life.
Christian Himpe
Scientific Computing

Who are you in two sentences?

I am an applied mathematician with an unavailability-of-computer-based-experiments pet-peeve. I work in the scientific computing task area of MaRDI (TA2), in particular on a knowledge graph of numerical algorithms.

In which field of mathematics do you work and how long have you been working there?

For over a decade my research field is model order reduction, specifically system-theoretic model reduction, where I worked on combined state and parameter reduction of brain networks and parametric model order reduction of gas networks. The overarching numerical theme in these settings is that a discretized mathematical model of a natural or technical process, such as information propagation in the brain or gas transport in a pipeline network, becomes so high-dimensional that numerical computations are too slow for practical use or even infeasible. Model reduction counteracts this curse of dimensionality by algorithmically simplifying models while retaining their relevant features.

What is the most important problem in your field that MaRDI aims to solve?

Numerical algorithms are working behind the scenes in all aspects of our daily life, and are the foundational layer to most, if not all, other sciences using computers. In my humble opinion, this means numerical research results need to be held to the highest standard in terms of scientificity, in order to prevent, to the best of our abilities, propagated problems down the line. And this standard is FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable - research, which MaRDI aims to implement.

What question can you answer best regarding MaRDI/ What's your expertise within MaRDI?

Already before MaRDI, colleagues and I have worked on how to make computer-based experiments, numerical experiments and numerical software replicable, reproducible and reusable as well as sustainable in their development. This also plays a role in my current position within MaRDI, but predominantly I am working on the "F" in FAIR: making numerical algorithms findable via a knowledge graph.

How do you wish the data culture to change with the help of MaRDI?

My first and foremost wish would be that source codes, data sets, etc., defining any computer-based scientific result become available by default. I cannot comprehend why this has not been the standard right from the start: Technically, these digital artifacts are seamlessly duplicable, and storage is in almost all cases not an issue.

What is an aspect of your work that you particularly enjoy and what is one that you find challenging?

Building a knowledge graph involves a lot of classification and thinking about the properties and interrelations of those classes. This can be rewarding in the sense that new connections or similarities between topics appear. On the other hand, it is challenging to look at the backlog of decades of numerical research that is not classified, not digitized, or not even available, all while daily lots of new research is published.

This interview is from July 2022, Christan Himpe is no longer working for MaRDI at the time of publication.

Christian Himpe

TA2: Scientific Computing

Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster

 

On a personal note

Do you have a favorite place you go to for thinking about a problem?

Not really, I just need undisturbed time and headphones with the right music.

What do you enjoy outside work?

Playing saxophone in a jazz combo.

 
It is exciting to accompany a project in its initial phase.
Tabea Bacher
Data Culture and Community Integration

Who are you in two sentences?

I am a trained mathematician, I really enjoy bringing people together and I like to organize events. I am happy to combine these in my job as MaRDI's Dissemination Coordinator.

In which field of mathematics do you work and how long have you been working there?

I studied mathematics at the University of Leipzig, where I specialized in functional analysis and wrote my diploma thesis in ergodic theory. Since working for MaRDI at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, I have been more engaged in algebraic statistics and am involved in a research project in this area.

What is the most important problem in your field that MaRDI aims to solve?

Since I am quite new to mathematical research, so I am sharing from this point of view. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the material I can look at and try out. This applies to books and papers as well as software and code snippets I don't understand exactly what they do. If these things are provided with good metadata and instructions it will be easier, not only for newbies like me, to get into research and not spend too much time on the on tinkering around. For example, I'm busy right now getting a piece of software up and running.

What question can you answer best regarding MaRDI?

As MaRDI's Dissemination Coordinator I am up to date with everything that happens in MaRDI disseminationwise. In particular which and what sort MaRDI events and actions are planned, what's happening in each task area.

How do you wish the data culture to change with the help of MaRDI?

In an ideal world every mathematician would have heard about the FAIR principles and would have access to knowledge and infrastructure to follow these. It would be natural to publish all data associated with a paper and also research data for example software would be recognized as a scientific achievement by itself. By rising awareness, creating a central portal, offering workshops and engaging in technical peer review MaRDI can help with these changes.

How would you describe a typical work day?

My job is very multifaceted. I have organizational and administrative tasks. I plan events and have conversations and meetings with people inside and outside MaRDI, including libraries, which are also a target group of MaRDI.

To experience the handling of mathematical research data first hand, I am involved in a research project in algebraic statistics. In this project we create a database of mathematical objects, namely Conditional Independence Structures.

I also travel frequently, both to MaRDI workshops and to other events at which I represent MaRDI.

What is an aspect of your work that you particularly enjoy and what is one that you find challenging?

I enjoy learning so many new things during my work, as I come in contact with many different areas and people in mathematics. In addition, it is exciting to accompany a project in its initial phase, in which all the structures are only just being created.

I find it challenging to get people excited about research-data management and to show them that it is worthwhile doing, even if it requires a lot more work at first.

November 22, 2022

Tabea Bacher

TA6: Data Culture and Community Integration

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (MPI MIS), Leipzig

+49 341 9959705

bacher@mardi4nfdi.de

 

On a personal note

Do you have a favorite place you go to for thinking about a problem?
The best way for me to think is to go for a walk. The parks in and the forests around Leipzig are ideal for doing so.

What do you enjoy outside work?
I like to organize events in my free time, too; ranging from Acroyoga festivals to board game nights. And I like to work with my hands: gardening, pottery, cooking, ...

 
Data is our treasure and source of knowledge.
Karsten Tabelow
Governance and Consortium Management

Who are you in two sentences?

I am a physicist by training and a scientist at heart. I guess I have some capabilities in analysing things and in working with people.

In which field of mathematics do you work and how long have you been working there?

Most of my work is interdisciplinary in nature; at the bridge between statistics und biomedical sciences.

What is the most important problem in your field that MaRDI aims to solve?

Data from the biomedical sciences is usually well-organized and described, and is nearly fully FAIR. However, as somebody who develops methods, I often struggle to transfer the knowledge about this data that would allow me to develop appropriate methods for data handling. I would like to see MaRDI make this process easier including the access to the available methodologies.

What question can you answer best regarding MaRDI/ What's your expertise within MaRDI?

Together with Thomas (Koprucki), we had the early concept for MaRDI, when there was not even the notion of NFDI. So, I think and hope, that I can and will contribute to the conceptual development of MaRDI as a whole.

How do you wish the data culture to change with the help of MaRDI?

Data is our treasure and source of knowledge. So I would like to see this treasure to be lifted and the researcher who provides it, to give the appropriate credits.

How would you describe a typical work day?

I usually start checking emails (which is almost always a bad idea but keeps me aware of the things ahead), I take a walk or a ride by bike (to office) and start with my bullet journal to do the morning reflection (If I drop this, I know, this will be one of these days...). I am in a lot of meetings with different people on different topics. In between I try to work on a paper or some other content. I usually need a break in the late afternoon before continuing. I often do some planning for new things or just clearing the leftovers in the evening.

What is an aspect of your work that you particularly enjoy and what is one that you find challenging?

I like to learn new things from all areas of science, to combine knowledge on a path to ... my tiny bit of wisdom. I find it challenging, that teams always struggle to define their processes of working.

November 08, 2022; Photo: © Verena Brandt

Karsten Tabelow

TA7: Governance and Consortium Management
TA4: Cooperation with Other Disciplines
TA3: Statistics and Machine Learning

Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS), Berlin

+49 30 20372564
karsten.tabelow@mardi4nfdi.de

On a personal note

Do you have a favorite place you go to for thinking about a problem?
When I am on route, either by bike or on foot.

What do you enjoy outside work?
I like to play the piano and to sing, I like hiking in the mountains, cooking and eating. I also like to think about politics and all disciplines of science.