Dr John Pearson was appointed to a Lectureship in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh in August 2017, having previously been a Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Kent from April 2015 to July 2017. He held an EPSRC Fellowship on 'Fast Solvers for Real-World PDE-Constrained Optimization' from June 2015 to May 2018. From 2013-2015 Dr Pearson held a Whittaker Research Fellowship at Edinburgh; prior to this he was an EPSRC Doctoral Prize holder at the University of Oxford, having completed a DPhil in numerical analysis at Oxford in 2013.
Dr Pearson's research lies at the intersection of data science, operational research, optimization, and fast numerical algorithms, including highly parallelisable methods. A significant focus of his, in recent years, has been the rapid and robust solution of huge-scale matrix systems of equations arising from optimisation problems constrained by partial differential equations and, increasingly, stochastic partial differential equations. For these problems, one is required to solve systems which are highly influenced by and dependent on data which is generated by the behaviour of physical systems.
Examples of scientific applications Dr Pearson has examined are problems in computational and systems biology (pattern formation, chemotaxis, reaction-diffusion mechanisms), which require intensive computations based on large-scale (real-world) data being fed into the algorithms, and medical imaging problems, which require models and algorithms for processing data acquired from scans. A current programme of research he is undertaking concerns the rapid computational solution of optimal control problems under uncertainty; such formulations with stochastic inputs are used to quantify statistics of the response of a physical system.
Achievements and awards
Dr Pearson was awarded an EPSRC Fellowship in 2015, under the 'Mathematical Aspects of Operational Research' scheme. He was also awarded an IMA Leslie Fox Prize in Numerical Analysis (2nd Prize) in 2015, the University of Kent prize for Early Career Research in the Faculty of Sciences in 2016, a European Science Foundation grant for an extended research visit to the Max-Planck-Institut in Magdeburg, an EPSRC Doctoral Prize for his research as a DPhil student, a Whittaker Fellowship from the University of Edinburgh, three prizes for talks at conferences, and a Clothworker's scholarship (on two occasions) at Oxford.