24 January 2024

Robert Burklund receives Villum Young Investigator Grant


Robert Burklund, a postdoc at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, has received DKK 7 million from the VILLUM Young Investigator Program.

Robert Burklund

Robert's project, "Computational frameworks for homotopy theory", will investigate the interface between homotopy theory and computer science. Homotopy theory is a relatively young subfield of mathematics where geometric objects are considered up to continuous deformation.

“While computers are powerful tools for doing algebraic manipulations, their use in geometry has so far been hampered by the lack of an appropriate formal, syntactic language. The goal of this project is to develop a computational framework for doing manipulations in homotopy theory, i.e., the area of mathematics where one studies geometric or algebraic objects up to deformation, and to use this framework to settle longstanding conjectures of geometric and algebraic origin.” Thus Robert begins his project description.

“The goal of the project is to investigate computability in stable homotopy theory from both a practical and a theoretical viewpoint. The key obstacle to overcome is how the flexibility of homotopy theory makes computer calculation difficult”, says Robert.

The grant is five years and Robert plans to hire two PhD students and a postdoc over the next two years.

Robert got his PhD at MIT (USA) supervised by Mike Hopkins. His research was supported by a postdoctoral research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (USA).

Robert has since July 2022 worked as a postdoc at the Department for Mathematical Sciences' Algebra and Geometry section, associated with the Copenhagen Centre for Geometry and Topology. His postdoctoral mentor is Head of Section, Professor Jesper Grodal.

Villum Young Investigator Programme focuses on attracting and retaining talented young Danish and international researchers at Danish universities. The aim is to support the development of high-level international research environments in the universities. For 2024, 18 young research talents receive grants totalling DKK 132 million. With exciting projects and a grant to back them, they will each build a research team and contribute with excellent research.