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30 May 2016
Achievements & awards
Distinguished US mathematician wins CityU’s William Benter Prize 2016

Eva Choy
Professor Stanley Osher of the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been awarded the William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics 2016 by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) for his significant contributions to applying mathematics to solving real world problems.
Professor Osher is Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Member of the US National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a distinguished computational and applied mathematician whose research has profoundly impacted diverse applications.
His work in areas such as high-resolution numerical schemes for shock capturing has been highly influential in computational mechanics. He has created pioneering algorithms for image processing and his work on capturing moving interfaces using implicit representation has brought about breakthroughs in movie animation.
The prize was presented to Professor Osher by Professor Roderick Wong Sue-cheun, Director of CityU’s Liu Bie Ju Centre for Mathematical Sciences (LBJ) during the opening ceremony for the International Conference on Applied Mathematics 2016 (ICAM 2016) on 30 May. The event was co-organised by the Department of Mathematics.
Professor Osher has made profound progress on bridging the gap between mathematics and application through his fundamental contributions to developing mathematical methods and efficient algorithms,” Professor Wong said.
Professor Osher expressed his gratitude upon receiving the award. “I am flattered and honoured to join the distinguished group of winners of the William Benter Prize. This award will motivate me to work harder on developing algorithms for new applications,” he said.
Professor Osher is highly influential in a wide range of fields. He and his collaborators, including Dr Ami Harten and Dr Bjorn Engquist, have made pioneering mathematical contributions applicable to industries and academia working on simulations of flow around airfoils, combustion, semiconductor devices and many other applications.
Another major area of Professor Osher’s research is the level set method, co-invented with Professor James Sethian, that has revolutionised how to handle complicated interface geometry, dynamics and changes on fixed grids. Their work has been applied to areas ranging from image processing and movie animation to semiconductor chip design and criminal prosecution.
Professor Osher’s work with Dr Leonid Rudin and Dr Emad Fatemi was selected 10 years ago as the most efficient deblurring method for satellite images, and has been applied to many other image processing tasks such as de-noising and image segmentation.
The most recent significant work of Professor Osher is in optimisation through introducing Bregman algorithms with collaborators and students. His work leads to faster algorithms and higher quality solutions for a broad spectrum of optimisation problems related to fields such as image processing, compressive sensing, signal processing and machine learning.
Professor Osher has received many awards and honours for his achievements and contributions over the years. He is the recipient of Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize 2014 at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) and he gave a plenary talk in 2010 at the ICM. He has also received the:
·         John von Neumann Lecture Prize 2013
·         Ralph E. Kleinman Prize 2005
·         Pioneer Prize 2003 by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
·         Computational and Applied Sciences Award 2007 by the United States Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM)
Professor Osher is one of the ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) Highly Cited Researchers for 2014 and 2015, and among the top 1% most cited in both Mathematics and Computer Science between 2002 and 2012 and 2003 to 2013.
Professor Osher delivered a talk titled “Overcoming the curse of dimensionality for certain Hamilton-Jacobi (HJ) equations arising in control theory and elsewhere” after the prize presentation ceremony, marking the beginning of a four-day conference on applied mathematics.
The William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics was set up in 2010 by LBJ in honour of Mr William Benter, the donor of the prize, for his dedication and generous support to the enhancement of the University’s strength in mathematics. The prize recognises outstanding mathematical contributions that have had a direct and fundamental impact on scientific, business, finance and engineering applications. It consists a cash prize of US$100,000 and is given once every two years.