Mathematical Profiles

This page features mathematicians of note, many of whom have overcome significant obstacles to reaching their full potential. Others are simply beautiful for the way they use mathematics. 

Dr. Lior Horesh is a Principal Research Staff Member, Master Inventor and a Senior Manager of the ‎Mathematics of AI group at IBM Research.

Lior Horesh, IBM

His group’s mission is to approach some of the big ‎challenges the field of AI is facing, from a principled mathematical angle. This involves both conceiving ‎and bringing in state-of-the-art mathematical theories, algorithms and analysis tools, in hope of ‎advancing fundamentally generalizability, scalability and interpretability of AI.

He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics/Medical Physics from University College London.

Dr. Horesh was interviewed for Mathematics Awareness Month in April 2015. Below are two of the questions asked and answered. 

 What do you like best and least about your profession? What is the stress level associated with this type of position?

One of the greatest appeals of applied math is its transferability to a broad range of domain fields. Applied math principles can literally be utilized in almost every aspect of life, enabling one to explore a great diversity of turfs.

Since we enjoy a great deal of autonomy, stress levels can vary, and mainly depend upon one’s own ambition and drive. Since we work with external clients, we are required to deliver useful, and appreciable (in the eye of the client!) deliverables; this implies that we do need to deal with deadlines and review meetings.

How/why are applied mathematics and/or computational science important to your industry? How are they used?

Many real-life problems involve partial, noisy, and indirect data, realistic models (complex and of large scale), requiring state-of- the-art optimization  schemes to provide insights and feed decision making, and of course, also, provide means for quantification of uncertainty. Implementation of solutions to such challenges that extend beyond toy problem level requires deep knowledge in applied math (numerical analysis, optimization), statistics, computational math as well as integration of specific domain knowledge.

It is also important to understand that many of today’s challenges can no longer be tackled by a single researcher. Back in the 70’s quantification of an individual’s intelligence was popular, yet, recently the focus has changed towards the notion of collective intelligence. In industrial research settings, collaborative work and team play are of great importance. Recently, IBM is putting efforts into extension of the scope even further, towards cooperative interaction with cognitive computing systems.

 To read the entire interview (and explore others!), please visit: 
https://ww2.amstat.org/mam/2015/highlighted/MAM%202015%20profile_Horesh.pdf .

Mathematics Awareness Month is sponsored each year by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics.

Learn more about Dr. Horesh or access his professional blog at his page on Watson.IBM.com.