Ulrike Meier Yang is leading the Computational Mathematics group at the Center for Applied Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Ulrike Meier Yang is leading the Computational Mathematics group at the Center for Applied Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her research interests are numerical algorithms, particularly iterative linear system solvers and algebraic multigrid methods, parallel computing, performance evaluation and software design. As a member of the Scalable Linear solvers project, she has been involved in developing hypre, a parallel linear solvers and preconditioners software library that won an R&D 100 award in 2006 and is used all around the world. Before she came to LLNL, she worked at the Center for Supercomputing Research and Development at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany. She earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received a Diplom (equivalent to an MS) in Mathematics from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.
1) What inspired you to work in STEM?
I decided to study Mathematics, since it had always been my favorite subject in school. During my studies I discovered that I really enjoyed numerical mathematics as well as software development for high performance computers. Bochum University was one of the first universities to have a vector computer, which allowed me to gain experience on such a computer and put me on the track to work with high performance computers.
2) What excites you about your work at the Energy Department?
It is very exciting to be able to use the best and newest high performance computers to solve very challenging problems. It is also rewarding to know that our research and the software we develop makes a difference in many application codes. Last, but not least, it allows me to work with some of the best scientists in the world.
3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
It is important to provide role models as well as present the material in an interesting way. When my children were in elementary school, I was involved in organizing math and science nights at their school. The students always enjoyed those nights and saw that math and science can be a lot of fun. Since it can be very challenging to work as well as raise a family, providing opportunities to work part time will allow women to spend more time with their children as well as stay current in their field.
4) Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
Do not be afraid to ask questions when you do not understand the material. Do not give up when things get difficult. It also helps to find a mentor or working group. Things always get easier when one can discuss them with others. And most importantly, have fun.
5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?
I enjoy to go hiking, particularly during spring time, when all the wild flowers are blooming. I like to spend time with my family as well as friends. I also like reading, particularly science fiction.