Bamdad Hosseini is one of two graduate students awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal.

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Mathematical interest and hard work creates medal-winning formula

June 11, 2018
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By Emma Keeler-Dugas

Bamdad Hosseini credits his natural interest and hard work for his Governor General Gold Medal-winning formula. The new PhD alumnus is convocating with an impressive 4.17 cumulative grade point average out of a possible 4.33.

A Governor General’s Gold Medal is awarded each year to the two graduate students who achieve the highest academic standing upon graduation from a master’s or doctoral degree program.

“It simply happened as a result of focusing on learning as much as possible in every course I took,” says Hosseini.

Before Simon Fraser University, Hosseini competed in national and international science competitions in high school. After obtaining a BSc in mechanical engineering at Sharif University of Technology in Iran he soon realized engineering wasn’t the right path for him.

“I had more interest in fundamental questions and problems rather than applications, so I pursued an MSc in computational and applied mathematics at SFU.”

Hosseini is drawn to research related to problems in inference and quantification of uncertainty.

“My research focuses on frameworks that bring mathematical models, real-world measurements, and prior knowledge together to infer unknown parameters and quantify the associated uncertainties in the process,” he explains.

Now a post-doctoral fellow in the California Institute of Technology’s computing and mathematical sciences department, Hosseini spends his time on machine learning and data science problems and hopes to become a professor.

He says the Governor General’s Gold Medal is a great honour, and he feels a great sense of kinship and pride towards the SFU community, where he says he spent some of the best years of his life.

“I had two great mentors—professors John Stockie and Nilima Nigam. I owe everything to them,” he says. “They started as my supervisors but they were some of my best friends when I was done.”

He adds, “I had an amazing experience at SFU, to the point where I am often embarrassed to tell other students how much I enjoyed my graduate education.”