Victor Zavala has been named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young researchers for their contributions to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics and for their community service.

Zavala is the Baldovin-DaPra associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a computational mathematician in Argonne National Laboratory’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division. He is also is a principal investigator in the Argonne-led MACSER (Multifaceted Mathematics for Rare, High-Impact Events in Complex Energy and Environment Systems) project, in which he develops extreme-scale optimization solvers to guide the design and real-time coordination of national infrastructure systems – electricity, natural gas, water and the power grid.

“I am honored to receive this award, and I am deeply grateful to my colleagues both at Argonne and at the university for their encouragement and support in my research. I am excited about being able to continue exploring the challenges raised by issues such as uncertainty in the formulation of decision problems for energy systems,” Zavala said.

Zavala received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008, with an emphasis in mathematical modeling and numerical optimization. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings. His current research

includes development of computational frameworks that integrate predictive control, machine learning models, and emerging sensor technologies to maximize energy efficiency. He also studies stochastic programming approaches, including uncertainty characterizations, for analyzing the flexibility of complex systems such as electric power distribution networks.

The PECASE award was announced in a press release from the White House: