Professor Maria Garcia de la Banda
Caulfield School of Information Technology
Maria successfully completed her PhD thesis in the Faculty of Informatics winning the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid's best PhD Award in 1994. Following this, she moved to Australia to work as a research fellow on an ARC grant at the University of Melbourne and then accepted an appointment to the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University. In 1997 she was awarded a coveted Logan Research Fellowship, a position she held for six years to further her research in programming languages. Since then she has made Monash University her home.
Maria's current research focuses on the challenge of finding optimal solutions to complex everyday problems. These problems involve ‘combinatorial optimization’ and can vary from finding the best combination of transport that will take us to ‘Seville’ as cheaply and quickly as possible, to the optimum combination of radiation targeting and dosage to eradicate a cancer tumour whilst maintaining patient health. These problems all require the best combination of decisions to achieve the optimum outcome. While finding inefficient solutions to these problems can be quite easy due to the variety of options available, establishing the optimal choice remains extremely challenging, even for experts. Maria’s talk will explore the impact that these problems have in society and how computer science is helping to determine high quality solutions.