Associate Professor Nike Sun has been honored with an award through the Faculty Early Career Development Program for her project “Phase Transitions in Randomized Combinatorial Search and Optimization Problems.” This is a continuing grant from June 2019 to August 2023. Her project centers on constraint satisfaction problems (CSPS) — archetypal examples of combinatorial search/ optimization problems — with a principal aim of building mathematical theory for these problems. This project seeks to promote connections to statistical physics and computer science, where random CSPS are fundamental models.
The proposed research will focus on probability theory, with influences from developments in statistical physics and computer science. The educational component of the proposal seeks to further promote this interdisciplinary aspect, in classroom education as well as in mentorship of graduate students.
Read more about her research here.
Nike Sun joined the department as Associate Professor with tenure in September 2018. She is a leading probabilist making fundamental contributions to an area of research that intersects probability, combinatorics, theoretical computer science, and statistical physics. She completed her MASt in mathematics from Cambridge University in 2010, and her PhD in statistics from Stanford University in 2014 under Amir Dembo. Nike was subsequently appointed a Schramm Fellow at Microsoft New England and the MIT Department of Mathematics. She joined the statistics faculty at UC Berkeley as assistant professor in 2016, concurrent with a Simons Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. In 2017 Nike received the Rollo Davidson Prize for young probabilists, “for her achievements in probability theory and specifically on the random k-SAT conjecture.”