Profiles in Applied Math

 Adrianna GillmanAdrianna Gillman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics. After Dr. Gillman graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics in 2006 from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), she came to the University of Colorado, Boulder, graduating with a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 2011.

In her own words describing her work, Gillman said: “My work lies in the intersection of numerical PDEs and numerical linear algebra. What I try to do is design algorithms that allow people to model things they couldn’t model otherwise or allow them to do simulations on a desktop computer that they would normally ship out to a supercomputer.”

Before coming to CU, Dr. Gillman was a John Wesley Young Research Instructor at Dartmouth College until 2014, when she became an Assistant Professor at Rice University.

Dr. Gillman is currently teaching Intermediate Numerical Analysis 1 (Fall 2019) and has taught many courses at Dartmouth and Rice, including Numerical Linear Algebra, Numerical Methods for PDEs, Differential Equations in Science and Engineering, Calculus, Chaos Theory, and more, which can be found on her personal website.


Q: What is your favorite part of your work?

A: “I am ecstatic when I can solve a problem that no one else has been able to before. That’s been a huge moment with high-frequency Helmholtz, which is a problem that people have been struggling with since computers existed, and I’m able to do it and the fact that I’m able to do it on a laptop or desktop is pretty cool. Also, graduating my first student and seeing the members of my group succeed is rewarding as well.”


Q: What does mentoring mean to you?

A: “I’ve had 4 students: 2 student’s that I’ve co-advised. My first student graduated in the spring, and another student that followed me from Rice will graduate in the spring. To me, there are measures of success; if people are using my work and citing my work, that’s awesome, but if I am able to give my unique skillset to students and have them be successful, I find that very rewarding.”


Q: Given the vast number of places you’ve been to and given talks at, how is CU unique?

A: “CU is a unique environment. It’s a lot less formal than a place like Oxford and open dialogue is a lot easier. My classroom is very interactive, which makes it far more enjoyable. It’s already a performance, so when you have interaction that you know something’s going in, that you know you’re not just talking to yourself, that’s really fun.”


Q: What advice would you give to a student in the department?

A.“Be curious and ambitious. If you’re curious, you’ll find solutions to problems just by exploration. Reach for whatever it is that you want, and you can succeed even when you don’t think you can.”