ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Kate Smith-Miles from The University of Melbourne, is an applied mathematician. Her Australian Laureate Fellowship is developing mathematical techniques to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of algorithms essential to a wide range of fields such as machine learning, forecasting and software testing. Her methodology is being adopted by groups around the world, accelerating in uptake since she recently launched an online tool called MATILDA (Melbourne Algorithm Test Instance Library with Data Analytics).

In addition to her Laureate project, Professor Smith-Miles was awarded a 2014 Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship. This additional award enables her to be an ambassador in a science and technology discipline, promoting women in research and mentoring early career researchers, particularly women, to enter and establish careers in research in Australia.

She remembers being inspired in her schooling to see the beauty in mathematics and enjoys sharing her love of the discipline to future students. She believes that female role models can be critical to success and she has tried to inspire girls through frequent public lectures and her YouTube video on Myth-Busting Mathematics.

In her role as Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS), Professor Smith-Miles mentors many researchers including Dr Sevvandi Kandanaarachchi, a female postdoctoral fellow who is working in a research team using mathematics and statistics to identify anomalous events such as assessing the risk of a bushfire igniting from vegetation on powerlines.

As a supervisor, Professor Smith-Miles says she finds it particularly rewarding to mentor the next generation to become independent researchers who generate their own successes.

Professor Smith-Miles loves teaching and training the next generation. She encourages students and academics to follow their passions first and highlights the importance of keeping everything in balance while striving for the satisfaction that comes from creating a positive impact on the world.

YouTube video: Myth-busting Mathematics | Professor Kate Smith-Miles
Credit: Monash Education

Image: Mathematician Professor Kate Smith-Miles.
Credit: The University of Melbourne.