# ERC grants 1.9 million euro to visionary basic research in mathematics

January 18, 2010The European Research Council has awarded Professor Thierry Coquand, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, with one of the most prestigious grants within the European Union. Thierry Coquand receives the ERC Advanced Grant of more than 20 million SEK (1,9 million euro) for his research in foundation of mathematics.

The ERC grant was established in 2008 and targets world-class European senior researchers.

'It is a very exciting research area in mathematics that I get the opportunity to probe more deeply' says Thierry Coquand, professor of computing science.

The research in Coquand's area stretches back over 100 years, when the philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell coined the concept of 'types' in an effort to solve a number of mathematical problems. Thus, the concept was originally developed in response to entirely internal problems within the field of foundation of mathematics.

The so-called type theory became the most precise formulation of logic, and eventually came to also include links between mathematical proofs and computer programmes. Today, the concept of types plays an important role in the context of different programming languages for example. Type theory is also used within fields such as linguistics and language technology, since a 'type' serves as a carrier of meaning and also facilitates correct grammar in translations.

Coquand has been involved in the research project TYPES ever since it was started in the late 1980s.

Alan Turing, one of the founders of computer science, is another person who has played a critical role in the evolution of the research area. Around 1930, Turing solved Hilbert's "Entscheidungsproblem" (decision problem) by providing a rigorous definition of the mathematical concept of algorithm. While this may sound very abstract and inaccessible, Turing's definition of algorithms actually laid the foundation for digital computing as we know it. His definition has also had an enormous impact on how problems are solved in computer science.

Thierry Coquand's ERC grant is intended to push his research a step further on the path started by Bertrand Russel and Alan Turing.

'My work is a continuation of the work of Russell and Turing, and it deals mainly with a new way of connecting mathematical reasoning and algorithms, coming from more recent research in type theory' says Coquand.'But when it comes to future areas of application, I'd like to point out that the field may set off in a direction that's entirely different than we once thought. Nevertheless, the theoretical issues are extremely interesting to work with and solve, regardless of in what context the results will be applied.'

The ERC project is accepted scientifically and is now being negotiated.

Around the same time as Coquand was granted 20 million SEK (1,9 million euro) from the ERC, he learned that an application for another EU grant had been accepted as well. Coquand is the coordinator of the Formath Project, which has been granted 25 million SEK over three years. The Formath project includes three other European universities, and while it has links to the ERC grant, it is of a more concrete nature than the research visions that earned Coquand the ERC grant.

-end-

**About the ERC**

The European Research Council, ERC, is funded within EU's Seventh Framework programme and was established in 2007 with a mission to support the best researchers in Europe and eventually make Europe more globally competitive in the area of basic research.

The ERC grant is, unlike other EU grants, open to individual researchers. It does not require applicants to be part of a network. Grants are available in all areas of science, and cross-disciplinary applications are encouraged. The sole criterion is scientific excellence. (Source: The Swedish Research Council)

University of Gothenburg

## Related Mathematics Articles from Brightsurf:

A new method for boosting the learning of mathematics

How can mathematics learning in primary school be facilitated? UNIGE has developed an intervention to promote the learning of math in school.

Could mathematics help to better treat cancer?

Impaired information processing may prevent cells from perceiving their environment correctly; they then start acting in an uncontrolled way and this can lead to the development of cancer.

People can see beauty in complex mathematics, study shows

Ordinary people see beauty in complex mathematical arguments in the same way they can appreciate a beautiful landscape painting or a piano sonata.

Improving geothermal HVAC systems with mathematics

Sustainable heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, such as those that harness low-enthalpy geothermal energy, are needed to reduce collective energy use and mitigate the continued effects of a warming climate.

How the power of mathematics can help assess lung function

Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a new computational way of analyzing X-ray images of lungs, which could herald a breakthrough in the diagnosis and assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

Mathematics pushes innovation in 4-D printing

New mathematical results will provide a potential breakthrough in the design and the fabrication of the next generation of morphable materials.

More democracy through mathematics

For democratic elections to be fair, voting districts must have similar sizes.

How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics

Skin color patterns in animals arise from microscopic interactions among colored cells that obey equations discovered by Alan Turing.

US educators awarded for exemplary teaching in mathematics

Janet Heine Barnett, Caren Diefenderfer, and Tevian Dray were named the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award winners by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for their teaching effectiveness and influence beyond their institutions.

Authors of year's best books in mathematics honored

Prizes for the year's best books in mathematics were awarded to Ian Stewart and Tim Chartier by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) on Jan.

Read More: Mathematics News and Mathematics Current Events

How can mathematics learning in primary school be facilitated? UNIGE has developed an intervention to promote the learning of math in school.

Could mathematics help to better treat cancer?

Impaired information processing may prevent cells from perceiving their environment correctly; they then start acting in an uncontrolled way and this can lead to the development of cancer.

People can see beauty in complex mathematics, study shows

Ordinary people see beauty in complex mathematical arguments in the same way they can appreciate a beautiful landscape painting or a piano sonata.

Improving geothermal HVAC systems with mathematics

Sustainable heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, such as those that harness low-enthalpy geothermal energy, are needed to reduce collective energy use and mitigate the continued effects of a warming climate.

How the power of mathematics can help assess lung function

Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a new computational way of analyzing X-ray images of lungs, which could herald a breakthrough in the diagnosis and assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

Mathematics pushes innovation in 4-D printing

New mathematical results will provide a potential breakthrough in the design and the fabrication of the next generation of morphable materials.

More democracy through mathematics

For democratic elections to be fair, voting districts must have similar sizes.

How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics

Skin color patterns in animals arise from microscopic interactions among colored cells that obey equations discovered by Alan Turing.

US educators awarded for exemplary teaching in mathematics

Janet Heine Barnett, Caren Diefenderfer, and Tevian Dray were named the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award winners by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for their teaching effectiveness and influence beyond their institutions.

Authors of year's best books in mathematics honored

Prizes for the year's best books in mathematics were awarded to Ian Stewart and Tim Chartier by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) on Jan.

Read More: Mathematics News and Mathematics Current Events

Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.