Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Phylogenetic networks: Best student thesis

At the recent conference of the Landelijk Netwerk Mathematische Besliskunde (Dutch Network on the Mathematics of Operations Research) it was announced that Leo van Iersel (now at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, in Amsterdam) was awarded the Gijs de Leve Prize for best operations research Ph.D. thesis of the last 3 years.

 Leo’s thesis, submitted in January 2009 to the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, covers single individual haplotyping, population haplotyping, and phylogenetic networks. As part of the award Leo gave a talk on "Phylogenetic Networks: Reconstructing Evolution" [PDF of the slides].

Apparently, phylogenetic networks are now being treated as a respectable part of mathematics. This is a not inconsiderable step. Phylogenetics has not hitherto been a notable component of discrete mathematics, although discrete mathematics, particularly combinatorics, has long been a major part of phylogenetics.

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