Meet KAUST Prospective Student: Igor Sokolov

M.S. student Igor Sokolov, KAUST.
-By Taruna Rapaka

Igor Sokolov, 23, is an applied mathematics and physics graduate who will join KAUST from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia. Igor first came to KAUST as a visiting student in 2019 and was highly impressed by the University's living and working facilities. It was this first impression that prompted him to pursue an M.S. at KAUST. Sokolov will join KAUST in the Fall of 2020 as an M.S. candidate under the supervision of Professor Peter Richtarik.

Igor aspires to be a mathematician who can formulate and resolve problems necessary for the data science community.

What was your main subject during your undergraduate degree? Why did you choose it?

My main subject was optimization methods. What impresses me in this branch of applied mathematics is that, on the one hand, it is a strict mathematical discipline that uses convex and functional analysis. And on the other hand, it allows an effective way to find a numerical solution to a real-world problem.

Why have you chosen to study towards an M.S. degree at KAUST?

From January to February 2019, I had a one-month internship in Peter Richtarik's research group at KAUST. The scientific atmosphere was ideal; with a focus on hard work and current research tasks. To sum up, KAUST provides excellent opportunities for working at the forefront of science.

When did your interest in applied mathematics and computational sciences arise? What are your research interests?

My interest in applied mathematics and computational sciences arose during my middle school studies.

My research interests lie in the intersection of optimization and machine learning. I am interested in both the theoretical analysis of optimization algorithms as well as their practically efficient applications.

What are your hobbies? What are you passionate about?

My hobbies include sports (jogging, badminton, snowboarding), yoga, and traveling. I am passionate about classical music: I especially like piano concertos by Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Tchaikovsky. I also love paintings by impressionist artists and Russian art from the 19th century.

Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue an M.S./Ph.D. at KAUST?

My advice is to get acquainted with your potential supervisor and visit him/her as an intern. Thus, one may get an excellent chance to understand whether your interests coincide and whether you can work together.