Two women researchers from l’X win 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards
This year, the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have given two "For Women and Science" Awards to Sabrina Ouazzani, postdoctoral researcher at the École Polytechnique Computer Science Laboratory, and Olga Chashchina, PhD researcher at the l’X Hydrodynamics Laboratory.
Sabrina Ouazzani’s work focuses on "infinite-time computability". In order to understand what esoteric concepts hide behind this term, we must head back to 1930 and the birth of logic programming, which in turn gave rise to modern digital technology. Researchers at the time were gradually realizing that some problems could not be solved using an algorithm (that is, a series of calculations; actions to be performed in a specific order to arrive at a result) and thus, computability came to be. This field, found at the very core of fundamental computer science, aims to characterize and categorize problems that are solvable using a computer.
Sabrina Ouazzani is more specifically interested in computability in infinite time. If we follow the hypothesis that a machine has an infinite amount of time for performing calculations, is it possible, once the infinite time has elapsed, to gather information that would allow us to move a problem closer to its solution? This question draws on the notion of limits used in mathematics, but the researcher’s work goes further. What if, at the end of this infinite time, we recalculated using another infinite amount of time? And then again using another infinite number, and again as before? These consecutive infinities, called ordinals, could help build an innovative framework to better grasp the hyper-advanced information technology of tomorrow.
Olga Chashchina (X2009)
At LadHyX, Olga Chashchina works in a research team under the direction of Abdul I. Barakat, a CNRS research director interested in fundamental understanding of the development of cardiovascular diseases and the performance of medical equipment, such as stents, used for endovascular surgery. Such equipment has allowed great progress to be made in fighting cardiovascular diseases, but it is still unknown how stents evolve within the body and they carry real risks of serious complications. Today, new stents are tested in cell cultures, ignoring mechanical factors; or in tubes, which does not account for biological factors. However, LadHyX offers a more physiologically useful model with its artificial artery that brings together these two aspects and creates conditions closer to those found in the body. The artery may also be monitored in real time using quantitative measurements. With this innovative system, Olga Chashchina’s PhD research focuses on studying how the rigidity of the artery wall affects its healing after a stent has been fitted, and the effect of blood flow on cell behavior.
In collaboration with Sensome, a start-up from LadHyX, Olga is also researching the insertion of electronic sensors into the artery and analyzing their signals, in order to predict the appearance of the cell structure within the artery, non-invasively. With this study, Barakat’s research team seeks to minimize stent-related complications, while also exploring the usefulness of in vitro arteries for other areas of vascular study