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Armando Garcia

Institution/Organization: University of Texas at El Paso

Department: Physics

Academic Status: Graduate Student

What conference theme areas are you interested in:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for science and engineering;
Computation with discrete structures and graphs;
High-performance computing, emerging architectures and programming paradigms;
Inverse problems, optimization, and uncertainty quantification;
Model and dimensionality reduction;
Multiscale, multiphysics, and multilevel methods


My primary research interests are in applying Machine Learning methods to physics problems. Particularly I want to explore how tailoring ML methods to physical principles – taking advantage of the ubiquitous mathematical symmetry present in physical systems – can both make present computational physics methods more efficient and give new insight into the properties of other systems.I am interested in the application of computational statistical and numerical analysis methods to problems in science and engineering. Last spring, a colleague and I developed a data-based model for atmospheric carbon dioxide levels using Bayesian inference methods (Markov chain Monte Carlo) to optimize parameters and quantify uncertainty. That work won the Virginia Tech Math Department’s Layman Prize for Undergraduate Research, and we’re in the process of submitting the paper for publication. This semester I’m beginning work on solving an atmospheric sensing inverse problem from two different approaches, hybrid methods from linear algebra and methods from machine learning.

Non-Work Related Activities/Interests:

At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), I have a Teaching Assistantship position which I enjoy tremendously. I provide recitation workshops, tutoring and other support to hundreds of students taking introductory physics. A large majority of the students at UTEP are Hispanic. It brings me joy to guide members of the community through what many find a very difficult course. I also tutor math and physics independently. I love teaching, and teaching one-on-one is even more satisfying than in a classroom. Each student is a unique puzzle. I try to figure out what they don’t understand why, and how to bring them up to speed as fast as efficiently as possible. One of my favorite hobbies is using my telescope to do visual astronomy. I am currently using an entry level 4.5 inch diameter Newtonian telescope which I slew around by hand to look at clusters, nebulae, planets, and the moon. I also might have seen the International Space Station once. I’ve taken it fully apart and fine tuned it, added dark flocking material inside to improve contrast, and added a fan to cool down the mirror faster. I regularly bring friends and my family to observe with me, sometimes traveling out of the city to observe from less light-polluted skies. Their enthusiasm has made me want to expand my hobby into astrophotography, which I hear is the most challenging type of photography.