Q&A: Chris Rackauckas on the equations at the heart of practically everything

Some people pass the time with hobbies like crossword puzzles or Sudoku. When Chris Rackauckas has a spare moment, he often uses it to answer questions about numerical differential equations that people have posed online. Rackauckas — previously an MIT applied mathematics instructor, now an MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) research affiliate and the co-principal investigator of the MIT Julia Lab — has already posted thousands of these answers, and if you have a question, the odds are that he has already addressed it. His research, unsurprisingly, revolves around differential equations and on computational methods — using AI and other techniques — to solve them quickly and efficiently.

During his graduate studies in mathematics at the University of California at Irvine, which earned him a PhD in 2018, Rackauckas focused on medical and pharmacological applications of his work. In fact, he developed the core software and…
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