French mathematician Yves Meyer has won the prestigious 2017 Abel Prize for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets (small waves or ripples).
His theory is used for applications ranging from image compression to the detection of gravitational waves from the merging of black holes. It also allowed scientists to create unique wavelet transforms suited to specific signals.
About Abel Prize
- It is awarded annually by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters to one or more outstanding mathematicians. It is named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.
- The award was established by the Government of Norway in 2001. It is described as the mathematician’s Nobel Prize and is one of the world’s top prizes in mathematics
- It carries monetary award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) (around 600,000 Euros).
- Indian American mathematician R. Srinivasa Varadhan was bestowed with this award in 2007 for his fundamental contributions to probability theory and for creating a unified theory of large deviation.
Wavelets are widely used in signal processing, including in compressing certain formats of JPEG images. They are like their more famous cousins Fourier transforms. They are particularly useful when the goal is to discard some extraneous information (such as low-frequency noise from the universe) while keeping the important signal.