The New York Times honours a Belgian mathematician


Ingrid Daubechies is not that well known in Belgium, but she is one of the most influential Belgians in the world as the founder of "the digital image". Born in 1954 in Houthalen, Limburg, she is a global authority in the field of wavelets (waveform vibrations) for image compression.

She started her career as a lecturer in physics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and is now at the top of the international scene, teaching mathematics at renowned American universities. Her global reputation stems from her work on wavelet decomposition, which is used primarily in data compression. This technique makes it possible to reduce the size of digital information (quality of the information compressed from the complete information), and to accelerate the display of the information (quality of the display from a compressed file). This last use is essential for cartographic documents where the quality and size of the useful information are considerable.

The woman whom the New York Times has called the Meryl Streep of mathematics has also been honoured in our country, with King Philippe awarding her the title of baroness in 2014. Previously, on 1 January 2011, she became the first female President of the International Mathematical Union.