Emma Hansen (she/her)

I am a PhD student in the Department of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia, working with Dr. Michael Friedlander. I completed my Master's of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Washington, where my studies focused on control theory and optimisation. I really like math. My current research focusses on optimisation over matrix spaces, with application to quantum key distribution.

Outside of academics I am an avid climber, and enjoy hiking, running, and being outdoors.


My current research focusses on optimisation of spectral functionals, these are functions which act on the eigenvalues of a matrix. Many of the methods used to analyse vector problems extend nicely to the matrix case for commuting matrices, but restricting to commuting matrices is not that practical. Extending existing methods to work in the non-commuting matrix case is one of my interests. My work is approached through the lens of studying key rate calculations for quantum key distribution protocols. This is a convex optimisation problem, over the density matrix of a quantum system, and is important in the development of new key distribution protocols. 

For a collection of course projects I've done over the years, and a list of publications, see the links at the top! 

Non-Academic Research Experience

University of Washington Mechanical Engineering

Role: Research Scientist

Supervisor: Co-advised with Steve Brunton (UW) and Zhuoyuan Song (UH)

Website: https://www.eigensteve.com/

March 2020-August 2020

Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs

Role: Intern - Motion Planning and Experiment

Host: Yebin Wang

Website: http://www.merl.com/

June 2019-August 2019


Doctor of Philosophy - Mathematics, Institute of Applied Mathematics

University of British Columbia 


Master of Science - Aeronautics and Astronautics

University of Washington

Completed 2019

Bachelor of Applied Science - Mathematics and Engineering - Applied Mechanics Option

Queen's University

Completed 2017


My parents make chocolate. Check them out! https://www.desbarreschocolate.com/ 

Contact Information