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Benjamin Heymann, PhD Candidate at l'X, Named Siebel Scholar

ARTICLE BY: Claire Lenz

École Polytechnique

January 22nd 2016

Benjamin Heymann, École Polytechnique Alumnus (Class of 2009) and currently PhD candidate at the Center of Applied Mathematics (École Polytechnique / CNRS) has been named 2016 Siebel Scholar.

The Siebel Scholars program recognizes exceptional students at the world’s leading universities in business, computer science, bioengineering, and since 2016, in energy science, providing them with a financial award for their final year of studies. The Siebel Scholars Foundation is coordinating in particular with the Siebel Energy Institute, a global consortium for innovative and collaborative energy research, which was launched in August 2015 and to which École Polytechnique participates, to distinguish very talented students in the field of energy. Benjamin Heymann, École Polytechnique Alumnus (Class of 2009) and currently PhD candidate at the Center of Applied Mathematics (École Polytechnique / CNRS), named 2016 Siebel Scholar, thus joins an active community of over 1,000 brilliant Scholars, including Sundar Pichai, 2002 Siebel Scholar, CEO of Google since 2015. A ceremony to give Benjamin Heymann the award was held on Friday, 29th of January, in presence of Jacques Biot, President of École Polytechnique, as well as Frank Pacard, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Research.

Benjamin entered École Polytechnique in 2009, where he specialized in applied mathematics and developed an interest in optimization strategies. He did his business internship at the GERAD or Group for Research in Decision Analysis at Polytechnique Montréal, where he worked on the best way to locate wind turbines in order to minimize costs, a project already involving energy. At Rutgers University, where he did his research internship, he worked on mathematical and computational biology to determine a model to simulate the pedestrian movements. He chose to do an Operations Research Master's program at Columbia University for his academic year abroad, where he enjoyed working on business cases and learning about machine learning, negotiation strategy and analytics. He then joined Nomis Solutions, a young and dynamic company working with banks on price optimization.

Benjamin came back at École Polytechnique in 2013 to do his PhD at the Center of Applied Mathematics (École Polytechnique / CNRS) under the supervision of Frédéric Bonnans. He started working on smart and micro grids, studying in particular a micro grid located in the Atacama Desert, Chile, and collaborated on that topic with the Center for Mathematical Modeling based in Santiago, Chile, under the supervision of Alejandro Jofre. This encounter then led him to work  on mechanism design applied to the field of energy. Benjamin is currently in his final year of PhD and is very excited to be part of the Siebel Scholars' community. He comments: "I am proud to be part of this powerful network which is becoming more and more active in the field of energy. It is also a business-oriented community, looking to find solutions to global problems."

Before Benjamin, Guillaume Fernet, École Polytechnique Alumnus (Class of 1999), had been named 2011 Siebel Scholar while doing his MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management. Like Benjamin, Guillaume is very involved in the field of energy: after having worked 7 years for the EDF Group and completed his MBA, he joined Energy Pool, a company working on smart energy management. Guillaume says that “the Siebel Scholars community helps you get in contact with brilliant, talented people in your field” - he enjoyed in particular the 2010 Siebel Scholars conference on Energy and Climate which took place at MIT. Guillaume regards the program as a strong asset, especially when doing a career in the US - a possibility that Benjamin is seriously considering. Meanwhile, Guillaume and Benjamin are both looking forward to helping the Siebel Scholars community grow in Europe and Asia where they are currently based.

About Siebel Scholars

The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 by the Siebel Foundation to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, bioengineering, and energy science. These include: Carnegie Mellon University; École Polytechnique; Harvard University; Johns Hopkins University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Northwestern University; Politecnico di Torino; Princeton University; Stanford University; Tsinghua University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Diego; University of Chicago; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Pennsylvania; and University of Tokyo. Today, this active community of over 1,000 leaders serves as advisors to the Siebel Foundation and works collaboratively to find solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

For more information about the Siebel Scholars program, visit