Prof. Mireille Boutin

Narrative Bio

Mireille Boutin was born in Canada in the province of Quebec. She grew up in a small village surrounded by books and animals near an asbestos mining town. As a teenager, she discovered the beauty of physics through introductory books on Einstein's relativity and the astrophysics texts of Hubert Reeves. Her heart was set on studying physics in college when she met Martin Bolduc, a CEGEP physics teacher who became her mentor. Bolduc pointed out her natural mathematical rigor and encouraged her to train in mathematics as well. On his recommendation, she moved to Montreal and enrolled in a Bachelor's degree in Physics-Mathematics in 1993.

During the first summer of her studies, she was selected to participated in a NSERC funded undergraduate research experience and joined the team of Prof. Sjoerd Roorda. That summer, she learned to use a particle accelerator and studied the properties of porous silicone. Her labmates included Khalid Laaziri, Marc Verhaegen, and many others.

The second summer, she was again selected to receive an NSERC summer research fellowship and worked with Prof. Veronique Hussin in mathematical-physics. Prof. Hussin sponsored her attendance to the European Summer School on Group Theory in Valladolid, Spain that summer, where she met Prof. Peter Olver, would would later become her Ph.D. advisor.

She received the B.Sc. degree in Physics-Mathematics from the University de Montreal in 1996. The summer following her graduation, before moving to Minnesota for her Ph.d., she worked on quantum computing in the lab of Prof. Gilles Brassard. Her lab mates included Christopher Fuchs and Alain Tapp.

Moving to Minneapolis to Pursue a PhD in mathematics, she joined the student team of Prof. Peter Olver, which at the time included Irina Kogan, Vladimir Itskov, David Richter and Mikhail Foursov. There she worked on the invariant representation of discretized submanifolds. She was awarded a doctoral dissertation fellowship by the University and she received the department’s Best Thesis Award for her thesis titled “On Invariant of Lie Group Actions and their Application to Some Equivalence Problems.”

After receiving a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2001,  she pursued post-doctoral studies with Prof. David Mumford, Prof. David Cooper and Prof. Ben Kimia at Brown University. There she met Kathryn Leonard, with whom she founded the Rose Whelan Society, as well as Pierre-Louis Bazin with whom she worked on structure for motion.  She also interacted with Senem Velipasalar, who discussed the idea of representing objects using statistics, which provided Boutin with the initial inspiration for her work on unlabeled distance geometry.

In 2002, she moved to Leipzig, Germany, to pursue post-doctoral studies with Prof. Stefan Muller at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences. She joined Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2004. She is now an Associate Professor with tenure, and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Mathematics.

Since coming to Purdue, she has supervised a total of 9 Ph.D. students (6 in ECE, 3 in Math) and 3 Master’s thesis students. 

She was on the editorial team of the journal  “Applicable Algebra in Engineering, Communication and Computing”, published by Springer, for over 10 years. She is now an associate editor for the journal “IEEE Signal Processing Letters” and for the journal “IEEE Transactions on Image Processing.”

She served for three years as chair of the Central Indiana Section of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. Thereafter, she took the position of Region 1-6 Representative for the SPS Chapters Committee. She was also the Publication Chair and the SigView Chair for the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) held in Quebec City in 2015. She now sits on the Image, Video and Multi-Dimensional Signal Processing (IVMSP) Technical committee of IEEE and is a senior member of IEEE.

She is the instigator of Project Rhea, a student-driven online learning website featuring material created by students. She is the co-founder (with Kathryn Leonard) of the Rose Whelan Society, an organization for women graduate students and post-doctorate in mathematics/applied mathematics at Brown University.

She is the recipient of the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Professor Award, the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Wilfred “Duke” Hesselberth Award for Teaching Excellence.  She is also a three time recipient of Purdue’s seed for success award.

Her main research areas are applicable mathematics, signal processing, and machine learning for big and small data applications. In particular, she is working on data science problems related to medical diets (PKU) and signal processing issues arising in wearable sensor applications.