The Inverse Problems Center solves problems by essentially working backward from indirectly observed phenomena to find objects, materials, and/or biological properties that cannot be directly measured. At the core of this important center is tackling identification problems where it is either not possible or desirable to make direct measurements to make the identification.

Directed by Ford Foundation Professor Joyce McLaughlin, the center brings together an interdiscilinary group of researchers from mathematics, geosciences, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering. Examples of problems addressed at the center include finding properties of the Earth's substructure by observing seismic measurements, finding tumors in biological materials by measuring electric current or by measuring how tissue displaces when pushed, and determining the integrity of dikes using both radar measurements and dike displacement measures.

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