Graduate students Shiliang Gao and Qihang Sun have been jointly awarded the 2024 Philippe Tondeur Dissertation Prize, which was established to recognize exceptional students in their final year of the mathematics PhD program at Illinois.

Shiliang Gao

Shiliang Gao works in algebraic combinatorics with his adviser Prof. Alexander Yong. Though his research interests are expansive, his work primarily focuses on combinatorial representation theory, commutative algebra, and symmetric functions and tableau combinatorics.

Yong describes Gao as an “fantastic problem solver” who exhibits technical mastery of many subjects, with a genial personality well-suited to teaching and mentoring others in his field.

Gao is a recipient of an NSF graduate fellowship and the Irving Reiner prize at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has delivered numerous talks at institutions such as the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and MIT-Harvard-Microsoft Research.

Qihang Sun

Qihang Sun works in number theory. Most of Sun’s research focuses on analytic properties of arithmetic functions; he studies various techniques and applications of automorphic forms and spectral theory. Much of his work centers around Kloosternan sums.

Prof. Scott Ahlgren, who is Sun’s adviser says that Sun shows “enormous mathematical strength, dedication, and capacity for hard work.” During work on his thesis, Sun produced a tremendous amount of high-quality research, some of which is already impacting his field.

Two of Sun’s papers are forthcoming in the academic journals Research in Number Theory and Forum Mathematicum, respectively. This coming June, Sun will begin a postdoctoral position at the University of Lille.