I joined the mathematics department at Princeton University on Feb. 1st, 2016 as an instructor, then as an assistant professor July 1st, 2018. I interact closely with PACM (the program in applied mathematics).

I am an applied mathematician working on optimization, statistical estimation and numerical analysis. Much of what I do is related to nonconvex optimization and optimization on manifolds. For the latter, I develop a toolbox called Manopt. A reference in this field is the book Optimization Algorithms on Matrix Manifolds.

Research topics:

  • Nonconvex optimization (computational complexity, global optimality)
  • Optimization on Riemannian manifolds
  • Synchronization (estimation from pairwise information)
  • Semidefinite programs and relaxations in low-rank form
  • Low-rank optimization
  • Statistical estimation, notably under group actions
  • Single particle reconstruction in cryo-electron microscopy
  • curve fitting on manifolds

Positions prior to Princeton:





Journal papers


Conference papers





Nicolas Boumal
Fine Hall, Dptmt of Mathematics
Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

Office: 607 (6th floor)
E-mail: nboumal@math.princeton.edu

Miscellaneous facts

At UCLouvain, my office mate was Romain Hollanders.
In Paris, my office mates were Amit Bermanis, Damien Scieur and Vianney Perchet.

My Erdös number is 3, courtesy of my co-author and PhD advisor Vincent Blondel.

Research will get you places! It got me in: Palo Alto, Boston, Princeton, London, Prague, Cannes, Lisbon, Milan, Dagstuhl, Granada, Sierra Nevada, Valencia, Berlin, Les Houches, Costa da Caparica, Paris, Florence, San Diego, Bordeaux, Montréal, Bonn, Pittsburgh, Oxford, Geneva, New York City, Barcelona, Vancouver, Ames, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Stockholm, Lausanne, Oaxaca, Villars-sur-Ollon... and various places in Belgium (Louvain-la-Neuve, Leuven, Liège, La Roche, Mons, Knokke, Daverdisse, Spa, Namur, Bruxelles...).

Teaching at Princeton University

  • Linear algebra with applications (MAT202), Spring 2016, 2017
  • Numerical methods (MAT321), Fall 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, lecture notes
  • Junior seminar (optimization on manifolds, MAT982), Spring 2018
  • Junior seminar (math of data science through cryo-electron microscopy, MAT982), Fall 2018
  • Junior seminar (math of data science, MAT982), Fall 2019
  • Optimization on smooth manifolds (graduate course, MAT588), Spring 2019, 2020

Teaching at UCLouvain

  • Mathématiques 1 (FSAB1101), TA, autumn 2008, autumn 2009
  • Projet 1 (FSAB1501), TA, autumn 2010
  • Théorie des Matrices (INMA2380), TA, spring 2011, autumn 2013
  • Signaux et Systèmes (LFSAB1106), TA, autumn 2011
  • Analyse numérique : approximation, interpolation, intégration (LINMA2171), TA, autumn 2011 and 2012
  • Mathématiques 2 (LFSAB1102), TA, spring 2012
  • Modélisation et analyse des systèmes dynamiques (LINMA2370), TA, autumn 2012
  • Projet en ingénierie mathématique (LINMA2360), TA, spring 2012 and 2013
  • Projet en mathématiques appliquées (LINMA1375), TA, spring 2013
  • Systèmes dynamiques non linéaires (LINMA2361), TA, autumn 2013

An introduction to optimization on smooth manifolds

To be available soonish: a first draft of my introductory lecture notes for optimization on smooth manifolds. In the meantime, feel free to reach out by e-mail to ask for a private PDF copy.