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  • 2011, Grand Cayman Island
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Photo Collage of Elmira Popova

Elmira Popova, 1997, in Nessebar, Bulgaria

Elmira Popova, 1997, in Nessebar, Bulgaria

View a collage of personal photos designed and produced by Kami Loukipoudis, Dr. Popova's niece (3.7MB file).


Elmira Popova passed away on Sunday, July 22, in Austin, Texas, after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She grew up in Rousse, Bulgaria, placing in the top 10 in the Bulgarian Mathematics Olympiads in 1980. She earned an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Sofia and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Case Western Reserve University. In 1995 Elmira joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Operations Research & Industrial Engineering in the Mechanical Engineering Department. She rose through the academic ranks to Professor as the Robert and Jane Mitchell Endowed Faculty Fellow in Engineering. In 1999 Elmira received the Halliburton/Brown & Root Young Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching and Research, and in 2008 she was named a Fulbright Scholar. In the 2010-2011 academic year, Elmira served as the Chair of the Graduate Assembly at The University of Texas at Austin. She also served as the Chair of Plenary talks for the Annual INFORMS Conference hosted in Austin in 2010.

Elmira's primary research areas were in stochastic processes, computational Bayesian statistics, and stochastic optimization. She had an eight-year collaboration with the Risk Management Group at South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company on developing risk-informed models for estimating system reliability. Her research was also funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Electric Power Research Institute. Elmira spent two years on Wall Street, where she developed high-frequency trading strategies and asset allocation models.

She is survived by her son Borislav, her twin sister Ivilina, and her niece Kamelia.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance would be appreciated.

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