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The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is a community of scholars committed to excellence in research and instruction. We offer a comprehensive set of curricula in our disciplines, from introductory-level general education courses to doctoral dissertation direction and postdoctoral mentoring. Undergraduate majors enjoy a broad array of options through which they can earn the bachelor's degree, and can also apply to participate in summer research activities. The Department's Ph.D. program appears among the top public graduate programs in the recent National Research Council rankings. The M.S. programs in both Applied Mathematics and Statistics contribute to an important pipeline of professionally trained students who enter the high-technology industrial sector.

Faculty News Briefs

May 2018

Calden named Instructional Innovation Fellow

Four faculty from the College of Natural Sciences, including our own Senior Lecturer Adena Calden, were recently selected through a highly competitive process to participate in the Summer 2018 Innovate@ Symposium that runs 21-24 May 2018. These symposia, led as a collaboration between TEFD, UMass Libraries, and IT, provide a unique opportunity to have hands-on instruction, to work with colleagues, and then try out the tools. Symposia members will also become part of an innovation think tank as Innovation Fellows that will be brought together to consider new instructional innovations throughout the academic year.

Over a hundred UMass faculty have participated in the Innovate@ Symposium. Including the four most recent additions, there are now 29 Innovation Fellows in the College of Natural Sciences. Each Innovate Fellow has an innovation page where they discuss their proposed instructional innovations, upload videos of presentations to the Symposium participants, or highlight recent accomplishments.

Austin Rohlfing, Math Undergrad, wins Grinspoon Award

Austin Rohlfing was presented with a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award on 25 April. Austin’s startup, TernBooking, has combined travel accommodations with savings and budgeting for a trip. TernBooking has competed in four rounds of Berthiaume Center’s Innovation Challenge and currently maintains work space in the Berthiaume incubator. The venture will also participate in Berthiaume’s 2018 Summer Accelerator program.

Kudos to our three SCUDEM teams

On Saturday 21 April, three teams from UMass Amherst presented their work for the Spring 2018 Student Competition Using Differential Equations Modeling (SCUDEM). Starting on 13 April, each team of three students worked together on their choice of one of three modeling scenarios. On the day of the competition, they were given an additional twist to their problem to address, before presenting their model in a 2-page executive summary as well as a 10-minute presentation.

The first team, consisting of Enya Truong, Henry Phan, and Sharath Ramkumar worked on "Modeling the Cool Kids," using graph theory and Markov Chains to explain how clusters of social interactions form and break. The second team, consisting of Fusheng Yang, Joe Shao, and Hui Kennedy worked on "Sorting Recyclables," where they modeled the separation of paper and cardboard materials with a fan. Their model included the differences in acceleration and drag on the two materials, and they were awarded "meritorious" mention. The third team, consisting of Jonah Chaban, Jimmy Hwang, and Artem Vysogorets also worked on "Sorting Recyclables." They included detailed modeling of tumbling paper along with random orientation of the paper stream, and they were awarded an "outstanding" mention (they also finished first in the Fall 2017 competition).

Assistant Professor Matthew Dobson served as the faculty coach for our three teams, and also led the morning development session for the other faculty coaches.

And in other news....

Professors Tom Braden and Rob Kusner, Visiting Assistant Professor Jacob Matherne (who's heading to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton next year - kudos to Jacob), and PhD candidate Andrew Havens were among attendees at the Spring AMS sectional meeting at Northeastern University. On 21 April, Tom gave a talk in the Arrangements of Hypersurfaces special session on "Equivariant cohomology and intersection cohomology of a completion of a hyperplane arrangement," while Rob spoke on "Geometry and stability of critical point-configurations in $S^2$ and critical links in $S^3$" at the Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics special session 22 April.

Vlad Emelyanov, a graduating senior in CS with a Mathematics minor, developed online assessment materials for statistics courses at UMass this semester under the supervision of VAP Eric Hall. These resources were also contributed to the Open Problem Library of WeBWorK, a nationally used open-source online homework system supported by the MAA and NSF. This curriculum development project was undertaken with a Flex Grant from the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Distinguished Professor Panos Kevrekidis has published his third paper in Nature Communications this academic year . In addition to To infinity and some glimpses of beyond and Direct measurement of superdiffusive energy transport in disordered granular chains, his paper Interactions and scattering of quantum vortices in a polariton fluid has just appeared. Panos's new book, co-authored with VAP Christopher Chong, on Coherent Structures in Granular Crystals: From Experiment and Modelling to Computation and Mathematical Analysis has also been published recently by Springer-Verlag.

During 2-3 April, Professor Michael Lavine served on a committee reviewing the Department of Computer Science & Statistics at the University of Rhode Island. He also delivered a talk at the New England Statistics Symposium, held at UMass on 14 April. Patrick Flaherty and Anna Liu were among the organizers of the Symposium.

Professor Ivan Mirkovic reports that "one of our faculty has been elected as a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in the picturesque Balkan country of Croatia" - here "corresponding" means the member lives outside the country - kudos to Ivan!

At Northeastern University on 5 April, and at Yale University on 26 April, Marshall H. Stone VAP Luca Schaffler gave seminar talks titled "Equations for point configurations to lie on a rational normal curve."

News Briefs will return in the Fall. Have a pleasant summer!