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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 2015

Professor Tom Braden attended a workshop on Enveloping Algebras and Geometric Representation Theory at the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach, and a conference on Representation Theory and Geometry of Symplectic Resolutions at Northeastern University. He gave a talk titled “Ringel Duality for Perverse Sheaves on Hypertoric Varieties” at both meetings.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Efstathios Charalampidis gave a talk at the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems held in Snowbird, Utah. The talk was titled “Vector Rogue Waves and Dark-Bright Boomeronic Solitons in Autonomous and Non-Autonomous Settings.”

Professor Matthew Dobson presented a poster on “Cell List Algorithms for Nonequilibrium Molecular Dynamics” at The Tony and Pat Houghton Conference on Non-Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics. The conference was held at ICERM at Brown University during the period May 4–5, 2015.

Donald Geman, a faculty member in our department from 1970 to 2001, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in April 2015 “in recognition of [his] distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Don is currently in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Johns Hopkins University. In 1984 Don and his brother Stuart, who is at Brown University, published one of the landmark papers in statistics, “Stochastic Relaxation, Gibbs Distributions, and the Bayesian Restoration of Images” (IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 6). Additional background on Don’s work and his election to NAS is given at http://www.bme.jhu.edu/news-events/news-highlights.php?id=504.

Professor Markos Katsoulakis was a keynote speaker at the International Symposium for Big Data and Predictive Computational Modeling, which was held at the Technical University of Munich during the period May 18–20, 2015. The symposium included plenary talks from 12 researchers in the areas of Uncertainty Quantification and Computational Statistics/Machine Learning. The emphasis of the meeting was on identifying synergies and common themes for these communities and innovative research directions that can accelerate the impact of uncertainty modeling and computing in engineering and the sciences. Details on the symposium are given at http://www.tum-ias.de/bigdata2015/focus-impact.html.

At the Lehigh University Geometry and Topology Conference on May 23, 2015, Professor Rob Kusner gave a lecture titled “Critical Configurations of Hard Disks on the 2-Sphere.” The following Wednesday, May 27, Rob served on a PhD panel at Drexel University for Jingmin Chen. Rob and Jingmin’s Drexel advisor Thomas Yu have been advising and collaborating with Jingmin on the Willmore, Canham and Helfrich Problems, which characterize the shapes of equilibrium vesicles under various constraints. Rob describes the event as being like a “homecoming” since exactly a century earlier his father’s father earned a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering at Drexel University at the peak of the vacuum-tube era.

On May 14, 2015 Professor Michael Lavine delivered a seminar, “Approximately Exact Calculations for Linear Mixed Models,” in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Ioannis Pantazis won a $50,000 award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as the bronze medal recipient in a predictive modeling contest. The contest focuses on the debilitating, mosquito-borne disease known as the chikungunya virus. The goal is to accurately forecast how the disease might spread in the Americas and the Caribbean. DARPA wants to find technologies that U.S. health officials can use to make decisions in the case of an outbreak. The announcement of the award points out that the participants, which include Ioannis, “identified gaps in current forecasting capabilities and created a set of tools that can immediately help improve forecasting and guide response decisions for the current chikungunya outbreak.” Details are given at http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2015-05-27.

During the period May 18–20, 2015 Professor Hongkun Zhang co-organized the Dynamical Systems, Ergodic Theory and Probability Conference Dedicated to the Memory of Nikolai Chernov. The conference was held at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. At the conference she gave a talk titled “Optimal Bounds for Decay Rates of Colorations of Nonuniformly Hyperbolic Systems.”