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.

# Home

## Department News

## Faculty News Briefs

### August 2016

Covering June, July, and August 2016

With collaborators in the UMass College of Information and Computer Sciences and at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Professor George Avrunin received a grant from the National Institutes of Health titled "Developing Standardized Intraoperative Process Models to Enhance Surgical Safety". The project involves modeling key parts of cardiac surgery using a programming language designed for systems in which human experts interact with hardware and software devices, validating the safety of those models using techniques developed for analyzing concurrent computer programs, and then generating context-aware online guidance for the surgical teams from the models. George is the PI on the UMass part of the grant, which is a subcontract to Harvard Medical School.

Graduate student Isabelle Beaudry, working with Professor Krista J Gile, won the Best Student Paper in Applied Statistics at the International Indian Statistical Association (IISA), as part of the IISA 2016 Conference held in Corvallis, OR during the period August 18-21.

In June 2016 Professor Tom Braden gave talks at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh titled "Modular Representation Theory and Hypertoric Varieties".

Visiting Assistant Professor Stathis Charalampidis and Dr. Chris Gong from Bowdoin College, a former VAP in our department, organized a session titled "Analysis and Applications of the Nonlinear Schroedinger Equation" during the SIAM Conference on Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures held in Philadelphia. On August 9, 2016 Stathis gave a talk at this session titled "Dark-Bright Solitons and Their Two-Dimensional Counterparts in Coupled Nonlinear Schrodinger Systems". Information about the session is available at http://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=23215.

Professor Erin Conlon and a team of researchers from UMass Amherst, the University of New Hampshire, and Hampshire College recently received a three-year $1.9 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy titled "The Who and How of Microbial Control over Soil Carbon Dynamics: a Multi-omics, Stable Isotope, and Modeling Approach". Kristen DeAngelis of the Department of Microbiology at UMass is the PI on the grant, and Erin is the co-PI. The project involves a systems-biology approach to the study of regulatory and metabolic networks of microbes. The long-term goal of the project is to predict the fate of soil carbon by developing mathematical and ecosystem models of soil organic-matter decomposition. These models will incorporate genetic and physiologic information on carbon-use efficiency by microbes, laying the groundwork for expanding predictions of microbial carbon-use efficiency to additional ecosystems. This work is based on experimental samples from Harvard Forest.

Professor Patrick Flaherty is part of a research team that has developed a rapid, low-cost screening method to decipher the gene mutations behind drug resistance. The new method addresses how some chemotherapy agents used on tumors and cancer can stop working because they become resistant to the drug’s effect. For details see *ScienMag*

<http://scienmag.com/deciphering-the-mutations-behind-drug-resistance/> and *Medical Xpress* <http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-07-deciphering-mutations-drug-resistance.html>.

In June 2016 Professor Nestor Guillen was a speaker at the Conference on Recent Trends on Elliptic Nonlocal Equations, held at the Fields Institute in Toronto. He was also a speaker at the 3rd Conference on Nonlocal Operators and Partial Differential Equations, held at the Stefan Banach International Mathematical Center in Bedlewo, Poland. In July Nestor taught a minicourse on Stochastic Homogenization of Elliptic Equations aimed at graduate students as part of the 2016 Gene Golub Summer School in Philadelphia.

During the summer Professor Rob Kusner was a research member of MSRI in Berkeley. He delivered a small lecture on the Hyperbolic Geometry of Relationships to a large gathering that celebrated the Montague wedding of colleagues Franz Pedit and Allison Tanguay in June.

On June 27, 2016 Professor Michael Lavine gave a talk at the Army Research Office titled "WHIM: Function Approximation Where It Matters".

Professor Yao Li, together with Molei Tao from Georgia Tech, organized a special session "SS82: Numerical Simulations and Computations for Stochastic Dynamics" at the 11th AIMS Conference on Dynamical Systems, Differential Equations and Applications. The conference was held in Orlando, FL during the period July 1-5, 2016. Yao also gave two talks at the conference. The first, given in the special session that he organized, was titled "A Fast Simulation Method for Markov Jump Processes. The second, given in another special section, was titled “Systematic Measures of ODE-Modeled Complex Networks". In August 2016 Yao gave two invited talks both titled “Polynomial Convergence Rate to Nonequilibrium Steady-State”. The first talk was given on August 1, 2016 in Shenzhen, China at the International Conference on Statistical Properties of Nonequilibrium Dynamical Systems. The second talk was given on August 30 at the PIMS/AMI Seminar at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Professor Franz Pedit organized the session "Progress in Surface Geometry" at the 2016 Differential Geometry and Applications Conference held in Brno, Czech Republic during the period July 11-15, 2016. As an editor of the *Journal of Differential Geometry and Applications*, he was invited and participated in the editorial meeting of the journal.

Professor Eric Sommers gave an invited talk at the "Nilpotent Orbits and Representation Theory" workshop, held June 13-16, 2016 at the Scuola Normale in Pisa, Italy. His talk was titled “A Family of Weyl Group Representations”. In August he visited Japan for the Summer Conference on Hyperplane Arrangements, held August 8-12, 2016 at Hokkaido University (our own President William S. Clark became the first leader of Hokkaido University in 1876). At this conference Eric gave a talk titled "From Hyperplane Arrangements to Families of Weyl Group Representations". While there, he also visited the new Global Station for Data Science and Cybersecurity, which will host long-term visits by faculty from UMass Amherst and other institutions.

From May 17 until August 3, 2016 Visiting Assistant Professor Yaping Yang visited Professor Marc Levine at the University Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany. On August 5 she gave a talk at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. The title of her talk was "Quantum Groups and Cohomology Theories".

Professor Hongkun Zhang had a busy summer organizing an international conference as well as a workshop. The International Conference on Statistical Properties of Nonequilibrium Dynamical Systems was held in the South University of Science and Technology of China (SUSTC) in Shenzhen, China, from July 27 until August 2, 2016. In conjunction with that conference a workshop was held during the period July 4-26, 2016. Visiting Assistant Professor Jianyu Chen helped Hongkun organize both the conference and the workshop. The goal of the workshop and conference was to bring together an excellent group of researchers from around the world to discuss new research results and to explore new ideas and powerful new mathematical tools to deepen our theoretical understanding of the dynamical underpinnings of non-equilibrium systems and classical statistical physics. More than 120 people participated in the conference, including many leading world-experts in several research fields. At the workshop Hongkun gave a series of lectures on "Ergodic and Statistical Properties of Billiards". The conference and workshop were sponsored by SUSTC as well as Hongkun's NSF conference grant, which is funded by the Analysis Program in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at NSF.

From May 17 until August 3, 2016 Visiting Assistant Professor Gufang Zhao visited the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany. During August 2016 Gufang visited Zhejiang University. On August 5 he gave a seminar talk titled "Elliptic Quantum Groups and Affine Grassmannians over an Elliptic Curve".