SIAM Unwrapped April 2014

News & announcements for the SIAM membership community

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Dear SIAM members,

Did you know that SIAM offers discounted member rates for members of other mathematical societies? SIAM has a reciprocity agreement with 12 societies: view the entire list. If you would like to change your membership to a “reciprocal” category, contact SIAM Customer Service at

Also, a reminder to all members (and especially students at this time of year) that if you are moving or intend to move, please update your records at Read the rest of this entry »

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SIAM VT Chapter hosts SIAM Past President Nick Trefethen

Boris Kramer of the Virginia Tech SIAM chapter gives us a recap of the Past President’s visit to VT: 

The SIAM Student Chapter at Virginia Tech was excited to welcome Dr. Nick Trefethen, former SIAM president, to our campus in Blacksburg, VA. Dr. Trefethen was a guest of the College of Science’s Academy of Integrated Science. He gave the initial lecture in the distinguished lecture series associated with the Computational Modeling and Data Analytics initiative. Dr Trefethen also kindly agreed to give a special talk for the Virginia Tech SIAM Student Chapter, which was attended by both graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Trefethen talked about Chebfun, an extensive Matlab computing toolbox based on Chebyshev approximations of continuous functions. During the presentation, we were able to interactively try out various features of the toolbox on our laptops, which was very insightful and fun. Overall, this event successfully broadened our chapter’s visibility on campus and was a nice add-on to our regular biweekly speaker series.

Read the rest of this entry »

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April Issue of SIAM News Online

The April issue of SIAM News is now available online.

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Overcoming structural uncertainty in computer models

What is good enough to aid health economics decision making?

Philadelphia, PA—A computer model is a representation of the functional relationship between one set of parameters, which forms the model input, and a corresponding set of target parameters, which forms the model output. A true model for a particular problem can rarely be defined with certainty. The most we can do to mitigate error is to quantify the uncertainty in the model.

In a recent paper published in the SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification, authors Mark Strong and Jeremy Oakley offer a method to incorporate judgments into a model about structural uncertainty that results from building an “incorrect” model.

“Given that ‘all models are wrong,’ it is important that we develop methods for quantifying our uncertainty in model structure such that we can know when our model is ‘good enough’,” author Mark Strong says. “Better models mean better decisions.” Read the rest of this entry »

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FY 2015 Budget Request: Programs in applied mathematics and computational science

From Lewis-Burke Associates LLC: 

President Obama proposes significant national investments in agencies and programs critical to the applied mathematics and computational science research communities:

  • National Science Foundation  – $7.255 billion in FY 2015 (1.2 percent above the FY 2014 enacted funding level); DMS would see a decrease of 0.5 percent from the FY 2014 level.
  • Department of Energy’s Office of Science – $5.11 billion in FY 2015 (0.9 percent above the FY 2014 level), with Advanced Scientific Computing Research increasing 13.2 percent over the FY 2014 level;
  • Department of Defense Basic Research – $2.02 billion in FY 2015 (6.9 percent down from the FY 2014 level), with DARPA Defense Research Sciences decreasing by 0.9 percent from the FY 2014 request level.
  • National Institutes of Health – $30.4 billion in FY 2015 (0.7 percent over the FY 2014 level).

Please see a full report of Programs of Interest to the Applied Mathematics and Computational Science Communities in the President’s FY 2015 Budget Request.


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National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

From the NSF: 

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is a new NSF graduate education initiative. It is designed to encourage the development of bold, new, potentially transformative, and scalable models for STEM graduate training that ensure that graduate students develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers.

The NRT program initially has one priority research theme – Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (DESE); in addition, proposals are encouraged on any other crosscutting, interdisciplinary theme. In either case, proposals should identify the alignment of project research themes with national research priorities and the need for innovative approaches to train graduate students in those areas. NRT projects should develop evidence-based, sustainable approaches and practices that substantially improve STEM graduate education for NRT trainees and for STEM graduate students broadly at an institution. NRT emphasizes the development of competencies for both research and research-related careers.

View more details on the NSF site here.

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SIAM names 2014 Class of Fellows

Each year, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) designates as Fellows of the society members who have made outstanding contributions to fields served by SIAM.

This year, SIAM is happy to recognize 32 members of the community for this honor. Fellows are nominated by peers for their distinguished contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science and related disciplines.

The Class of 2014 Fellows, listed below in alphabetical order, will be recognized at the 2014 SIAM Annual Meeting to be held in Chicago in July. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Spotlights book series from SIAM will illuminate timely topics

SIAM Spotlights is a new book series that comprises brief and enlightening books on timely topics in applied and computational mathematics, and scientific computing. The books, spanning 125 pages or less, will be produced on an accelerated schedule with attractive pricing. For more information, please visit:

Do you have a manuscript (or an idea for one) that may be right for Spotlights? Potential authors should contact Elizabeth Greenspan ( or Sara Murphy (

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Richard Tapia receives 2014 Vannevar Bush Award

The National Science Board (NSB) has named mathematician Richard Tapia as the 2014 recipient of its Vannevar Bush Award. Dr. Tapia, Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering in the department of computational and applied mathematics at Rice University, is a leading figure in mentoring minorities in science, engineering and mathematics fields.

Tapia will receive the award–which was initiated in 1980 in memory of Vannevar Bush, who helped establish federal funding for science and engineering as a national priority–on May 6 during the National Science Foundation/NSB Annual Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC.

Tapia was SIAM’s I.E. Block Community Lecturer in 1999, and is a SIAM Fellow.

To read more details on the Vannevar Bush Award and the full press release, visit:

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First Annual Howard County Math Festival

On Wednesday January 29th, Centennial High School held the first annual Howard County Math Festival. Dr. Jeffrey Sieracki, President of the SIAM Washington-Baltimore Section, had the opportunity to organize a presentation which illustrated various every day occurrences that could be modeled using mathematics.

Pictured: (L-R) Jonathan McHenry (President of SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC), Cherre Jefferson (SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC Officer), Stefan Doboszczak (SIAM Member at UMCP), Stephanie Young (SIAM Member at UMCP), Dr. Jeff Sieracki (President of the SIAM Washington-Baltimore Section), Zana Coulibaly (SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC Webmaster) and Dr. Matthias K. Gobbert (Professor of Mathematics, UMBC)

Pictured: (L-R) Jonathan McHenry (President of SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC), Cherre Jefferson (SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC Officer), Stefan Doboszczak (SIAM Member at UMCP), Stephanie Young (SIAM Member at UMCP), Dr. Jeff Sieracki (President of the SIAM Washington-Baltimore Section), Zana Coulibaly (SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC Webmaster) and Dr. Matthias K. Gobbert (Professor of Mathematics, UMBC)

SIAM Student Chapter members from UMBC (Jonathan S. McHenry, Zana Coulibaly, Cherre Jefferson) and students from UMCP (Stefan Doboszczak, Stephanie Young) volunteered to join Dr Sieracki in order to promote mathematics by sharing our experiences as young mathematicians. We were fortunate to be in attendance and enjoyed conversing with other math lovers of all ages as well as interacting with the SIAM members from UMCP.

However, the fun did not stop there. Not only did the SIAM student chapter members have the opportunity to interact with plenty of eager K-12 students, but we were also surrounded by other representatives who were equally STEM-passionate. Various companies, organizations, and university departments, such as statisticians from the Baltimore Orioles, the UMBC Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Kumon were also in attendance. Some of the presentations included learning what prime number your name is, the statistics of baseball, mathematical poetry, the intersection between animation and mathematics, mathematics education, and the list goes on. This event had a great turnout and students got the opportunity to witness firsthand that math is more than just manipulating numbers with algebra.

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