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Archive for September 2012

DOE Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest science and energy laboratory in the Department of Energy system, has spring internships available for interested undergraduates.   Scientific programs focus on materials, neutron sciences, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security.

The 16 week (January-April) internship will allow interns to be engaged in a research project under the direction of a laboratory scientist or engineer. Interns will receive a stipend of $425 per week and travel reimbursement. Housing allowance will be given for those who qualify. Career development workshops and laboratory tours are included as part of the internship. View a video of the great internship experience at ORNL here.

Deadline to apply is October 1. Go here to apply online.

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F. Fleming Crim to head NSF Mathematical & Physical Sciences Directorate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor F. Fleming Crim to serve as assistant director for the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS). MPS supports core research in astronomy, chemistry, physics, material science and mathematics.

Crim is the John E. Willard and Hilldale Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his group conducts research using lasers to understand chemical reaction dynamics occurring in gases and liquids.

Crim will lead a staff of 160 and an annual budget of $1.3 billion. For more information, please view the press release on the NSF website.

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Mathematics and fine art: Digitizing paintings through image processing

Philadelphia, PA – September 25, 2012—The current trend to digitize everything is not lost on fine art. Documenting, distributing, conserving, storing and restoring paintings require that digital copies be made. The Google Art Project, which brings art from galleries around the world to online audiences, was launched in early 2011 for precisely these reasons.  Google’s project has been a complex undertaking, however, carried out under carefully controlled settings using state-of-the-art equipment and requiring rigorous post-production work.

In a paper published this month in the SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences, authors Gloria Haro, Antoni Buades and Jean-Michel Morel propose a far simpler technique that can achieve reliable reproductions of paintings using fusion of photographs taken from different angles through statistical methods. One of the main advantages of the method described is that image fusion obviates the need for a high-performance camera.

“This article demonstrates the possibility of acquiring a good quality image of a painting from amateur snapshots taken in bursts from different angles, in normal museum illumination,” senior author Jean-Michel Morel said via e-mail. “The photographing procedure is simple and can be done with a commercial hand-held camera by an amateur photographer.” Thus, paintings can be digitized even under poor light conditions, and this includes museum pieces that may be protected by glass screens that reflect light from other objects in the room.

The simple photographic procedure eliminates the need for sophisticated illumination and acquisition requirements. The postproduction process, while intensive, is fully automated. The fusion of multiple images of a painting from well-chosen angles can eliminate glare, highlights and motion blur. Robust statistical methods reduce noise and compensate for optical distortion, thus addressing the problem of uncontrolled illumination and destructive reflection that tends to be seen in many digitized paintings.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships from the NSF

The NSF’s Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (MSPRF) aim to support future leaders in mathematics and statistics by facilitating their participation in postdoctoral research environments that will have maximal impact on their future scientific development. Awards will support research in areas of mathematics and statistics including applications to other disciplines, with two options for awardees: Research Fellowship and Research Instructorship. Please find details here.

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NSF plans realignment of CISE and OCI

NSF has announced plans for the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) to become a division within the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) in order to maximize NSF’s science and engineering outcomes and improve operational agility. This planned transition is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2012, pending fulfillment of any statutory or other obligations.

NSF acknowledges the great achievements of OCI over the past years. Cyberinfrastructure has increasingly become a critical component of the R&D ecosystem and is essential in accelerating the pace of discovery and innovation in all fields of inquiry.  As a result, the deployment and use of cyberinfrastructure across the entire spectrum of science, engineering, and education continues to grow each year. Read the rest of this entry »

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View presentations from the SIAM Annual and Financial Math Meetings!

At the 2012 SIAM Annual Meeting  held in July, over a thousand mathematicians and computational scientists gathered from all over the world in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to discuss the state of the art in a variety of disciplines in the mathematical sciences through invited presentations, prize lectures, minisymposia, and contributed papers and posters. The Conference on Financial Mathematics and Engineering–held jointly with the Annual Meeting–focused on research and practice in financial mathematics, computation, and engineering, fostering collaborations among mathematical scientists, statisticians, computer scientists, computational scientists, and researchers and practitioners in finance and economics, with the goal of encouraging the use of mathematical and computational tools in quantitative finance in the public and private sectors.

Presentation slides with synchronized audio for selected sessions from both the Annual (AN12) and the Financial Mathematics (FM12) meetings are now available on SIAM Presents.  View and listen to interesting talks in a wide range of areas— from modeling of ocean dynamics, image processing, the math behind movie special effects, analysis of systemic risk, and stochastic control in finance to issues in mathematical publishing today.

In addition to the invited and prize lectures and select minisymposia, the tutorial on “Mathematical Modeling of Interest Rates: Challenges and New Directions” is also available.

You can go to direct links to view presentations from AN12 and FM12.

Visit the SIAM Presents page to view presentations and slides from more SIAM conferences.

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SIAM Past President Doug Arnold on mathematical literature and scholarly publishing

At the SIAM Annual Meeting held in Minneapolis in July, SIAM Past President Douglas Arnold of the University of Minnesota addressed a very timely and relevant issue: problems facing scholarly publishing today, such as author misconduct and plagiarism, intentional manipulation of citation statistics, and the high price of journal subscriptions.

“Math literature is enduring,” he said, noting that citations in mathematical journals often go back decades, and emphasizing the need for mathematicians to take a stance on this important issue. “Refereeing is super-important in math because we believe in the truth.” He explained a few cases of plagiarism that should be very worrisome to the community, reinforcing the importance of tools like CrossCheck employed by SIAM Journals. He then turned his focus on impact factors and their skewed nature due to self-citations and self-references. Illustrating how impact factors can be greatly influenced by self-citations with a series of convincing graphs, he cautioned the audience to be more guarded about the authenticity of bibliometrics.

The final part of Dr. Arnold’s talk focused on his personal views on the influence of large commercial publishers and one in particular–Elsevier–which, in his opinion is affecting the publishing world with its non-competitive prices, journal bundling, and huge profit margins, all the while relying on unpaid volunteer labor. Lastly, he mentioned the need to redefine copyright laws in general, transferring more rights to authors and less to publishers. In a very engaging lecture, Dr. Arnold inspired a lot of food for thought about the future of mathematical publishing.

Watch a video recapping Dr. Arnold’s talk:

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SIAM Unwrapped September 2012



News & announcements for the SIAM membership community 

Dear SIAM Members,

Have you renewed your membership for 2013? Details on renewals and ways to nominate and refer members are below. SIAM is also seeking nominations for SIAM Prizes and Fellows. You can help recognize and reward the most deserving members of the applied math and computational science community!

Also in this issue, you will learn about SIAM’s enhanced online news page, a milestone in SIAM’s effort to tackle plagiarism, and funds available for student chapters. Read on! Read the rest of this entry »

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How to host a successful student conference: a forum for tips and ideas

by Ingrid von Glehn, Oxford University SIAM Student Chapter 

If you’re a member of a SIAM student chapter, you might be thinking about hosting a student conference, perhaps for the first time. During a breakfast discussion at the 2012 SIAM Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, it emerged that many chapters (both U.S. and international) are involved in planning conferences. Why not work together, and share some ideas?

As a result, a group of student officers who had hosted conferences came together to share common experiences and agreed to generate a document to aid Student Chapters in hosting their own local conferences. The resulting document – or ‘White Papers’ – presents a suggested timeline for student conference preparation. The key message: most of the work happens behind the scenes many months in advance!

Items to think about include venues, keynote speakers, student talks, poster sessions, and marketing. To organize these and other aspects of a conference we have created a series of checklists that can help. For example, the first thing to consider is funding and sponsors. Do other chapters nearby have contacts? Can your mathematics department help out? Once that is secured, the type of venue can be determined. How many people might be attending, and will there be space for poster sessions? Will accommodation be needed if it’s a longer conference or if students are traveling from further away?

The use of websites and social media is key for publicizing the conference. Links in the document to other chapters’ conference websites show strategies for registration, marketing, and reaching out to more students. The aim of the document is to draw upon the ideas that have been successful during past conferences, combine them in a useful way, and share them so that some of the guesswork is taken out of the process.



The student chapter document gives timelines, detailed tips, and suggestions for chapters hosting their first conference


Read the rest of this entry »

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