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Archive for November 2012

Math detects contamination in water distribution networks

Philadelphia, PA—None of us want to experience events like the Camelford water pollution incident in Cornwall, England, in the late eighties, or more recently, the Crestwood, Illinois, water contamination episode in 2009 where accidental pollution of drinking water led to heart-wrenching consequences to consumers, including brain damage, high cancer risk, and even death. In the case of such catastrophes, it is important to have a method to identify and curtail contaminations immediately to minimize impact on the public.
A paper published earlier this month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics considers the identification of contaminants in a water distribution network as an optimal control problem within a networked system. Read the rest of this entry »

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DHS accepting Homeland Security STEM Summer Internships

A 10-week summer internship program for students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The program is open to undergraduates in research areas relevant to the DHS mission as well as to graduate students interested in the specific field of Nuclear and Radiological Threat Detection.

The program, whose goal is to engage a diverse, educated, and skilled pool of scientists and engineers in HS-STEM issues, provides students with opportunities to conduct research at federal research facilities across the country.  Another objective is to enhance the HS-STEM workforce through long-term relationships between student researchers, DHS, and federal research facilities.

For more information, and/or to apply, please visit the DHS website.


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Tell us why math matters and win a cash prize!

Every time you log into Facebook, you probably notice advertisements along the sidebar that seem surprising relevant to your interests. Much like the algorithms Facebook implements for advertisers to target and reach the broadest range of users, math makes it possible to determine a team’s ranking in college football, predict traffic patterns, and reduce the large, cumbersome size of an image to a workable and smaller JPEG file.

As a SIAM student member, this surely comes as no surprise to you, but what about the rest of the world? SIAM’s Math Matters, Apply It! series gives students like yourself the chance to educate others and spread awareness of the application of mathematics to our daily lives.

SIAM invites you to submit new ideas for the Math Matters series, which demonstrates the role of mathematics in everyday events and occurrences — your idea will benefit the community and you could win a cash prize of up to $250!

All SIAM student members are eligible, so check out examples of current Math Matters flyers and send us one or more submissions of your own to by December 14.

Please view the complete instructions prior to sending your submission.

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CBMS Releases New Report on the Mathematical Education of Teachers

A new report from the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS), titled, The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET II),  highlights the knowledge and skills that mathematics teachers need to have and how mathematicians can aid teachers in acquiring this knowledge. The report, which updates The Mathematical Education of Teachers (published in 2001), includes current research and experience and extends its scope from preparation to professional development in the context of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

The report focuses on intellectual substance in school mathematics at every grade level and emphasizes that proficiency with school mathematics is necessary but not sufficient mathematical knowledge for a teacher. One of the central themes of the report is that mathematical knowledge needed for teaching differs from that of other professions, and should grow throughout a teacher’s career.

The audience for the report include all who teach and are responsible for mathematics education of teachers–including mathematicians, statisticians, mathematics educators, department chairs, educational administrators, and policy-makers at the national, state, school-district, and collegiate levels.

The full report can be downloaded for free at the CBMS website. Printed copies may be ordered from the American Mathematical Society.

The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) is an umbrella organization consisting of sixteen professional societies whose primary objective is the increase or diffusion of knowledge in one or more of the mathematical sciences. 

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MBI 2013 Undergraduate Research Program at Ohio State

May 20 – August 16, 2013

The goal of this MBI NSF-funded program is to introduce students to exciting new areas of mathematical biology, to involve them in collaborative research with their peers and faculty mentors, and to increase their interest in mathematical biology. The program consists of three parts – each including a mix of educational and social experiences:

The on-line registration form will require:

  • Two letters of reference
  • A ranked list of three projects that you want to participate in (see below)
  • A statement indicating your reasons for wanting to participate in this program

***To receive full consideration, completed applications must be received by January 31, 2013.***

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Persistence or extinction: Through a mathematical lens

Philadelphia, PA—Scientists have estimated that there are 1.7 million species of animals, plants and algae on earth, and new species continue to be discovered. Unfortunately, as new species are found, many are also disappearing, contributing to a net decrease in biodiversity. The more diversity there is in a population, the longer the ecosystem can sustain itself. Hence, biodiversity is key to ecosystem resilience.

Disease, destruction of habitats, pollution, chemical and pesticide use, increased UV-B radiation, and even the presence of new species are some of the causes for disappearing species. “Allee effect,” the phenomenon by which a population’s growth declines at low densities, is another key reason for perishing populations, and is an overriding feature of a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics. Read the rest of this entry »

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SIAM Unwrapped November 2012

This issue of SIAM Unwrapped is brought to you with support from


SIAM Unwrapped

News & announcements for the SIAM membership community


November 2012


Dear SIAM members,

We would like to extend our thanks to all those who helped us recognize and honor SIAM members for their contributions to the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by submitting nominations for the 2013 Class of SIAM Fellows.

Fellows will be announced March 29, 2013. Nominations are now open for the Class of 2014 at: Read the rest of this entry »

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Why join SIAM?

At the SIAM Annual Meeting held in Minneapolis in July, SIAM members discussed the many reasons and benefits of being part of the SIAM community: from research collaborations and professional development to tackling global problems and engaging in scientific discussion. Find out why these members find their SIAM membership so valuable!

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NIGMS seeks Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology Division Director

[Courtesy of Miriam QuintalLewis-Burke Associates LLC]

Earlier this year, NIGMS formed the Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology (BBCB) to administer programs that were part of the former NIGMS Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the National Center for Research Resources. The division also manages the NIH Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI), an effort to stimulate and coordinate the use of computer science and technology to address problems in biology and medicine. Because of its role at NIH, BBCB serves as a focal point for collaborative efforts with other federal agencies that are developing related programs and policies.

To lead BBCB and BISTI, we’re looking for an individual with exceptional strategic vision and a distinguished record of research and management experience in computation/informatics, biomedical technology and biomedical research. NIGMS Acting Director Judith Greenberg has noted that the BBCB Director will have an extraordinary opportunity to shape this still relatively new division, forge key alliances with other NIH components and government agencies, and interact directly with the NIH Director to help establish guidelines and programs in biocomputing and technology.

The Search Committee Members are:

Francine Berman, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Valerie Florance, National Library of Medicine

Daniel Gallahan, National Cancer Institute

Christine Kelley, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

David Landsman, National Center for Biotechnology Information

Michael Rogers, NIGMS, Chair

For details about the job qualifications, how to apply and other information, see the vacancy announcement. Applications will be reviewed starting November 26, 2012, and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Now is a particularly exciting time for this division at NIH, since biomedical progress is critically dependent on the development of a more robust computing infrastructure and on the creation of new biomedical technologies. As chair of the search committee for the division’s director, I ask for your help in identifying candidates for this important position and in sharing this information with others who might be interested.

For more details visit the NIGMS site.


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Elliptic Curve Cryptography and Applications

At the SIAM Annual Meeting held in Minneapolis in July, Dr. Kristin Lauter of Microsoft Research discussed Elliptic Curve Cryptography as a mainstream primitive for cryptographic protocols and applications. The talk surveyed elliptic curve cryptography and its applications, including applications of pairing-based cryptography which are built with elliptic curves. Lauter also discussed its applications to privacy of electronic medical records, and implications for secure and private cloud storage and cloud computing.

Watch a video overview of the talk and an interview:

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