The world, through a mathematical lens

Free Math Modeling handbook published by SIAM

Free Math Modeling handbook published by SIAM

Math modeling handbook now available

Philadelphia, PA—Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread of disease and assessing roller coasters on the basis of their “thrill” factor. How does math do all that?

That is the topic of a free handbook published by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) this month: “Math Modeling: Getting Started and Getting Solutions.”

Finding a solution to any of the aforementioned problems—or the multitude of other unanswered questions in the real world—will likely involve the creation, application, and refinement of a mathematical model. A math model is a mathematical representation of a real-world situation intended to gain a qualitative or quantitative understanding in order to predict future behavior. Such predictions allow us to come up with novel findings, enable scientific advances, and make informed decisions.

The handbook provides instructions and a process for building mathematical models using a variety of examples to answer wide-ranging questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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BD2K Training program FOAs

From NIH/NCI: 

The NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K, initiative announces the release of three related RFAs for new training programs and revisions to existing training programs in biomedical Big Data Science:

The first deadline for these applications is July 28, 2014, with an optional letter of intent due June 28, 2014.

Please view full details by going to the links above.

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New NSF Mathematical Sciences Innovation Incubator (MSII) activity

From the NSF: 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) aims to enhance the synergistic relationships between the mathematical sciences and other NSF-supported disciplines through the Mathematical Sciences Innovation Incubator (MSII) activity. The MSII activity encourages and supports new research collaborations among mathematical scientists and other scientists and engineers working in NSF-supported research areas of high national priority by:

* facilitating DMS co-review and co-funding of multi-disciplinary research collaborations involving mathematical scientists;

* providing leverage for investments of non-DMS NSF programs in projects that include mathematical scientists; and

* providing a uniform mechanism through which collaborative research teams involving mathematical scientists can request DMS co-review.

To view more details, please visit the MSII page. To apply and to view this complete letter, go to:

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SIAM Unwrapped April 2014

News & announcements for the SIAM membership community

Download a PDF version

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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Eminent Members designated as SIAM Fellows

SIAM is pleased to announce the 2014 Class of SIAM Fellows. These distinguished members were nominated for their exemplary research as well as outstanding service to the community. Through their contributions, SIAM Fellows help advance the fields of applied mathematics and computational science.

SIAM would like to congratulate these 32 members of the community listed below in alphabetical order:

Mark Ainsworth, Brown University

John S. Baras, University of Maryland, College Park

Lorenz T. Biegler, Carnegie Mellon University

Åke Björck, Linköping University, Emeritus

Alfred M. Bruckstein, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Read the rest of this entry »

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