Archive for April 2012

SIAM at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

The SIAM team at the USA Science and Engineering Festival (from left to right): Peter Turner, Byon Kwon, Padhu Seshaiyer, Jody Shipp, Luis Melara and Mike Long

SIAM was part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, the nation’s largest celebration of science and engineering, which took place April 28—29, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by Lockheed Martin.

The SIAM booth featured Math Alive!, an exhibit designed to help attendees experience living mathematics. Visitors were able to explore the concept of surface tension through simple hands-on experiments with water, dish soap, pepper, paper and paper clips. They were encouraged to make connections between the mathematical concepts of slope, derivative and gradient with the unfolding experiments. Students also enjoyed a collection of mechanical toys illustrating mathematical theorems in practical ways.

Demonstrating the concept of surface tension through simple hands-on experiments

You can view more photos from the SIAM booth here.

The goal of the festival, the country’s only national science festival, is to highlight the practical applications of science and math and the many exciting career opportunities available in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It was developed to increase public awareness of the importance of science and to encourage youth to pursue careers in science and engineering by celebrating science in much the same way as we celebrate Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and pop stars.

New Jersey Students Named Champions in Unique Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Winners selected from thousands of U.S. high school students who participated in Moody’s Mega Math (M3) Challenge to find solutions to key national transportation issue

From L-R: Stephen Guo, Vineel Chakradhar, Daniel Takash, Angela Zhou, and Kevin Zhou with Teacher-coach Ellen LeBlanc - from High Technology High School, Lincroft, NJ - Champions in M3 Challenge 2012

New York, NY – April 27, 2012 –

Math skills plus a creative solution to a current US transportation issue equals a prestigious top spot in a one-of-a-kind national math contest.

That was the formula for success of a team of five New Jersey high school students, who placed first in the 2012 Moody’s Mega Math (M3) Challenge, sharing $20,000 from a total $115,000 scholarship pool as well as bragging rights after being chosen from thousands of student participants.

Vineel  Chakradhar, Stephen Guo, Daniel Takash, Angela Zhou, and Kevin Zhou, eleventh and twelfth-graders from Lincroft, NJ-based High Technology High School were found to have come up with the most sound mathematical solution to the country’s proposed new high-speed rail program currently being debated by members of Congress. The students presented their findings at The Moody’s Corporation New York, NY headquarters yesterday, along with five other finalist teams.

Organized by the Philadelphia, PA-based Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and sponsored by New York, NY-based The Moody’s Foundation, the contest drew nearly 5,000 eleventh and twelfth-graders from the Eastern US who were asked to use mathematical modeling to determine the best regions in the country to revive the Department of Transportation’s planned High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program – a hot topic in Congress due to the success of North America’s only high speed rail line, Amtrak’s Acela Express. From recommending the best regions for the rail lines to predicting ridership numbers, cost of implementation and effects of such a program on foreign-energy dependence, teams of three to five students put the problem-solving skills they learned in the classroom to the test.

The contest – designed to spotlight the relevancy and power of mathematics in solving real-world issues, as well as motivate students to consider further education and careers in math – gave the nearly 1,000 teams that participated 14 hours to study the issue in question, collect data, and devise models before uploading their solutions online in the form of a research paper.

“If we won this, it means that these PhD mathematician judges felt that we had a compelling and cogent solution,” said Vineel Chakradhar from the champion team. “That says a lot, because while we were taking steps and making assumptions and solving the problem, we didn’t really know if we were doing it right, if we were taking the right approach. But that’s just an aspect of applied math, I guess, nobody is really certain what to expect or whether your approach is right – you just have to do the best you can with what information you have.”

Daniel Takash, also from the champion team, explained: “While delivering the final answer, when I was summing up the total amounts of money, I saw a lot of digits in red – and I became very nervous because I thought we’d done something wrong, but then I realized this makes sense. If you look deeper and deeper, high speed rail is not the wisest transportation choice. In the 1950s we made the decision to invest in highways and airports—that’s the infrastructure decision we made back then when Europe and Asia made a different infrastructure decision. This is the path we chose and we should stick to it. It would be prohibitively expensive to change, especially with talk of multitrillion dollar deficits and debt.”

Judges serving on the panel to review the final presentations were impressed with the students’ performance and character. “The fact that these students chose to spend an entire day working on an academic challenge like this gives me great faith that, given the plethora of choices they will have in the future, they will choose actions that not only advance their own personal welfare but the good of society as a whole,” said Judge Kathleen Shannon from Salisbury University.

First runners up in the contest are Connor Davis, Mia de los Reyes, Alyssa Ferris,

Sam Magura, and Vitchyr Pong from North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC, who split a $15,000 scholarship prize. Third place winners are Madeline Jenkins, Samuel Kirschbaum, Joel Sharin, Steven Tang, and Sorin Vatasoiu from Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, MA, who shared a $10,000 in scholarship funds. Teams from Pine View School, Florida; Staples High School, Connecticut; and Hunterdon Central Regional High School, New Jersey, landed fourth, fifth and sixth spots, respectively, yielding them shared scholarship pools of between $7,500 and $2,500. (See link below for a full list of winners).

“I think the idea of applying math to real world problems is very powerful,” said SIAM Past President Margaret Wright, who is a Silver Professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. “I think the fact that the problems are simplified and brought down to a manageable level is essential. You can’t ask high school students to solve the high speed rail problem, but I think that the value is simply that they get exposed to the complexities and the nuanced decisions – a real world problem is not as clear-cut as a homework problem.”

Members of the judging panel included professional mathematicians Ben Fusaro, Florida State University; Lee Seitelman, United Technologies (retired); Kathleen Shannon, Salisbury University; David Sprecher, The University of California, Santa Barbara (retired); and Joe Malkevitch, York College, The City University of New York.  Prior to yesterday’s final judging round, the nearly 1,000 student submissions were assessed by 107 judges from across the country, who then narrowed down the entries to six finalists.

For more information about the Moody’s Mega Math (M3) Challenge, visit . To access this year’s challenge problem, visit

View full list of winners here:

SIAM Journal authors win the 2012 SIAG/Linear Algebra Prize

Sou-Cheng Choi, Christopher Paige, and Michael Saunders will be awarded the 2012 SIAG/LA Prize for their paper, “MINRES-QLP: A Krylov Subspace Method for Indefinite or Singular Symmetric Systems,” SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, 33:1810-1836, 2011.  According to the prize committee: “The authors improve on MINRES, an elegant, efficient and widely used iterative method for linear systems, achieving optimal accuracy and extending the algorithm to the solution of least squares problems.”

Grey Ballard, James Demmel, Olga Holtz, and Oded Schwartz will be awarded the 2012 SIAG/LA Prize for their paper, “Minimizing Communication in Numerical Linear Algebra,” SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications, 32:866-901, 2011.  According to the prize committee: “This work contributes in a fundamental manner to the communication complexity of matrix algorithms. It will have a strong impact on future high performance computing.”

The prize will be awarded on June 21, 2012, at the SIAM Conference on Applied Linear Algebra (LA12), to be held June 18-22, 2012, at Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Spain.  The authors will present the papers in a lecture session.

The SIAM Activity Group on Linear Algebra (SIAG/LA) awards the prize every three years to the authors(s) of the most outstanding paper(s) on a topic in applicable linear algebra published in the three calendar years preceding the year of the award.

Barbara Keyfitz selected as AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecturer

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) have selected Professor Barbara Keyfitz to deliver the prestigious Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture at the 2012 SIAM Annual Meeting to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Charles Saltzer Professor of Mathematics at the Ohio State University, Professor Keyfitz will deliver her lecture, entitled “The Role of Characteristics in Conservation Laws,” on Monday, July 9 at 2:45 p.m.

Please find details on Dr. Keyfitz, her accomplishments, and reasons for recognition in the AWM press release here.

The Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture was established in 2002 to highlight significant contributions of women to applied or computational mathematics.

SIAM Unwrapped – April 2012

News & announcements for the SIAM membership community

Dear SIAM Members,

We are pleased to announce the 2012 Class of SIAM Fellows in this issue. Find details on the new class below.

If you’re moving or graduating, please be sure to bring SIAM with you! Don’t miss out on our publications, discounts, and other member benefits. Update your address at

If you’re graduating, take advantage of SIAM’s postgraduate membership discount. Find details on it here: Read the rest of this entry »

View presentations from PD11

Presentation slides with synchronized audio for several sessions from the 2011 SIAM Conference on Analysis of Partial Differential Equations are now available to view. Invited lectures and a selection of minisymposia presentations have been captured and archived. You can view them on the link above.

Sponsored by the SIAM Activity Group Analysis of Partial Differential Equations, the meeting brought together scientists and mathematicians working in partial differential equations and related fields. Contemporary challenges raised by recent advances in engineering, industry, and bio-technology were discussed with state-of-the-art mathematical and computational tools in PDE.

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

DOE funding opportunity: Mathematical Multifaceted Integrated Capability Centers

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) has announced a new funding opportunity in Applied Mathematics. “Mathematical Multifaceted Integrated Capability Centers (MMICCs)”  are open to universities, industry, non- profit organizations, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), including the DOE National Laboratories.

The DOE National Laboratory announcement can be found here. You can read more details on the university/industry announcement by scrolling through the list of publicly posted opportunities here. Pre-applications are due on April 30, 2012.

SIAM chapters to present research at 2012 SIAM Annual Meeting

Each year six student chapters are invited to send representatives to the SIAM Annual Meeting to participate in a special minisymposium session organized by SIAM Education Committee chair Peter Turner of Clarkson University.  This year two of the chapters invited to participate held competitions among their chapter members to select the person who would be sent to AN12 in Minneapolis to present their research. The chapter presentations during Student Days on Tuesday, July 10, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, (MS32) are listed below. Read the rest of this entry »

Students use math to help U.S. high-speed rail get back on track

Top high school teams in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge will share $115,000 in college scholarships

Philadelphia, PA – Judges for Moody’s Mega Math Challenge evaluated nearly 1,000 solution papers, and have selected the top 55 as the contest moves one step closer to deciding this year’s best.

In this year’s contest, more than 5,000 students used mathematical modeling to identify and rank the best regions in the country for establishing high speed rail lines as part of a nationwide network, an issue currently being debated in Congress. Using their math knowledge along with critical thinking, research, and analytical skills, participants provided mathematically-founded recommendations based on potential ridership numbers, cost of implementation, and effects of such a program on foreign-energy dependence. Working independently via the Internet, teams of 3-5 students had just 14 hours to study the issue, collect data, and devise models before uploading their solutions in the form of a research paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Endre Szemeredi Wins Abel Prize

Endre Szemerédi of the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, and the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers University, has been awarded the Abel Prize “for his fundamental contributions to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and in recognition of the profound and lasting impact of these contributions on additive number theory and ergodic theory.”

Dr. Szemerédi received SIAM’s George Pólya Prize in 1975.  A highly influential researcher, Dr. Szemerédi has over 200 published papers in a career spanning more than five decades. Founded in 2003, the Abel Prize is funded by the Norwegian government and is awarded each year for contributions to mathematical sciences.