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Conversations with Don Engel: Event at UMBC

On Wednesday, October 15, the University of Maryland Baltimore County SIAM Student Chapter hosted Conversations with Don Engel.  We were fortunate to have a distinguished guest speaker, Dr. Don Engel, Assistant Vice President for Research at UMBC as well as an affiliate assistant professor of physics, computer science and electrical engineering.  Dr. Engel has worked for Congress as a science and technology policy fellow and as a consultant to various federal agencies.  His research experience lies at the intersection of a variety of disciplines, from theoretical physics to biophysics to machine learning to a clinical residency in radiation oncology medical physics. Dr. Engel spoke about his diverse background and answered student questions on potential career paths.  Dr. Engel was an excellent guest providing invaluable advice and the event was enjoyed by all who attended.

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Insightful mathematics for an optimal run

nugget_iconMathematical equations can help improve athletic performance

Sure, we can become better runners by hydrating well, eating right, cross training, and practice. But getting to an optimal running strategy with equations? That’s exactly what a pair of mathematicians from France propose in a paper published this month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics.

“By modeling running in the form of equations and then solving them, we can predict the optimal strategy to run a given distance in the shortest amount of time,” says Amandine Aftalion, who co-authored the paper with Frederic Bonnans.

The model uses a system of ordinary differential equations. Aftalion explains: “Our model relies on two basic principles: energy is preserved, and acceleration (or variations of velocity) is equal to the sum of all forces. This leads to a system of differential equations coupling the unknown variables of the runner (velocity, propulsive force and anaerobic energy), and dependent on physiological parameters such as maximal oxygen uptake and total available anaerobic energy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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SIAM Unwrapped October 2014

SIAM Unwrapped – October 2014 Read the rest of this entry »

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DARPA seeks programs mathematically proven to be highly secure

The goal of the Pentagon’s research arm is to stay ahead of threats and keep abreast of the constantly changing cybersecurity landscape. Hence, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking help in developing programs that are mathematically proven to be extremely secure: research that offers mathematical proof that a program is extraordinarily difficult to hack.

According to the announcement, the agency is looking for “revolutionary advances in science, devices or systems.”

Read the complete announcement. Submissions are due by November 18.


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A Solution to the 3x + 1 Problem?

This is a paid announcement that appeared in SIAM News.

I believe I have solved this very difficult problem and am looking for an academic mathematician to check the solution and then, if he or she believes it is correct, to help me prepare the paper for publication. I will offer a generous consulting fee, and/or shared authorship if the mathematician’s contribution merits it, and/or generous mention in the Acknowledgments. The paper is “A Solution to the 3x + 1 Problem” on

Contact: Peter Schorer,

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SIAM and ACM honor software developers for large-scale scientific computing toolkit



Prize is awarded to recognize contributions to mathematical and computational tools and methods

Philadelphia, PA–The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) are pleased to present the SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering to the PETSc core development team for the development of PETSc (Portable Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation), a suite of data structures and routines intended for use in large-scale application projects.

The prize is being awarded to Satish Balay, Jed Brown, William Gropp, Matthew Knepley, Lois Curfman McInnes, Barry Smith, and Hong Zhang for their collaborative work in developing the PETSc software package, which has transformed the way large-scale software libraries are developed, supported, and used within the CS&E community.  The creation of this innovative and seminal numerical software package provides the scientific and engineering community with robust, efficient, scalable, and extensible tools that are the backbone of numerous high-performance applications.  The sustained impact of this work has been felt worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »

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Funding Opportunity: DOD Releases FY 2015 MURI BAA

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – September 24, 2014

On September 22, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the broad agency announcement (BAA) for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) as part of the larger University Research Initiative (URI) aimed at institutions of higher education.  MURIs remain one of the signature DOD research programs for the university community and stand as the benchmark for building a defense-oriented research capability on campus.  DOD’s continuous increase of basic research budgets has slowed recently due to DOD leadership’s concern that these increases have subsequently diminished investment in more applied accounts.  The overall funding amount for FY 2015 MURI awards reflects this shift, though some in Congress have advocated for restoration of proposed cuts to basic research accounts in future DOD policy and spending legislation.

Through the MURI program, DOD seeks to fund basic research bringing together more than one scientific discipline focused on enhancing fundamental knowledge across fields related to national security.  DOD seeks to leverage its investment in basic research and notes that MURI research will have defense as well as commercial applications further downstream.  As in years past, DOD funds MURI research across a wide range of disciplines that vary by branch needs.  This year’s topics include: Read the rest of this entry »

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Student Chapters Update

chapter_icon-cmyk2015colorsSIAM provided close to $40,000 to 87 chapters to support activities during the 2013-2014 academic year. The activities that they planned were limited only by their imaginations. Here are some of the exciting activities that SIAM chapters sponsored during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Delhi Techological University chapter organized EVOLUTE, a three day technical festival promoting technological growth in a rapidly evolving world. Highlights included an industrial conference on data analytics, poster presentations, and a trivia competition.

Delhi Techological University chapter organized EVOLUTE, a three day technical festival promoting technological growth in a rapidly evolving world. Highlights included an industrial conference on data analytics, poster presentations, and a trivia competition.

On April 26, the California State University, Fresno chapter hosted Math Field Day, an event aimed at promoting mathematics to middle and high school students. The event drew roughly 600 participants who got to compete in events testing their speed, problem solving, and ability to work in teams. The chapter also participated in Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement on February 22, volunteering to guide middle and high school students from disadvantaged areas in group sessions on robotics, rockets, and catapult and bridge building, among other topics. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where is that spacecraft?

Statistically measuring uncertainty for space surveillance 

Philadelphia, PA—Space surveillance is inherently challenging when compared to other tracking environments due to various reasons, not least of which is the long time gap between surveillance updates. “Unlike the air and missile defense environments where objects are frequently observed, the space surveillance environment data is starved, with many objects going several orbital periods between observations,” according to researcher Joshua Horwood. “Thus, it is more challenging to predict the future location of these sparsely-seen objects and they have a tendency to get lost using traditional methods. A new way of tracking them, the Gauss von Mises (GVM) distribution, has improved predictive capabilities that permit one to more effectively maintain custody of infrequently-observed space objects.”

In a paper published in July in the SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification, authors Horwood and Aubrey Poore, both of Numerica Corporation, propose a more statistically rigorous treatment of uncertainty in the near-Earth space environment than currently available. The method proposed uses a new class of multivariate probability density functions, called the Gauss von Mises (GVM) family of distributions. Read the rest of this entry »

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CNSF statement on Senate introduction of America Competes Act

From CNSF: 

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) thanked Chairman Jay Rockefeller and his colleagues on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for introducing legislation for reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. CNSF states that it is pleased with the proposed five-year budget growth for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which acknowledges the importance of NSF and its dedication to funding research and education across all fields of science, engineering, and mathematics at all education levels.

View the full statement on the CNSF website.

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