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UC- Berkeley graduate student Jasmine Nirody on mechanistic models of bacterial movement

How do bacteria move? Can we turn to math and physics for answers? Jasmine Nirody, a graduate student at UC-Berkeley, has been fascinated with how organisms move since she was a little kid. Now she is using that passion to study how tiny organisms like bacteria move despite the large frictional and viscous forces acting against them in their environments. Using principles from applied mathematics and theoretical biophysics, Nirody is studying how flagellar forces help bacteria move via mechanistic models of the bacterial flagellar motor.

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Arthur Lander on modeling normal versus rampant cell growth

How do the basics of what goes on in our tissues during normal development give us a better understanding of what happens when things go awry in the malignant disease state? In this clip, Arthur Lander of the University of California, Irvine, speaks about how biological systems use control and regulation to achieve or maintain desired outcomes in growth and development. Controlled growth is not only essential for biological development, but also plays an important role in preventing the kinds of out-of-control growth we see in certain cancers.  Lander’s group builds mathematical models that mimic real tissues in order to understand normal growth control. Using such models, his lab is determining how morphogenesis is achieved by turning growth on and off in certain desired locations via regulated feedback between growing cells and those that produce tissues.

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Scientific Computation In Next Generation Innovation – An Aerospace Perspective [Video]

For technologically mature industries or those with high barriers to change, innovation is a challenge. One low risk, low cost innovation path is to radically improve performance while minimizing change to existing infrastructure. In his presentation at the 2013 SIAM Annual Meeting and Conference on Control and Its Applications, Nazareth Bedrossian of Halliburton used a historical perspective on spacecraft optimal control to show how scientific computation can act as the enabler for next generation innovation. Real world examples were presented where radical leaps in performance without altering spacecraft hardware or software has been achieved.

The mathematics of electricity costs [Video]

In this video from the 2013 SIAM Annual Meeting, Alejandro Jofré of Universidad de Chile considers a wholesale electricity market model with generators interacting strategically and general networks including externalities such as transmission losses. Previous work shows how mechanisms such as the case when prices correspond to the Lagrange multipliers of a centralized cost minimization program allow the producers to charge significantly more than marginal price. This situation originates an important regulatory problem. In this presentation we consider an incomplete information setting where the cost structure of a producer is unknown to both its competitor and the regulator. We derive an optimal regulation mechanism and compare its performance to the “price equal to Lagrange multiplier”. Watch the video:

Jamology – the mathematics of traffic jams [Video]

Jamming phenomena are seen in various transportation system including cars, buses, pedestrians, ants and molecular motors, which are considered as “self-driven particles”. This interdisciplinary research on jamming of self-driven particles has been recently termed “jamology”. This is based on mathematical physics and includes engineering applications as well. In his talk at the 2013 SIAM Annual Meeting, Katsuhiro Nishinari of the University of Tokyo traced the background of this research: simple mathematical models, such as the asymmetric simple exclusion process and the Burgers equation, were introduced as the basis of all kinds of traffic flow. This was then extended in order to account for various traffic phenomena, and the comparison between theory and experiment was given to show that the models are able to capture fundamental features of observations. Watch the video!

The mathematics of conservation decision making [Video]

Species are currently becoming extinct at least 100 times the background rate. The resources available to save biodiversity are inadequate. Consequently we need to optimise the return on investment from conservation decisions. In this talk at the 2013 SIAM Annual Meeting, Hugh Possingham of the University of Queensland showed how optimization tools are being used to solve conservation problems such as reserve system design, and allocating funds to threatened species management. Watch the video!

Social Networks as Information Filters [Video]

Social networks, especially online social networks, are driven by information sharing. But just how much information sharing is influenced by social networks? A large-scale experiment measured the effect of the social network on the quantity and diversity of information being shared within Facebook. While strong ties were found to be individually more influential, collectively it is the weak ties that wield more influence and provide more diverse information exposure. This sharing behavior not only generates large cascades, but can also cause information to evolve. Lada Adamic of the University of Michigan spoke about all this and more with engaging examples at the 2013 SIAM Annual Meeting. Watch the video!

An intersection of math and biology: Clams and snails inspire robotic diggers and crawlers

 Philadelphia, PA—Engineering has always taken cues from biology. Natural organisms and systems have done well at evolving to perform tasks and achieve objectives within the limits set by nature and physics.

That is one of the reasons Anette Hosoi, professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studies snails. Snails can move in any direction—horizontally, vertically, and upside down—on various surfaces, be it sand, shells, tree barks or slick walls and smooth glass. One of the reasons for this is the sticky substance on their underbellies, which acts as a powerful lubricant and reduces friction during movement. Read the rest of this entry »

Online networking in scientific communities [SIAM Video]

Scientists are increasing using social media, as well as blogging and microblogging platforms to form new contacts and collaborations, share ideas, gain insights, communicate research, generate discussion, and inspire future scientists and engineers. See how these professional applied mathematicians and computational scientists are using blogging and microblogging tools professionally.

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Big Data and mathematical modeling [Video]

At the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering held in Boston in February 2013, professional mathematicians from various fields discussed the significance of big data and the importance of mathematical modeling to make sense of and interpret all that data in various fields from social networks and epidemiology to climatology. Watch a brief video with highlights!