Computational mathematical sciences receives NSF grant for undergraduate research

December 14, 2007

Arizona State University's computational mathematical sciences program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will power a new set of undergraduate research projects beginning in January with a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The program, targeting juniors majoring in computational mathematical sciences, will initially offer interdisciplinary research experiences involving weather and climate forecasting, environmental fluid dynamics, math biology applications, and the efficiency of complex supply chain models.

ASU is one of only 11 U.S. institutions that have an undergraduate computational mathematics program. Professor Eric Kostelich, the grant's principal investigator, says this five-year grant is designed to prepare undergraduate students for graduate research and full-time jobs.

He notes that the Phoenix metropolitan area is a growing technology market, with companies like Intel®, Freescale Semiconductor and Honeywell, and that the grant program anticipates establishing a pipeline so students who graduate are prepared for full-time work and internship opportunities.

"I'm hoping this grant will also help Arizona in terms of its competitiveness in the technology field," he adds.

At the same time, the grant will reinforce the department of mathematics and statistics' strong interdisciplinary focus through research opportunities that combine computational mathematics with science.

"Today, mathematics is deviating from the traditional and moving toward an interdisciplinary approach. By combining math and the physical or life sciences, students are able to tackle a problem from different angles," says associate professor Bruno Welfert, the grant's co-principal investigator.

"The goal of this program is for students to have two, one-year sequences in some physical or life science that can be applied to their research," Welfert says.

"Cutting edge applications are very collaborative," adds Kostelich. "If you look, for example, at how to make an MRI machine better, you have to use physics, computer science, engineering, all different disciplines working together to make one machine. With our interdisciplinary curriculum, students can answer questions to common problems and create better applications."

In the second year of their project, students will continue their research studies as well as mentor incoming students. Each student will be expected to write an honors thesis or research paper and present his or her work at an appropriate conference.

"Part of the idea is to combine all aspects of coursework into an integrated environment where students are going to feel comfortable using ideas from mathematics, computer science and science and have the opportunity to apply those ideas during two summer sessions with faculty," says Welfert.

That integrated environment will include an open office space area where students can interact and share ideas while working on their research, explains Kostelich.

They also will take advantage of ASU's tremendous resources, like the Fulton High Performance Computing Initiative, which offers world class computing resources to the researchers and students in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and the Decision Theater, a high-tech laboratory that combines advanced methodologies in visualization, simulation and cognitive sciences.

"The Fulton High Performance Computing Initiative is not what you find at a typical four-year university. It is a lasting legacy that provides us with an opportunity to think creatively on how we might use this remarkable gift," Kostelich says.

"We want to show the country the 'new math degree,' taking traditional ideas from 50 years ago and leveraging them with new developments, sciences, and applications of mathematics developed in recent decades; showing students first-hand how they are applied," he adds.

"Mathematics students will always be in demand because of their background and training," says Welfert. "That is something important to note. With a math degree, you can do anything you want."
-end-


Arizona State University

Related Mathematics Articles from Brightsurf:

A new method for boosting the learning of mathematics
How can mathematics learning in primary school be facilitated? UNIGE has developed an intervention to promote the learning of math in school.

Could mathematics help to better treat cancer?
Impaired information processing may prevent cells from perceiving their environment correctly; they then start acting in an uncontrolled way and this can lead to the development of cancer.

People can see beauty in complex mathematics, study shows
Ordinary people see beauty in complex mathematical arguments in the same way they can appreciate a beautiful landscape painting or a piano sonata.

Improving geothermal HVAC systems with mathematics
Sustainable heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, such as those that harness low-enthalpy geothermal energy, are needed to reduce collective energy use and mitigate the continued effects of a warming climate.

How the power of mathematics can help assess lung function
Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a new computational way of analyzing X-ray images of lungs, which could herald a breakthrough in the diagnosis and assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

Mathematics pushes innovation in 4-D printing
New mathematical results will provide a potential breakthrough in the design and the fabrication of the next generation of morphable materials.

More democracy through mathematics
For democratic elections to be fair, voting districts must have similar sizes.

How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
Skin color patterns in animals arise from microscopic interactions among colored cells that obey equations discovered by Alan Turing.

US educators awarded for exemplary teaching in mathematics
Janet Heine Barnett, Caren Diefenderfer, and Tevian Dray were named the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award winners by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for their teaching effectiveness and influence beyond their institutions.

Authors of year's best books in mathematics honored
Prizes for the year's best books in mathematics were awarded to Ian Stewart and Tim Chartier by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) on Jan.

Read More: Mathematics News and Mathematics Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.