School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences (SoMSS)

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1 School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences (SoMSS) Spring 2010 Newsletter Contents Greetings from the Director, 1 First Year Mathematics, 3 Undergraduate Program, 4 Graduate Program, 5 Core Mathematics, 6 Applied Mathematics, 8 Statistics, 10 Mathematics Education, 9 NeuroML Grant, 9 MTBI/ MCMSC, 10 CSUMS Project, 11 SCIMM, 11 New Faculty, 12 Faculty and Student Awards, 13 Ph.D. Graduations, 14 Visit Our Web Pages, 15 Donations, 15 Math Views, 16 Contact Information, 16 Greetings from the Director Wayne Raskind In my second year at ASU, I have adjusted to the size of the University and the wide-ranging interests of our faculty. Our students also have a wide range of backgrounds and abilities, and we embrace the concept of providing all of them with a quality education in mathematics. We will teach nearly 28,000 students this year, about 35% more than we did only two years ago. We are pleased that more students at ASU are taking more mathematics courses, at a higher level, than ever before. The new school launch ceremony took place on October 27, 2009 in Old Main Carson Ballroom. There were remarks by President Crow, Deans Quentin Wheeler and Sid Bacon of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and me. President Crow spoke of the importance of mathematics and statistics to ASU and how fewer students nationally have expressed an interest in studying mathematics and science. I spoke of the growth in the number of students taking courses at ASU such as differential equations and linear algebra, and how the number of mathematics majors has doubled in the last five years. The ceremony and lunch that followed were attended by about 100 people. The next day, there was a lecture by Professor William Schmidt of Michigan State University on Education in a Global Context, where he compared the mathematical curricula and standards in the US with those of other countries, and advocated more coherent, rigorous and focused goals for mathematics courses in the US. This was followed by a salon at my home, where we continued the discussion of these issues with faculty, students and alumni. Professor Ed Ihrig retired at the end of the Fall 2009 term. Ed came to ASU in 1979 and was a very versatile researcher and teacher. He is returning to cooler

2 pastures in the state of Washington. Ed, we appreciate greatly your service to ASU and will miss you very much! Please come back and see us when you are in town. Professor Dennis Young will retire at the end of this academic year. Dennis has been a fixture in statistics since joining ASU in We don t know how we will get along without him, but we don t want him to feel too guilty, yet... Dennis, say it isn t so. Professor Sharon Lohr was invited to deliver the prestigious Hansen Lecture in Washington DC on Oct. 13, This is organized by the Washington Statistical Society. Please join me in congratulating Sharon on this great honor. We are pleased to welcome three new faculty this year: Ming-Hung (Jason) Kao joins us from the University of Georgia, where he completed his Ph.D in 2008 under the supervision of John Stufken. His primary research interest lies in obtaining optimal and efficient experimental designs for event-related functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which is one of the leading technologies for studying brain activity in response to mental tasks or stimuli. He is also interested in design and analysis of computer experiments, which is currently an active research area. Jesse (Jay) Taylor joins us from Oxford University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow under Alison Etheridge in the Department of Statistics. Jay received his Ph.d in evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona in His research focuses on problems in population genetics and evolutionary biology that can be addressed using genealogies. He also has a long-standing interest in the evolutionary genetics of antigenic variation in parasites such as African trypanosomes that cause chronic infections. Rodrigo Platte also joins us from Oxford University, where he was a research assistant in the Computing Laboratory. He received his Ph.D in mathematics from the University of Delaware in 2005 under the direction of Tobin Driscoll. Rodrigo s research interests include approximation theory, numerical analysis, scientific computing and applied mathematics. His focus has been on high-order and spectral methods, in particular, on radial basis function methods for approximating and solving partial differential equations. Our faculty were awarded several large grants this year, including: Marilyn Carlson and Michael Oehrtman received a $900,000 supplemental award from the National Science Foundation to continue Project Pathways: Opening Routes to Math and Science Success for all Students. Sharon Crook has been awarded a three-year grant totaling $894,000 from the National Institutes of Health through an R01 from the NIMH. Yang Kuang is the PI on a $499,000 NSF grant, Robust Theoretical Frameworks for Ecological Dynamics Subject to Stoichiometric Constraints. A. Mahalov, M. Moustaoui, and W. Tang are PIs on a $775,000 NSF grant, Multi-Scale Modeling of Urban Atmospheres in a Changing Climate. Congratulations to these researchers, as well as to all of our excellent faculty who continue to be successful in a time of tight funding in the mathematical sciences. 2

3 First Year Mathematics Fabio Milner It has been a great first year of work with the FYM faculty, separately and together with the track faculty. FYM faculty and I got acquainted with each other, discussed problems facing the students and themselves, because of deficiencies in the background of the former and, for the latter, due to increased class sizes that budgetary constraints forced us into. Our FYM program consists today of 35 Lecturers and Senior Lecturers, as well as seven Instructors. They are responsible for teaching approximately 18,000 students per year, in courses that range from college algebra and pre-calculus, to business and engineering calculus, to probability and statistics, to theory of elementary mathematics for elementary school teachers, as well as linear algebra and ordinary differential equations. To improve success and retention in CLAS we need to begin with the accurate placement of incoming students into the most advanced mathematics course they are prepared for. Towards this goal we have created a new placement exam for calculus and pre-calculus that comes with online remediation modules that allow students who need it to improve their mathematics skills so they can be successful in more advanced mathematics. The Math Placement Test became fully operational in the winter of 2009 and has just been expanded for placement into MAT 117, College Algebra. The instrument used for testing is ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) a powerful artificial intelligence based assessment tool that zeros in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student s mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student and then, if necessary, provides the student with a learning environment for bringing this knowledge up to an appropriate level for course placement. We have analyzed the data for the Fall semester 2009 and made the first adjustments based on ASU data to the scores required for placement in several courses. We have implemented successful hybrid versions of MAT 142 and MAT 117. The former is based on students attending virtual lectures (online video) instead of in-classroom, and meeting with the instructor for hands-on problem solving once a week. A similar model based on ALEKS for the instruction, homework, and testing is presently being piloted in MAT 117, with weekly meetings in a classroom focused on problem solving. Another change that is taking place in FYM course offerings is the phasing out of MAT 119, Finite Mathematics, because the only two majors that presently require MAT 119 are changing this requirement to other MAT courses. We are revising the content and sequencing of several algebra-precalculus-calculus courses to better serve the students with the development of conceptual understanding and perception of usefulness. We are very lucky to have such a large group of committed professionals in the FYM faculty and we appreciate very much all the work they do. 3

4 Undergraduate Program Matthias Kawski First I would like to thank Bruno Welfert for his service as associate chair for undergraduate programs which ended in May Building on foundations laid by his immediate predecessors Don Jones, Glenn Hurlbert, Eric Kostelich, and John Jones, the program experienced unprecedented growth during Bruno s tenure. Most dramatically, after holding steady around 250 for the first half of this decade, the number of majors (BS, BA, computational mathematical sciences and statistics) grew to over 450. The number of graduates also doubled in the last five years: we expect to graduate more than 100 this year, for the first time ever. While the percentage of female majors dropped slightly from a high of 37% three years ago to just under 33% this year, overall diversity has increased to new record levels with now almost 25% (of the much larger total) being Native or African American, or Hispanic. With this tremendous growth, our new school is making good progress to become a stronger player within the university system, with a profile that extends far beyond what long ago was occasionally mistaken as mainly a service department. With this growth we do our part to address the ubiquitous calls for a more technically trained workforce. But we still have a long way to go until we can satisfy the pressing need for enough adequately trained secondary math teachers. Combined with the current major economic strains we consider ourselves fortunate to only have had to endure larger class-sizes in lower division classes, some of which definitively reach the pain threshold. With continually growing enrollments and tight budgets we have no choice but exploring new delivery models. This growth poses many new challenges at the upper division level. Whereas just a few years Garfunkel and Young wrote The Sky Is Falling (AMS Notices, 1998), we do not need to worry about advanced level classes not filling. Instead, more and more classes are offered with parallel sections. This year, 100 students took Abstract Algebra (MAT 443, 444), 200 Advanced Calculus (MAT 371), and over 400 the transition 4 course MAT 300. While this demands tighter coordination, the consequent discussion will also lead to course objectives being reevaluated, and possibly redefined to address the needs of an ever more diverse student body with rapidly diverging career plans. In the first 9 months in this office, I have focused on taking stock, learning the ropes (such as how to get prerequisites in the catalog corrected) and establishing contacts across the campus and in the community. But I anticipate that substantial changes of our programs will come, and I trust that by working together we will grow and reinvent our programs in synchrony with the mission of our university, combining excellence and access, while becoming more deeply embedded in the community. Indeed, among the math majors there are increasing numbers of truly stellar students. Over 70 are in Barrett The Honors College, including numerous National Merit Scholars. Last year, some of our graduating math and statistics majors went on to Cambridge, Berkeley, Stanford, Minnesota, Columbia, USC, Texas, and other prestigious graduate programs. Many of our undergraduate students are actively engaged in research projects. They present at undergraduate conferences like SUNMARC (held this year in El Paso, with our group again coordinated by Glenn Hurlbert), and at major professional conferences like the Joint meetings in San Francisco. Read more about our flagship program CSUMS in a separate article. How can we establish similar programs for other areas in mathematics? In May I polled our exiting major with a questionnaire designed to elicit emotional responses. With a very high response rate, the tone was overwhelmingly positive. Many commented very positively on faculty who care and help in every way. MAT 371 and CSUMS stood out as most positive experiences. Most commonly deplored was a lacking sense of community among our majors. Everybody should help to expand the existing islands that have thriving closely-knit groups. We hosted vibrant social events such as the Fall Welcome for our new freshmen and transfer majors. Our academic advisors Karly Green and Tracey Hayes teamed up with

5 the Physics Department to host Mid-Term Movie Break and Walk-in Advising and a Reading Day Chili Cook-Off which were well received. In the ASU facebook application the group Math Majors Unite connects about 70 members and fans. Under the presidency of Nicole Mohr the biweekly meetings of the Math Club have been increasingly well attended. In the fall a weekly sequence of informal meetings for math majors addressed topics such as learning LaTeX, internships, applying for scholarships and graduate schools. I have been overwhelmed by the willingness of our students to volunteer, welcome and mentor new majors, and to help organize outreach efforts: The 2009 Math Awareness Month activities brought about 50 school students to ASU to engage in mathematics, meet role models and attend a compelling lecture by Lord Julian Hunt. Great kudos to Susie Seal who marshaled a dedicated group of majors who had a big impact on our guests! In collaboration with MSRI, we are hosting in March 2010 a Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival followed by the first national Circle on the Road workshop. The first will bring a very large crowd of school students to SoMSS to engage in a day of problem solving guided by some of the best Math Circle leaders from across the country. The Phoenix metro area with a population of about 4 million has many, many highly talented youth who yearn for mathematical challenges. In January we hosted a math-league competition in PSA. This fall the first Math Circle(s) will sprout, marking the end of being possibly the mathematically most underserved large metro area in the US. Serving 500 majors and about 30,000 students per year with a complaint rate of less than % is a team effort. It is no secret that this huge enterprise runs so smoothly because of our resourceful staff, to whom we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude. Graduate Program John Lopez With the establishment of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, evolving from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in April 2009, the graduate program has also evolved to better reflect the expanded and trans-disciplinary nature of the school. Fall 2009 saw the official launch of four new PhD programs in the school: Core Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Mathematics Education. In the following pages, the heads of each program will give you some details of these. Having the four distinct PhD programs has been a major help in recruiting high caliber prospective students into the appropriate programs, as reflected in the quality and quantity of the applications received this Spring. An exciting new development this year is that we have established a graduate fellowship program, using a cocktail of funds from the school and the Graduate College. This year we are offering three fellowship with $25,000 stipends in years one and five and two fellowships with $18,750 stipends also in years one and five, without teaching duties, to the top incoming new PhD students; these fellowships also cover their health insurance and provide tuition waivers. We hope to identify further sources of funding to further expand this fellowship program. These fellowships are expected to help entice the top candidates to come to ASU and once here it will allow for an accelerated completion of qualifier requirements and an early start on research. The fifth year of the fellowships will also allow them to focus on their dissertation at a time of great pressure. Last year saw many students graduate: 21 PhD degrees were awarded in the period August 2008 August 2009, and the overwhelming majority of them have obtained outstanding positions, even in this very tough job market. We congratulate them all and hope they stay in touch regularly letting us know how they are doing. 5

6 Because of recent changes in the graduate college requirements, the qualifying sequences in algebra, analysis, and discrete mathematics have been modified. To adjust to the new policies, the core math research groups have pursued slightly different modifications in their current offerings. Algebra Core Mathematics Glenn Hurlbert The algebra group added added one new course, Mat 555, and adjusted the currently existing Mat 543 and Mat 544 courses to create a three semester algebra sequence. The first two semesters of the sequence will form the basis of the qualifying exam in algebra. At the same time, the undergraduate courses, Mat 442 and Mat 444, remain relatively unchanged. Analysis The analysis group has streamlined their graduate course offerings. The qualifier sequence (for the PhD in Mathematics) is now MAT , and the old qualifier sequence MAT remains as a purely undergraduate sequence. MAT 570 is cross-listed with APM 503, with both courses taught as one, having the same content. The material previously covered in the three sequences MAT , , and is now compressed into the two sequences MAT and , and the undergraduate sequence MAT has been scaled back appropriately. Discrete Mathematics The qualifier sequence in Discrete Mathematics now consists of new courses, Mat 512 (Introduction to Combinatorics) and Mat 513 (Introduction to Graph Theory). The syllabi for the new courses are the same as what has been used for existing qualifying exams in Discrete Mathematics. The undergraduate courses Mat 415 and Mat 416 will be offered regularly as before. The undergraduate and graduate sections will be taught in the same classroom, but the requirements for the graduate and undergraduate courses will differ. In faculty news, A. Czygrinow, H. Kierstead, and J. Quigg are taking sabbatical leaves this year, Kierstead in the fall, Czygrinow in the spring, and Quigg all year. Regarding students, eight defended their PhD thesis this past year: Christopher Severs (Barcelo), Erwin Suazo (Suslov, Roudenko), Phong Chau (Czygrinow, Kierstead), Karin Saoub (Kierstead), Jacob Shotwell (Spielberg), Alejandra Alvarado (Bremner), Rachel Wallington (Jones), Ashwini Kelkar (Kierstead), and Jon Fortney (Ed Ihrig). 6

7 Applied Mathematics Zdzislaw Jackiewicz The new PhD program in applied Mathematics is in its second year. It was developed by computational and applied mathematics faculty with the design of new core and special topics courses and plans for interdisciplinary activities. These courses center on the theory of ordinary and partial differential equations, applied analysis, applied probability and stochastic processes, applied linear algebra, and computational methods for linear and nonlinear equations, differential systems and optimization. They provide a solid background for further work in computational and applied mathematics, and the students entering the program are expected to complete five out of six of these core courses in the first two years of their study, and to maintain a high grade point average. The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences has many excellent researchers who are funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force, National Institute of Health, and other federal agencies. They represent both the traditional areas of applied mathematics such as differential equations and their applications in fluid dynamics, mathematical biology, electrical engineering, and control theory, and the exciting emerging new fields such as network and systems dynamics, high performance scientific computing and meteorology, imaging, and data mining. They are well equipped to supervise research and interdisciplinary activities. This will give the students the best possible start into a research careers in applied mathematics. Our graduates will be well poised to work at research universities, government laboratories, hospitals and medical research centers, as well as local and national industries. Various institutions have previously hired applied mathematicians who graduated from our previous programs and the job prospects for the new graduates from a new program are excellent. Our next challenge is to recruit the best students, both nationally and internationally, to our program. We have identified several excellent candidates and extended several attractive offers which we hope will be accepted so our program can grow even stronger. 7

8 Statistics Sharon Lohr We welcome Ming-Hung (Jason) Kao to the Statistics program at ASU! Jason received his doctorate in statistics from the University of Georgia in 2009, working with Professors John Stufken and Abhyuday Mandal. While at the University of Georgia, Jason received the James L. Carmon Scholarship, the Department of Statistics Best Senior Student Award, and the R. L. Anderson Award. His work also earned him the best student paper award from the American Statistical Association Statistical Computing and Statistical Graphics Sections. Jason brings expertise in biostatistics, design of experiments, statistical computing, and Bayesian statistics to the school. At present, his primary research interests are in developing efficient experimental designs for MRI experiments. Professor Dennis Young will be retiring at the end of the spring semester in The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences has a successful statistics program today largely because Dennis Young co-founded it, nurtured it, and fought for it during his 35 years at ASU. Dennis has developed many of the undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics now offered and helped establish the statistical consulting center on campus. During the 1980s, as additional statisticians came to ASU in the business and engineering colleges, Dennis was one of the leaders who developed the interdepartmental Committee on Statistics, which coordinates statistical activities on campus and administers the MS Statistics degree. Dennis directed and co-directed the Committee on Statistics for 12 years. More than 100 MS students have graduated since this professional degree was established in Many of these students went into statistics because of Dennis; indeed, he has been one of the most sought-after advisors in the program and has supervised the research of 25 MS Statistics students. Dennis has also led the development of the PhD degree in Statistics at ASU; he supervised the research of the first statistics PhD student in the department and is currently working with several other PhD Statistics students. Many of the students in the school have gone into statistics because of Dennis s outstanding teaching. Students enroll in one of Dennis s classes because they ve heard from other students that he is a great teacher; by the end of the course, they ve fallen in love with statistics and decided they want a career in it. Dennis has been particularly active at encouraging students from underrepresented groups to go into statistics. He won the Wexler Award for outstanding teaching in Dennis s influence on statistics in Arizona, through his research, teaching, and collaboration, has been far-reaching and far-sighted. He has inspired thousands of students through his classes in theoretical and applied statistics. In 2008, the American Statistical Association recognized Dennis Young s outstanding contributions to the development of the statistical profession in Arizona by electing him Fellow, one of the highest honors in the statistics profession. 8

9 Mathematics Education Pat Thompson Kyeong Hah Roh, together with Jack Spielberg (Core Mathematics), received a $300,000 CCLI grant from the National Science Foundation to design a research-based curriculum for real analysis. It is a three-year project that focuses on developing instructional interventions, implementing them in real analysis courses, and exploring undergraduate students learning patterns in real analysis through the curricular materials. Carla Van de Sande received a $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation for a project entitled Open, Online, Help Forums: An Emergent Helpseeking Resource. She will investigate student and tutor activity across electronic tutoring forums that are designed according to different educational philosophies. Michael Oehrtman received a Best Paper award at the National Science Foundation s 2010 Annual Mathematics and Science Partnership research meeting held in Washington, DC. Marilyn Carlson and Michael Oehrtman received a $900,000 supplemental award from the National Science Foundation to continue Project Pathways: Opening Routes to Math and Science Success for all Students. Pat Thompson was elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. NeuroML Grant and Development Workshop Sharon Crook Sharon Crook of SoMSS has been awarded a three-year grant totaling $894,000 from the National Institutes of Health through an R01 from the NIMH. The proposed research focuses on developing an infrastructure for publishing, exchanging and reproducing complex computational models of neural systems. With her collaborators, Dr. Crook will continue to develop a description language for models of neurons and neuronal networks called NeuroML ( The international team of investigators for NeuroML includes Suzanne Dietrich from the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU West who brings expertise on XML databases to the project. One of the activities funded in the first year of the grant is the annual NeuroML Development Workshop, which was held here at ASU, March 3-6. Invited participants include senior investigators from the UK, France, India, Norway and the US. To take advantage of having these top-notch scientists at ASU, the Center for Adaptive Neural Systems has organized a broader symposium on Multiscale Approaches to Understanding Neural Plasticity that centers around the workshop. With the generous support of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, the symposium will feature lectures, a poster session and tutorials on software for simulating neural systems at multiple scales. The symposium will also serve as the annual meeting for ASU s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience. For more information about the symposium and how you can participate, visit the website at N E U R O M L 9

10 MTBI/MCMSC Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Director The 24th annual Math-Science Honors Program (MSHP) was held successfully in the summer of 2009, hosting 85 high school students predominantly from economically challenged schools from across Arizona. These participants are all firstgeneration college bound students whose attendance at MSHP help to ease them into the university experience while fostering a love of the math and science fields. In the past, 60% of MSHP participants have attended ASU after graduating from high school. The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) hosted 14 undergraduate participants at its Summer 2009 REU. Students not only participated in intense classes and research work, but also attended the SIAM Annual Meeting in Denver. Following the successful completion of the program, several participants attended the 2009 SACNAS Annual Conference in Dallas and the 2010 MAA/AMS Joint Meeting in San Francisco, to present their research at undergraduate poster sessions. Three former MTBI participants won prizes at the AMS Undergraduate Poster Presentation Session in January 2009: Don Tadaya and Ioana Hociota were recognized for their presentation on The Dynamics of a Spatial Cyclic Competition System, and Liana Medina Rios was awarded for Static Behavioral Effects on Gonorrhea Transmission Dynamics. Don Tadaya also won the Sandia National Laboratories Award for Mathematics (Undergraduate Presentations) for this poster presentation at SACNAS (October 2009). The Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center (MCMSC) is pleased to announce the establishment of an undergraduate degree program for Applied Mathematics in the Life and Social Sciences (AMLSS). Inaugural classes for this new program began in Fall (The graduate program began in Fall 2008). Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Joaquin Bustoz Jr. Professor of Mathematical Biology and Regents Professor, has received the 2010 AMS Award for Distinguished Public Service. Presented every two years by the American Mathematical Society, the award is given to a research mathematician who has made a distinguished contribution to the mathematics profession during the preceding five years. The award was presented on Thursday, January 14 at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Francisco. Castillo-Chavez has run numerous highly successful programs designed to spark interest in mathematics and science, particularly among disadvantaged students. The award citation states: Castillo-Chavez has had a major impact with his efforts and activities in improving the representation in the broad mathematical sciences of the nation s traditionally underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students. He continues his activities in research and education at a very high level and is a most worthy recipient of the AMS Distinguished Public Service Award. AMLSS students and former MTBI participants Kevin Flores, Carlos Torre, and Angela Ortiz successfully defended their dissertations this fall. To date 64 former MTBI participants have received their Ph.Ds, 42 of which are underrepresented minorities. 10

11 CSUMS Project Eric Kostelich ASU s Computational Science Training Program for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences (CSUMS) welcomed 12 new participants in Summer and Fall They are: Eric Adams, Ben Anderson, Rebecca Borchering, April Chiu, Juan Durazo, John Ingraham, Miles Manning, Jordan Martel, Alexander Petersen, Salvador Salazar, Maple So, Keith Voytek Besides the new students mentioned, other current CSUMS participants are: Ashton Feller, Dustin Franklin, Ryan Haines, Jessica Prellberg, Samantha Ramsey, Mara Steinhaus Participants in the CSUMS program attend a research seminar once a week and spend eight weeks each summer working on an intensive research project, directed by one of several faculty mentors. Student stipends of up to $9000 are available. Since its inception in January 2008, the CSUMS program, funded by the National Science Foundation, has enrolled 36 mathematics majors, most of whom have gone on to graduate school or to mathematically intensive jobs in industry. Later in March, CSUMS students Jessica Prellberg and Samantha Ramsey will give talks on their work on numerical simulation of water percolation in soils at the Southwest Undergraduate Mathematics and Research Conference, to be held in El Paso. In April, CSUMS participants Dustin Franklin, Ryan Haines, and Salvador Salazar will give a talk on their work on atmospheric dynamics at the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain (SWARM) Division annual conference of the American Association of the Advancement of Science at Rice University. Mara Steinhaus also will give a talk at the SWARM meeting on her mathematical model of the spread of rabies among wild animals in Arizona. Finally, Alexander Petersen will speak at the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Imaging Science Conference in Chicago in April on his research involving jump discontinuity detection in noisy Fourier data. The program is directed by Professor Eric Kostelich with considerable assistance from Professors Bruno Welfert, Carl Gardner, Anne Gelb, and Alex Mahalov. We are also pleased to welcome Professors Sharon Crook, Rodrigo Platte, and Wenbo Tang as new faculty participants starting in Summer Dr. Kostelich extends his sincere thanks to his colleagues, whose efforts have been essential to the success of the CSUMS program. SCIMM Anne Gelb The Southwest Conference on Integrated Mathematical Methods in Medical Imaging (SCIMM) was held Feb 6-7, 2010 at Arizona State University. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications, and SoMSS. The meeting focused on the mathematical understanding of the consequences of modern data collection strategies used in medical imaging, in particular, MRI, with respect to the generation of high fidelity images. This conference brought together researchers from mathematical sciences and engineering as well as practitioners from the biomedical community. Highlights included the invited talks from academic and clinical research institutions from the Southwest and across the U.S., as well as the nearly 30 posters presented by students and faculty. SCIMM also featured some of the recent accomplishments at ASU in mathematical methods in medical imaging. SCIMM was organized by Anne Gelb, Rosie Renaut, and Svetlana Roudenko from SoMSS, and Doug Cochran from Electrical Engineering. The organizers, together with Randy Eubank of SoMSS were awarded the NSF Focused Research Grant (FRG), a collaborative research grant entitled Integrated Mathematical Methods in Medical Imaging in Dr. Kangyu Ni, who is funded as a postdoctoral fellow by the NSF-FRG, played an integral role in the organization. Mathematical methods in imaging continues to be a strong research area in SoMSS and ASU. The talks and posters from SCIMM will be made available soon on the conference website, and anyone who is interested in this area of research is encouraged to contact the organizers. 11

12 New Faculty Ming-Hung (Jason) Kao Ming-Hung (Jason) Kao joined the school in the fall He recently received his PhD in statistics from the University of Georgia under the supervision of John Stufken and Abhyuday Mandal. His research focuses on optimal experimental designs for functional MRI. He was also involved in multiple research projects at the biostatistics consulting center of the University of Georgia. Jason has won several awards such as a student paper award, the James L. Carmon Scholarship, the R. L. Anderson award, the best senior student award and the best beginning theoretical student award. He is also an honorary member of the Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society of the Republic of China. Rodrigo Platte joined the school in the Spring Before coming to Arizona he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford with Nick Trefethen. He obtained his PhD in 2005 from the University of Delaware under the supervision of Toby Driscoll. His thesis topic was the analysis of radial basis function methods for the numerical solution of partial differential equations. He was also a visiting assistant professor at ASU in His research interests include numerical methods for partial differential equations, approximation theory and image processing. Rodrigo Platte Jay Taylor joined the school in the Fall of 2009, having previously done postdoctoral research in the Institute for Cell, Animal and Population Biology at the University of Edinburgh and in the Statistics Department at Oxford University. He obtained his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2003 from the University of Arizona under the supervision of Bruce Walsh for work on the population genetics of HIV. His current research focuses on using probability theory and coalescent models to understand how patterns of genetic variation are shaped by the simultaneous occurrence of demographic stochasticity and environmental change. He is also interested in the relationship between DNA sequence composition and the structure and dynamics of chromosomes. Jay Taylor 12

13 Faculty and Student Awards Doug Moore The SoMSS Awards Committee is charged with the task of identifying worthy recipients for a number of scholarships and awards. The committee last year consisted of Kyeong Hah Roh, Sergei Suslov and Doug Moore, Chair. In a total of 15 people were recognized for outstanding achievements. The two Wexler Awards are given in honor of Professor Charles Wexler, who founded the ASU Mathematics Department in 1930 and served as a faculty member until The Wexler Teaching Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching by a faculty member went to Glenn Hurlbert. The Wexler Mathematics Prize goes to the outstanding graduating senior in SoMSS. This award was shared in 2009 by Aaron Royer and Steven Troxler. The Joaquin Bustoz Memorial Scholarship is given in honor of Professor Joaquin Bustoz, who taught mathematics at ASU from 1975 to This award goes to a graduate of the Summer Math-Science Honors program, which was created by Dr. Bustoz in order to help talented minority students to achieve their full potential. The recipient in 2009 was Richard Madison Haynie. The Jack H. Hawes Memorial Mathematics Research Scholarship is given in honor of John Hurst Hawes, a second generation Arizonan whose grandparents were pioneers in the valley. The scholarship is intended to promote research at the undergraduate level. The recipient this year was Benjamin Anderson. The Andre Levard Mackey Scholarship is given to honor the memory Andre Levard Mackey, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics at ASU in May The purpose of this scholarship is to promote the benefits and educational values of diversity in the student body by increasing representation of Black, Hispanic and Native American students. In 2009 the award went to Marcos Valdez. The Arizona Power Authority awards a scholarship to an undergraduate SoMSS major to promote the awareness of job opportunities provided by the Authority for mathematics majors. In 2009 the recipient was Andrew Brandon. Each year the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awards a number of Dean s Circle scholarships to the college s best and brightest undergraduate students. One of these goes to a SoMSS undergraduate. In 2009 the recipient was Jerod Hartley. The Robert G. Maule Excellence in Teaching Mathematics Award was established by Elaine Maule as a tribute to her late husband and his passion for learning and teaching mathematics. This award goes to a SoMSS graduate teaching assistant for a record of excellence in teaching the lower division courses. In 2009 the recipient was Jennifer Broatch. The Floyd L Downs Teaching of Mathematics Fellowship Award supports a SoMSS graduate student whose primary interests concern the improvement of the teaching of mathematics in the high schools. In 2009 the recipient was Eric D Weber. The two Graduate Student Research Awards for 2009 went to Ricordo Cordero-Soto and Thanate Dhirasakdanon. The two Undergraduate Student Research Awards were shared by Taylor Hines, Mary Cameron and Audrey Whitmer. 13

14 Ph.D. Graduations Jenifer Boshes, PhD Statistics, December 2009,Co-advisor: Randy Eubank, Nong Ye,Dissertation: Change Point Detection in Cyber-Attack Data Jennifer Ellen Broatch, PhD Statistics, December 2009, Advisor: Sharon Lynn Lohr, Dissertation: Multivariate Models for Assessing Educational Effectiveness with continuous and Categorical Responses David Bryant King, PhD Statistics, December 2009, Advisor: Randy Eubank, Dissertation: Canonical Correlation Analysis of Functional Data Christopher Clark Severs, PhD Math, December 2009, Advisor: Helene Barcelo, Dissertation: On the Discrete Fundamental Groups of the Associahedron and Cyclohedron Erwin Suazo, PhD Math, December 2009, Co-advisor: Sergei K. Suslov, Svetlana Roudenko, Dissertation: Fundamental Solutions of Some Evolution Equations Phong Quoc Chau, PhD Math, August 2009, Co-advisor: Andrzej Czygrinow, Henry A. Kierstead, Dissertation: Hamiltonian Square Cycles in Ore-type Graphs Bruce W. Rogers. PhD Math, August 2009, Advisor: Thomas Taylor, Dissertation: Consensus Problems: Censoring and the Control of Consensus Values Antonio M. Rubio, PhD Math, August 2009, Advisor: Juan Lopez, Dissertation: Studies in Rotating Convection Paul Leonard Salceanu, PhD Math, August 2009, Advisor: Hal L. Smith, Dissertation: Lyapunov Exponents and Persistence in Dynamical Systems with Applications to Some Discrete Time Models Karin Rebecca Saoub, PhD Math, August 2009, Advisor: Henry A. Kierstead, Dissertation: Online and First-Fit Coloring of Bounded Tolerance Graphs Jacob Paul Shotwell, PhD Math, August 2009, Advisor: Jack Spielberg, Dissertation: Ideals in k-graph algebras Sarah Anne Hews, PhD Applied, August 2009, Advisor: Yang Kuang, Dissertation: Models of Hepatitis B Virus Infection: A Study on Hepatocyte proliferation rates Brenda Catherine Jenney, PhD Statistics, August 2009, Advisor: Sharon Lohr, Dissertation: Hierarchical Experiments: Design for Fixed Effects and Variance Components Trent L. Lalonde, PhD Statistics, August 2009, Advisor: Jeffrey Wilson, Dissertation: Components of Overdispersion in Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models Alejandra Alvarado, May 2009, Advisor: Andrew Bremner, Dissertation: Arithmetic Progressions on Curves Russell Webster Park, PhD Applied Math, May 2009, Advisor: Zdzislaw Jackiewicz, Dissertation: Optimal Compression and Numerical Stability for Gegenbauer Reconstructions with Applications Rachel Wallington, May 2009, Advisor: John W. Jones, Dissertation: Number Fields with Solvable Galois Groups and Small Galois Root Discriminants Ashwini Kelkar, December 2008, Advisor: Hal Kierstead, Dissertation: A Study of the Subgraphs and the Conjecture of the Middle Two Layers Graph, Using Modular Matchings Ana Maria Kupresanin, December 2008, Advisor: Randall Eubank, Dissertation: Topics in Functional Canonical Correlation and Regression Rishu Saxena, December 2008, Co-advisors: Anne Gelb and Hans Mittelmann, Dissertation: High Order Methods for Edge Detection and Applications Steven Spiriti, December 2008, Co-advisors: Randall Eubank and Dennis Young, Dissertation: Random Search Optimization for Free-Knot Splines and P-Splines Wolfgang Stefan, December 2008,Advisor: Rosemary Renaut, Dissertation: Total Variation Regularization for Linear Ill-Posed, Inverse Problems: Extensions and Applications Ali Unver, December 2008, Advisor: Christian Ringhofer, Dissertation: Observation Based PDE Models for Stochastic Production Systems 14

15 Visit Our Web Pages: The school is doing well in terms of external grant support, with faculty members holding some 40 grants currently. Recent grants to members of the school are listed at Renate Mittelmann, IT Director for the school, is doing a great job updating the school s Web site: check out the Web pages there! Donations Donations to support school scholarships in any amount are always truly appreciated. All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation, a separate nonprofit organization that exists to benefit ASU. Please make checks payable to the ASU Foundation. Mailing address: Arizona State University SoMSS PO Box Tempe,AZ

16 MATH VIEWS Palm Walk 1930s. Courtesy University Archives, Arizona State University Libraries Contact Information School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Arizona State University PO Box Tempe, AZ Editor: Carl Gardner, Design by: School of Life Sciences Visualization Lab, ASU ASU School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences 2027/0310/250