Professor Balgobin Nandram receives two awards for excellence from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first award is a team award for the CASH RENTS TEAM. This team is comprised of Lu Chen (one of Bal's PhD students), Nathan Cruz, Lori Harper, Michael Mathison, Balgobin Nandram, Jennifer Rhorer, Luca Sartore, and Tenopra Shepphard. This award was for terrific teamwork and technical expertise in implementing new Cash Rents statistics with an updated outlier identification process and a new modeling process. The second award, solely to Bal Nandram, was a Cooperator of the Year Award for his outstanding contributions in service to the Research and Development Division. These Awards for Excellence are for research that Bal Nandram has been doing for his prestigious grant award titled "Bayesian Models for Cash Rents of U.S. Counties".
Congratulations to Jessica Wang and Ben Gobler for their excellent performance in this year's Kryptos competition
Ben and Jessica were among just nine of 77 teams who solved all three cryptography challenges. (See here for the three puzzles, the first of which is included below.) Based on their solution to all the problems in the contest, Wang & Gobler achieved the TURING level of achievement and now should be referred to as “Master Codebreakers”.
The Kryptos competition is hosted annually by Central Washington University (coordinated by Professor Stuart Boersma); in their words "κρυπτοσ or kryptos, is a contest open to any and all undergraduate students. The theme of the contest is centered around the breaking, or cryptanalysis, of ciphers (secret writing)”. This is not WPI’s first strong showing in the competition: last year, Forrest Miller and Avery Smith achieved BABBAGE level.
For more information see:
Guanying Peng awarded 3-year Grant from the National Science Foundation's Applied Mathematics Program
Assistant Professor Guanying Peng has been awarded a new 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Applied Mathematics Program. The project is titled From Differential Inclusions to Variational Problems: Theory and Applications.
In Guanying Peng's own words: Singularities are ubiquitous in nature. Examples include turbulence in fluid dynamics, folds in thin films, and defects in liquid crystals. The physical behavior around singularities is generally highly complex, posing great challenges to the efforts of understanding their formation, structure, and influence on neighboring regions. The knowledge of the nature of singularities is fundamental to predict a system’s behavior or to develop effective applications for a material. This project considers systems in continuum mechanics and materials science that can be described directly or indirectly by a class of partial differential equations (PDE). The main goals include developing novel mathematical methods for analyzing this class of PDE and applying such new methods to better understand the nature of their singularities.
For further information, please see:
Congratulations to the Provost's MQP Award winners: Ben Gobler, Lexi Ferrini, Alison Lambert and Donovan Robillard
Congratulations to Ben Gobler for winning the Provost's MQP Award for Mathematical Sciences!
MQP Project Title: The Calkin-Wilf Tree; Extensions and Applications
Advisors: Brigitte Servatius and Herman Servatius
Congratulations to Lexi Ferrini, Alison Lambert and Donovan Robillard for winning the Provost's MQP Award for Actuarial Mathematics!
MQP Project Title: Copula Modeling: An Application to Workers' Compensation Claims
Advisors: Jon Abraham and Barry Posterro
Elisa Negrini wins 1st place in the GRIE for Mathematical, Chemical and Physical Sciences
Elisa Negrini competed in the Graduate Research Innovation Exchange (GRIE) and won 1st place for Mathematical, Chemical, and Physical Sciences for her presentation titled "A neural network ensemble approach to system identification".
In addition, on April 13th, Elisa Negrini successfully defended her PhD Dissertation titled "Robust Deep Learning Algorithms for System Identification".
Postdoctoral Scholar Duncan Wright named 2022-2023 American Mathematical Society Congressional Fellow
Duncan Wright, Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Scholar has been named the 2022-2023 American Mathematical Society Congressional Fellow.
He will bring his mathematical expertise to a congressional office to shape decision-making processes that have societal impact.
Please read more from the AMS announcement here.
Francesca Bernardi awarded two grants to create and support Girls Talk Math (GTM) at WPI
Professor Francesca Bernardi has been awarded two grants for Girls Talk Math at WPI. Girls Talk Math (GTM) is a free two-week mathematics & media day camp with activities that embody WPI's motto of theory and practice; students from Worcester Public Schools will work at hands-on activities that will explore different aspects of technology and innovation. Camp will run at WPI on July 11th-22nd, Monday to Friday. The first award is for a grant titled "Girls Talk Math at WPI: A math and media camp to engage local girls and non-binary high school students," totaling over $21,000 from the Women's Impact Network (press release here). The second award is a Mathematical Association of America Tensor Women & Mathematics Grant titled "Girls Talk Math at WPI: Improving students' attitude towards challenges and self-confidence through a math and media camp," totaling $6,000.
WPI To Host 38th Annual Mathematical Problems in Industry (MPI) Workshop June 13-17, 2022
MPI is a problem solving workshop that attracts leading applied mathematicians and scientists from universities, industry, and national laboratories. During the workshop, engineers and scientists from industry interact with the academic participants on problems of interest to their companies.
For further information please visit https://labs.wpi.edu/cims/initiatives/mpi/
Min Wu awarded 5 year, $450,000 NSF CAREER Award
The 5-year, $450,000 NSF CAREER Award is titled CAREER: Probing Multiscale Growth Dynamics in Filamentous Cell Walls. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. From Professor Min Wu's description of the proposed research: Various plants and fungi rely on filamentous growth to develop, reproduce, or survive under environmental stress. For example, the growth of root hairs with one-cell width effectively increases the surface area of the plant roots to absorb water and nutrients. Although experimental approaches have been able to track cell wall morphology and kinematics on the expanding cell wall surface for more than a century, the regulation of cell wall growth needs further elucidation. This project will develop mathematical models and computational methods to simulate the cell wall expansion due to the spatial patterning of new cell wall materials and mechanical interaction with the cell interior. Further, inference methods will be devised to predict the spatial patterning of wall-material trafficking from the cell wall geometry and quantify how volume growth inside the cell wall is distributed and rearranged to sustain the cell wall geometry during expansion and under mechanical constraints. The methods developed in this research can be applied to filamentous growth systems such as pollen tubes, root hairs, fungus hyphae, thus having significant implications in advancing agriculture and improving public health. Complementary to the research, the investigator will engage students, including K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students, in research mentorship, journal clubs, and a new interactive learning platform "Filaform”, to promote interest and transdisciplinary understanding of this biological process by leveraging geometry and other mathematics in conjunction with modern and emerging experimental techniques.
For more information please see: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2144372
Barry Posterro Achieves the Designation of Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society
Barry Posterro, Associate Teaching Professor in Mathematical Sciences has achieved the designation of Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS)! The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) is a professional society of actuaries specializing in the insurance of things (cars, homes, etc.) and also worker’s compensation and professional liability policies. This significant achievement of ACAS is a culmination of successfully completing a comprehensive series of exams covering statistics, financial mathematics, actuarial statistics, financial markets, ratemaking, claim liabilities, as well as regulation and financial reporting. Congratulations, Barry!
Sam Walcott awarded $1.4 Million NIH Grant
The NIH award is titled Collaborative Research: A Predictive Theory of Muscle Energy Consumption. This work will develop mathematical models to predict the amount of chemical energy that muscles need to contract, an advance that could lead to improved medical treatments and the creation of better prosthetic devices. This is in collaboration with Walter Herzog at the University of Calgary, Manoj Srinivasan at The Ohio State University, and Edward Debold at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
For more information, please see:
Zheyang Wu awarded $200,000 NSF Grant
The 3-year award is titled New Techniques to Combine Measures of Statistical Significance from Heterogeneous Data Sources with Application to Analysis of Genomic Data. Professor Wu is the PI on this award from the Statistics Program at the National Science Foundation.
In Professor Wu's own words:
This project is motivated by integrative analysis of large-scale genomic data, where an important question is how to effectively combine statistical significances, or p-values, from heterogeneous data sources. Despite recent advances in theoretical and applied studies, statistical and computational challenges remain in addressing critical data features, such as complex correlations, discreteness of data, and high availability of prior knowledge that could have been utilized to boost signal detection. This project will develop novel statistical methods to address the challenges and increase the statistical power for detecting valid signals. The research will facilitate innovations in statistical theory and methodology as well as in broad applications.
For more information, please see: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2113570&HistoricalAward...
Math major Ben Gobler wins Council on Undergrad Research Award at Mathfest
The Mathematical Association of America's (MAA's) annual MathFest took place August 4th-7th and many WPI faculty and students participated and gave presentations. Our very own Ben Gobler (majoring in Mathematical Sciences) gave a presentation titled "Listing the Rationals Using Continued Fractions". This presentation was awarded the Council on Undergrad Research (CUR) Award at MathFest. Congratulations, Ben!!
Vladimir Druskin awarded 3 year NSF grant.
The 3-year NSF award is titled “Collaborative Research: Multiscale Simulations and Imaging of Viscoelastic Media in Reduced Order Model Framework” and is joint with Elena Cherkaev (University of Utah) and Murthy Guddati (NCSU). Vladimir is the PI on the WPI part of the award ($159,552). In Vladimir's own words: The foundation of this project is the Stieltjes-Krein (elastic) network realization of data-driven reduced order models that we previously developed for imaging in oil exploration and defense applications. We plan to extend this approach to non-Stieltjes viscoelastic networks and apply it to non-destructive testing and medical imaging.
For more information, please see:
Joseph Fehribach authors new textbook "Multivariable and Vector Calculus"
This carefully-designed book covers multivariable and vector calculus, and is appropriate either as a text of a one-semester course, or for self-study. It includes many worked-through exercises, with answers to all the basic computational ones and hints to those that are more involved, as well as lots of diagrams which illustrate the various theoretical concepts. It is written at the level of the WPI courses MA 1024 Y and MA 1034, and we hope that it is followed in a couple of years by a second book on sequences and series in calculus, based on the material in MA 1033. More information can be found at https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110660609/html
Math Students Put in Outstanding Performance at 2021 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
William Aaron, Connor Anderson, Kyle Dituro, Ben Gobler, Avery Smith, and Kejia Wang participated in this prestigious mathematics competition involving students from the US and Canada.
These tests are extremely challenging-- the median score of all participants is often 0 or 1 (out of a maximum of 120). This year, over half the team broke into the double digits! Extraordinary work! WPI's top scorer this year was Ben Gobler!! Congratulations, Ben!!
In addition, many thanks to Prof. Padraig O'Cathain and Prof. Briggite Servatius for their time and efforts training and leading this team effort.
Bal Nandram receives USDA NASS grant to get reliable estimates of cash rental rates
In Professor Nandram's own words: This work at NASS is to develop Bayesian small area models to get reliable estimates of cash rental rates. I also advise researchers at NASS on the use of these small area models, which use Markov chain Monte Carlo methods extensively and routinely. NASS informs many crop insurance and agricultural support programs administered by other agencies.. Many farmers rent their lands to other farmers, and it is useful to know annually what a fair price is by practice (irrigated, non-irrigated, and pasture land) for each of 49 states consisting of nearly 3000 counties with nearly two million operations. Models must be operationalized to provide fast analysis and precise positive estimates of cash rental rates with standard errors. This is a very important on-going activity at NASS because NASS is responsible to the US government to perform this research activity.
Kevin Stern named winner of Provost’s MQP Award for Math Department
On Friday April 30th, we held our virtual project presentation day event. Eighteen projects were presented, showcasing many areas of Mathematical Sciences. This year, the projects and presentations were outstanding!
Congratulations to Kevin Stern, the winner of this year's Provost's MQP Award for the Department of Mathematical Sciences!
Project Title: Equivalent Resistances of Polytope Networks
Student: Kevin Stern
Advisors: Brigitte Servatius (MA), Padmanabhan Aravind (PH)
An additional congratulations to all graduating seniors along with their MQP advisors for completing this important part of what makes WPI unique.
Last but not least, a heartfelt thank you to the Undergraduate Committee--Randy Paffenroth, Jon Abraham, Joseph Fehribach, Oren Mangoubi, Fangfang Wang, and Min Wu-- and our Operations Manager Rhonda Podell for putting together this stellar event!
Adam Sales receives Grant to Use Modern Measurement Models to Summarize Complex Implementation Data
In Adam's own words: Randomized field trials of interventions in education, health, and other areas often gather complex, rich data on how the intervention is carried out. For instance, in interventions involving educational technology, researchers gather computer log data of students' actions within the program. There is broad agreement that implementation data is important, but little guidance on how best to use it to understand treatment effects. This project develops a framework for using modern measurement models to summarize complex implementation data, and then to estimate different average treatment effects for groups of subjects who implement (or would implement) the intervention in different ways.
For further information on this award, please visit: https://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=4544
Adam is also a Co-PI on two other recent grants "Improving the Power of Education Experiments with Auxiliary Data" and "Direct adjustment in combination with robust or nonlinear regression: software and methods for RDDs, RCTs and matched observational studies"
WPI Math Department and WPI Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics Hosts Sonia Kovalevsky Day Event.
Over 2 dozen 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls with an interest in math signed on for this virtual event to honor Sonia Kovalevsky, the first woman to obtain a PhD in Mathematics. The goal of the event was to bolster participants’ passion and enthusiasm for mathematics in a supportive environment. WPI students engaged the participants in math activities and featured keynote talks by women leaders in STEM including WPI President Laurie Leshin and WPI Dean of Arts and Sciences Jean King. SK Day 2021 was supported by a grant to Prof. Andrea Arnold from the Women’s Impact Network as well as the WPI Mathematical Sciences Department.
Randy Paffenroth Partners with Synoptic Engineering (Prime: DARPA)
May 24, 2021
In this project, WPI Professor Randy Paffenroth is working with Synoptics Engineering (Prime: DARPA) on using machine learning to study electromagnetic scattering problems. The key idea is to train deep neural networks on far-field scattering patterns and use these deep neural networks to infer properties of the scattering medium.
Congratulations to 2021 WPI Kryptos Team
Math Students Frederick (Forrest) Miller and Avery Smith turned in an excellent performance
at this year's Kryptos Challenge a multi-day hacking competition hosted by Central Washington University.
The contest held on April 22nd consisted of a series of three cryptanalysis challenges, with 65 teams (over 128 students) from the USA and abroad taking part. The WPI team achieved “Babbage” level by solving two out of three of the challenges. (Just 10 teams solved all three and 11 other teams solved the first two.) Congratulations to Avery and Forrest for this wonderful achievement!!
In addition, many thanks to Prof. Bill Martin for being the faculty advisor!
Professor Oren Mangoubi Receives NSF/CCF Grant
The grant is titled “CRII: AF: Optimization and sampling algorithms with provable generalization and runtime guarantees, with applications to deep learning”.
In Professor Mangoubi’s own words "The aim of this project is to design novel optimization and sampling algorithms for training deep learning and other machine learning models, and to prove guarantees on the running time, generalization error, and related robustness properties of these algorithms. Training algorithms with good generalization properties can lead to machine learning models which are more robust to changes in the dataset, allow for robust predictions, and help mitigate algorithmic bias when the training dataset may not be fully representative of the diversity of the population dataset."
For more information, please visit:
Math Grad Student Wins 1st Place at The Finals of The Graduate Research innovation Exchange (GRIE) held in April
Congratulations to Yang (Lyric) Liu! She won 1st place in the Mathematical, Chemical, and Physical Sciences for her poster presentation on "Bayesian Inference for Big Data: Combining Probability Sample and Non-probability".
Congratulations to her faculty advisor as well, Prof. Bal Nandram!
Math Students Take Top Prize in Actuarial Case Competition
Congratulations first year MAC majors, Celeste Rehm, Abby Barksdale, Kevin McGonigle, Emerald Pham, and Anshika Jain and Liz Cole for winning the 13th Annual Actuarial Case Competition sponsored by Travelers Insurance!!! https://www.wpi.edu/news/announcements/wpi-students-take-top-prize-actuarial-case-competition