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NSF to Fund New Institutes

NSF to Fund New Institutes

The National Science Foundation announced that it will fund three new research institutes to help strengthen the mathematical sciences in the United States. The three new institutes will receive funds that are projected to total $24 million over the next five years. In addition, the NSF also renewed funding for the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. The new funding is in addition to the three institutes already funded by NSF: the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota; and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California.

The Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State University will focus on interdisciplinary work neuroscience, cell processes, and other biological problems. The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, will sponsor work tying together statistics, applied mathematics, and other disciplines, with a focus on data-driven and model-driven scientific challenges. Finally, the Research Conference Center of the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) in Palo Alto, California, will host research workshops on fundamental and interdisciplinary mathematical sciences.

For more on the NSF awards, see the press release at

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute

By James O. Berger

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical
Sciences Institute (SAMSI)

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) is a partnership between the National Science Foundation and the consortium of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS). SAMSI will be housed in the NISS building in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. SAMSI will be led by Director James O. Berger, Duke University, and Associate Directors H. Thomas Banks, North Carolina State University, Alan F. Karr, National Institute of Statistical Sciences, and J. Stephen Marron, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

SAMSI's mission is to forge a new synthesis of the statistical sciences with the applied mathematical sciences and disciplinary science to confront the very hardest and most important data- and model-driven scientific challenges. The scientific efforts at SAMSI will be organized into programs of six months to one year in duration. The 2002-2003 programs are (i) Inverse Problem Methodology In Complex Stochastic Models; (ii) Stochastic Computation; and (iii) Large-Scale Computer Models for Environmental Systems. There are numerous opportunities for participation in SAMSI activities by researchers, including postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, and teachers. For additional details about SAMSI, its programs and opportunities for participation, see the web site

James Berger is the director of SAMSI.

AIM Research Conference Center: A New Math Institute

By Helen Moore

There's a new NSF-funded institute devoted to mathematics. The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM), a nonprofit math institute in Palo Alto, CA, has received a $5 million grant from NSF to found the AIM Research Conference Center (ARCC), which will begin running workshops in autumn 2002.

"We are extremely gratified to have been awarded this grant," said Brian Conrey, Director of AIM. "AIM collaborations have led to some nice results as the 80 papers in our preprint series demonstrate. The recent proof of the Perfect Graph Conjecture, which followed from work started with an AIM project, also shows the power of focused collaborative research."

The AIM Research Conference Center (ARCC)

Whereas fifty years ago mathematical collaboration was relatively rare, today approximately half of all mathematical papers are written by multiple authors. ARCC will help develop and support collaborations by holding small, focused research workshops, with entire groups of attendees devoting themselves to a specific mathematical goal. Special attention will be devoted to facilitate collaborations which include women, underrepresented minorities, and researchers at primarily undergraduate institutions. To aid in collaboration before and after workshops, there will also be an accessible website which includes open problems and progress updates.

Workhops will be held at AIM in Palo Alto, CA for the first two years, but then the AIM Research Conference Center will move to Morgan Hill, forty miles south of Palo Alto. The ARCC buildings will be styled after the "Alhambra" in Granada, Spain, known for its mathematically intricate patterns. The new site will include a lecture hall, an extensive library, and visitor accommodations. Eventually, ARCC will hold twenty-four weeklong workshops each year, on a diverse range of topics. Up to 32 researchers will participate and be housed on-site during each workshop. The future ARCC site is adjacent to the largest state park in northern California, Henry W. Coe State Park, which has several hundred miles of hiking trails.

AIM itself has been around since 1994, when it was founded by Silicon Valley businesspeople John Fry and Steve Sorenson, to support research mathematics. John Fry received an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Santa Clara University, and was inspired by his professor and former MAA president, Gerald Alexanderson, who is chair of the board of trustees of AIM. AIM has sponsored conferences, small focused research groups, public math lectures, and math activities for local high school students. See for more pictures and information about AIM and ARCC.

Helen Moore is Associate Director of the AIM Research Conference Center.

MBI Ties Together Math and Biology

The Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI) at Ohio State University is to be a place for vigorous research in mathematical biology and related fields. Its goals include sponsoring the development of new "mathematical theories, statistical methods, and computational algorithms for the solution of fundamental problems in the biosciences." It will seek to involve both mathematical scientists and bioscientists in this effort and to nurture a community of scholars interested in these problems.

MBI plans to sponsor special emphasis years, workshops on topics of current interest, education programs, and research projects. During 2002-2003, the MBI will be running a program on Mathematical Neuroscience. This is to be followed by a program on Mathematical Modeling of Cell Processes during 2003-2004.

For more information on MBI, visit their web site at

News Date: 
Tuesday, August 27, 2002