March 12, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

Thanks to the hard work of several School of Mathematics graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff and faculty, the High School Mathematics competition was a huge success, with more than 400 students participating in the event.

This annual competition covers a wide range of topics, including algebra, Euclidean geometry, combinatorics, number theory, and calculus. Schools from any state are welcome to compete, and schools may register up to five teams with up to five contestants per team.

Special thanks to the organizing committee: Sharon McDowell, Annette Rohrs, Eric Sabo, Elizabeth (Betsie) Last, Chi Ho Yuen, George Kerchev, and Shane Scott. Also thanks to Mohammad Ghomi for an exciting presentation on the age-old Durer's problem and recent progress, and to J.D. Walsh for engaging the students, parents and school counselors with a passionate talk on professional opportunities for students majoring in math.

Winners:

  • 1st Place - Henrik Boecken
  • 2nd Place - Timothy Geiseking
  • 3rd Place - Kalen Patton
  • 4th Place - Aaron Fishburn

Teams with top scores:

  • First - Northview High School, Team A
  • Second - Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Team A
  • Third - Chamblee Charter High School, Team A
  • Fourth - Northview High School, Team B

March 13, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

32nd Southeastern Analysis Meeting

SEAM 32 will be hosted in Tampa, FL by the University of South Florida during March 13-15, 2016. Professor Doron Lubinsky is a plenary speaker and our recently hired assistant professor, Shahaf Nitzan, is an invited speaker. Visit the SEAM 32 website for complete details as they become available.

30th Southeastern Analysis Meeting

SEAM 30 will be hosted by Clemson University organized by Mishko Mitkovski, a previous post doc in Tech's School of Mathematics. Professor Michael Lacey is a plenary speaker. The conference will begin the morning of March 7, 2014 and continue into the afternoon on March 8, 2014. There will be eight plenary talks given by five senior (1-hour talks) and three junior (30 minute talks) mathematicians. Visit the SEAM 30 website for complete details.

28th Southeastern Analysis Meeting

SEAM 28 will be hosted by the University of Alabama on March 9-10, 2012. The meeting has a rich history and its main purpose is to bring together experienced researchers, junior faculty, and graduate students to discuss recent work and advances in Operator Theory, Classical Complex Analysis, Harmonic Analysis, Function Theoretic Operator Theory, and related areas. The conference will begin the morning of March 9 and go into the afternoon of March 10.

27th Southeastern Analysis Meeting

SEAM 27 will be held in conjuction with John Conway Day on Thursday March 17, 2011 on the occassion of his upcoming retirement in recognition of his influence on function theoretic operator theory, his many students and collaborators, and for contributions to SEAM. The combined meeting will take place on the University of Florida campus from the morning of March 17 through the afternoon of March 19, 2011. Visit the SEAM 27 website for complete details.

26th Southeastern Analysis Meeting

Photos from 2010 meeting

The Southeastern Analysis Meeting (SEAM) promotes interaction between researchers and encourages research and education in the field of analysis. The meeting has a very rich history, is well established, and is frequently well-attended. The main purpose of this conference is to bring together experienced researchers, junior faculty, and graduate students to discuss recent work and advances in Operator Theory, Classical Complex Analysis and Harmonic Analysis, Function Theoretic Operator Theory, and related areas.

The meeting will take place on the Georgia Tech campus during March 25-28, 2010.

Hour-long talks will include the following speakers:

Thirty-minute talks will be given by the following speakers:

Organizers are:

For more details on registration and abstract submissions, please visit the SEAM website.
Schedule of Presentations

Maps: Parking and venue location

If you are traveling to Atlanta for SEAM via plane, then the easiest way to reach Tech is the MARTA (~$2.50), though a Taxi is a reasonable option as well (~$35). The subway (MARTA) runs from the airport directly to the Georgian Terrace Hotel. At the airport, follow the signs to MARTA, which is the Atlanta Subway. You'll see the signs after arriving at the baggage claim area.

The airport is the end of the south line. To reach campus and the Georgian Terrace, ride the train north, to the North Ave MARTA stop. For the hotel, exit the station--and the building--towards the HEAD of the train. You'll be on 3rd street, once you exit the building. Turn right, walking one block to 3rd and Peachtree. Cross Peachtree, and turn right to get to the Georgian Terrace, the tall building with a glass cylinder going up. To reach the campus and conference location, follow these directions, but then it is best to consult the map on the conference website for how to walk from the subway station to Klaus.

Directions from the Georgian Terrace Hotel to the campus venue are on-line. The hotel is 1.2 miles from the SEAM venue and is about a 25-minute leisurely walk.

 

Questions? Contact seam@math.gatech.edu
Event Day Phone Number:  To be Activated on Event Day Only

Subscribe to the SEAM mailing list to receive information as it becomes available.

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the NSF for their support of this conference.

March 19, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

Georgia Institute of Technology is proud to be a key partner and sponsor of the 2016 Atlanta Science Festival (ASF). The weeklong science celebration takes place during March 19-26 in various venues in the city, as well as on the Georgia Tech Campus.

The Georgia Tech community will be hosting 10 events through March 25. On March 26, 13 Georgia Tech exhibitors will join others at the Exploration Expo, which will be held at Centennial Olympic Park from 11am to 5pm.

See the complete program for more details. The College of Sciences has also compiled a complete list of events.

March 25, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

Tom Morley will receive the 2016 Faculty Academic Outreach Award. This award provides Georgia Tech with the opportunity to reward faculty members for productive academic outreach in which they go beyond their normal duties to enrich the larger educational community with their subject matter knowledge. One or two awards are granted annually depending on the number and quality of nominations. However, no more than one faculty member from any given academic unit will be chosen in the same year.

Ronghua Pan will receive the 2016 Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award. Established in 2005 through a gift from School of Mechanical Engineering Regents’ Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Eichholz, the award was created to reward senior faculty members who had made a long-term contribution to introductory undergraduate education and were outstanding teachers for students taking freshman and sophomore core courses. Recently the award has broadened to recognize faculty at any point in their careers who excel in teaching core and general education courses and who help students establish a solid foundation for their education at Georgia Tech.

March 25, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

Every Spring, CETL hosts Celebrating Teaching Day as a time for faculty and graduate students to gather together to showcase pedagogical research and teaching accomplishments from the past year. This annual event provides an opportunity for instructors from across campus to reflect on practices and strategies that enhance student learning, and to celebrate Georgia Tech educational efforts. The event typically includes a luncheon, a guest speaker, a brief program honoring teaching excellence, and a poster display session where our Teaching Fellows and Teaching Scholars, the Brittain Fellows, and other campus constituents highlight ongoing projects, initiatives and research they have engaged in during the year.

The School of Mathematics was well represented. As many as 22 teachers from Mathematics were recognized as Thank-a-Teacher recepients, out of the 47 from the college.

In addition, the following received recognition:

The 2015 Graduate Teaching Fellows were:

  • Yoan Delchev (Math) teamed up with Michael Steffens (AE): GoSTEM Graduate Teaching Fellows at Radloff
  • Spencer Tolbert (Math) teamed up with Michael Tannenbaum (Physics) -- at Maynard Jackson High School: GTRI Graduate Teaching Fellows

CETL/BP Outstanding TA Award Finalists:

  • Ishwari Kunwar: Grad student instructor award finalist
  • Shane Scott: Grad TA award finalist
  • Derek Kielty: Undergrad TA award finalist

March 31, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

Lutz Warnke, who is soon joining the School of Mathematics faculty, is receiving the 2016 Dénes König Prize. This award is awarded biennially by the SIAM Activity Group on Discrete Mathematics (SIAG/DM) to an early career researcher or early career researchers for outstanding research, as determined by the prize committee. Awards are given for research in an area of discrete mathematics, based on a publication by the candidate(s) in a peer-reviewed journal published in the three calendar years prior to the year of the award.

Lutz is being recognized for his contribution to the study of random graph processes and phase transitions. His impressive contributions include joint papers with (his advisor) Oliver Riordan.

 

  • The Evolution of Subcritical Achlioptas Processes, Random Structures and Algorithms 47 (2015)
  • Explosive Percolation Is Continuous, Science 333 (2011), 322-324.

Lutz Warnke will given this prize during the biennial SIAM Conference on Discrete Math, which happens to be at GSU in Atlanta this year, June 6-10, 2016.

April 5, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

School of Mathematics' graduate students Samantha Petti and Justin Lanier have been awarded NSF graduate research fellowships. They join Anna Kirkpatrick and JD Walsh as NSF fellows currently among the graduate students in the School. This year only 3 such fellowships were awarded to the entire College of Sciences. More infomation on this NSF program is available on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Program website.

April 6, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

April is Mathematics Awareness Month! In the first of a series of Q & A miniprofiles, The College of Sciences published Get to Know the Math Prof: Prasad Tetali.

In the article, Prasad explains his research, recalls highlights of his career, and shares personal insights.

What is your research about?

I work in discrete mathematics with connections to theoretical computer science and optimization. Discrete mathematics refers to objects such as integers, graphs, biological units, computers, and social networks. It can involve a finite or an infinite number of objects. It deals with counting techniques that are more sophisticated than basic permutations and combinations.

 

 

Discrete mathematics also deals with probability models and algorithms that involve (and benefit from) tossing a coin or rolling a die, while making decisions. The results are often simple and very efficient. For example, given a very large whole number, a probabilistic algorithm can very quickly tell whether the number is prime or not. However, explaining why the algorithms work well can be tricky.

This field is useful in modeling and understanding digital computation, computer security, and optimization. It helps solve problems such as how to schedule airplanes to maximize capacity and minimize cost. Discrete math also can be used to understand genetic networks and the secondary structures of biological macromolecules.

In the past few decades, discrete mathematics has received much attention and support from the computer science community, thanks to everyone's attempts to understand and classify many useful, everyday optimization problems as computationally easy, tractable, or intractable.

What has been the most exciting time so far in your research life?

I've had a few exciting times. The earliest was publishing my first research paper as a graduate  student working with the Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos, the most prolific mathematician of all times and one of the best-known 20th-century mathematicians. My work with Erdos perhaps was one factor that helped me get the job at Tech!

 Another time was when my 2008 research paper in number theory and cryptography, written with my former postdoc Ravi Montenegro, got noticed by a French popular science writer, who then wrote about it in the French science magazine La Recherche. The title of our paper -- "How long does it take to catch a wild kangaroo?" – may have had something to do with the popular attention.

The third would be when the paper I coauthored with my Georgia Tech colleague Ernie Croot and Andrew Granville (University of Montreal), and Robin Pemantle (University of Pennsylvania) was published in 2012 in the Annals of Mathematics, the top journal in the field.

The problem the paper addresses had been around for a while. It was brought to my attention in 1996 by Carl Pomerance, and in 2006, Ernie and I made the first breakthrough. And just recently, a conjecture we had raised and left open in the paper got settled in a preprint by three mathematicians. It is a 20-year story, which can be typical in math!

How did you find your way to mathematics research?

At some point in college, I realized that math has permanence. A theorem with a correct proof is a theorem forever.

Math appealed to me in high school, because it involved little memorization. Out of laziness, I went into engineering, a path that's common to my generation in India. In graduate school, I went into computer science, because it was becoming popular. Finally, the computational aspects of number theory inspired me to pursue math. Taking a course with Joel Spencer at New York University on a different topic and meeting Erdos sealed the deal!

What advice would you give to a college freshman who wants to be a mathematician?

Develop a thorough and broad background in mathematics, before settling for and specializing in what might be more readily appealing.

If you were not a mathematician, in what line of work would you be now?

Music or ornithology.  I discovered my passion for these too late.

What is the most exciting thing about being a part of Georgia Tech?

The colleagues who are excited about research and the hard-working students.  It’s a pleasure to work with both.

What are you most surprised about in your encounters with Georgia Tech students?

How well behaved they are. The most trouble some of them get into is not showing up to class. Unfortunately, the omnipresence of the Internet might be affecting the behavior of all of us.

What is an unusual skill, talent, or quality you have that is not obvious to your colleagues?   

I have been serving as the Interim Chair of the School of Mathematics since April 15, 2015.  I'll let my colleagues judge whether I am any good at it, but I certainly have gained new experience and have more appreciation for those who do a terrific job!

Also, I am an avid bird watcher, which might come as news to most of my colleagues.

What is the best way you want to relax?

Without a doubt, being at the beach, having grown up next to it. Sadly, I go only once a year.

What three destinations are still in your travel to-do list?

Costa Rica, for the birds. Africa and Australia, because they seem as close to experiencing “another planet” as I might ever get to!  

If you won $10 Million in a lottery, what would you do with it?

Use it as seed to generate more, through investment and fund-raising, for the following:

  • Acquire space for the School of Mathematics and provide scholarships for talented students to pursue their passion.      
  • Support services and initiatives related to mental health and physical disability.
  • Pay for our daughter's college and a beachfront property!

April 7, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

What is your research about?

I work in probability theory as it applies to physics. Here's an example: Imagine taking a city map, say the street grid of Atlanta, and placing random speed limits on the streets. Some streets may be set at 10 MPH, and others at, say, 20 MPH. Given these random assignments, what is the fastest route from one point in the city to another? How can we determine the fastest route? How different is this fastest route from the one obtained if all streets had the same speed limit?

Problems like travel times on street grids are related to social network connectivity, computer science problems, and even the behavior of magnets. Developing tools to attack theoretical problems often leads to advances in such applications. This ability is particularly relevant in the age of big data sets and the Internet.

 

 

What has been the most exciting time so far in your research life?

During my postdoc at Princeton University, a grad student and I developed a way to apply tools called Busemann functions to a different field. These functions have been used traditionally in a field called metric geometry, and our work, along with some from a professor at Washington, made them work in probability theory, which is very different. Our success led to several new results that unified many past works by others. Much of my current work focuses on exploring these functions and their applications.

How did you find your way to mathematics research?

As a child, I was encouraged to study and learn as much as possible. Even in preschool, I was working through second- and third-grade math workbooks. I learned very early that I enjoyed doing math problems.

When I started college at the University of Florida, I chose computer engineering because I heard it was a difficult major. It was indeed challenging, but also very interesting. During my second semester, I had a choice between theoretical or computational linear algebra. I heard that the theoretical course was harder, so I took it, hoping to learn more. Because I really enjoyed abstract reasoning, I decided to double major in computer engineering and math. But when the time came to choose what to study in grad school, it was clear to me that I liked math more.

In grad school, I was hugely influenced by my advisor. He taught me all about research, going to conferences, networking with people, and what problems are interesting. He also taught me research skills, such as how to reduce complex problems to simpler ones.

What advice would you give to a college freshman who wants to be a mathematician?

As early as possible, take a few pure math courses and a few applied math courses. It is good to know early whether you prefer applications and real computations over proofs and abstract reasoning. Take as many math courses as possible, and try to do some summer reading one-on-one with professors. Having a broad background will help you choose the right graduate school for your specific interests.

If you could not be a mathematician, in what line of work would you be now?

As I get older, I have become more motivated by the feeling I get when I appreciate the beauty of a mathematical argument or structure. I get this same feeling when listening to classical composers or reading profound books. In fact, nearly anything could bring me this feeling, as long as I take it seriously and pursue it with curiosity. Likely it is easiest to do this in an academic atmosphere, so I would try to be a professor of some other subject, maybe piano performance or literature.

What is the most exciting thing about being at Georgia Tech?

When I was in high school in Florida, many students who were interested in math or science tried to go to Georgia Tech, because it was the best school nearby. I was accepted, but ended up going to the University of Florida for financial reasons. So it is very exciting to be at Georgia Tech not as a student, but as a professor! The faculty are great researchers, often coming up with ground-breaking results. It is a great environment for my work.

What are you most surprised about in your encounters with Georgia Tech students?

I have been surprised by the diversity of student backgrounds and the variety of scientific perspectives here at Georgia Tech. I have not been at a technological institute before, and it is great to see so many people who are like me -- interested in engineering, math, and the sciences. Furthermore, students come from all possible backgrounds and ethnic groups. It is great that the student body seems to be less homogeneous than I expected.

What unusual skill, talent, or quality do you have that may not be obvious to your colleagues?

I have played classical piano since I was 9 years old. I'm out of practice now, but I was pretty serious in college. Most of the music I listen to now is classical, and lately I have been listening nonstop to the Mahler symphonies, which may be obvious to my colleagues, as they can hear it coming through my office door.

What is your ideal way of relaxing?

I love spending time with my wife and daughter, and I get to do this nearly every night. I used to come home and work all night, every night. But since having a child, I do not do that anymore. I am forced to slow down and play with my daughter and her toys. I also go to the gym every day and make sure I read a novel while doing cardio. This is not so much relaxing, but is it is not work related.

What three destinations are still in your travel to-do list?
I would like to go to Japan, Australia, and somewhere in Africa. I have heard many good things about Japan from a good friend who lives there. Australia is just so far away that I would like to be able to claim to have gone there. And Africa offers so few opportunities for conference-related travel, so this makes me even more interested.

If you won $10 million in a lottery, what would you do with it?

It is unlikely that I would ever play the lottery, as the expected gain is very low. It is a waste of money. However, if I were forced to play and I won, I would pay off my student debts. After that, I would buy a house, and then give a lot of money to my family. The rest I would save. There aren't too many items I really want to buy.

April 8, 2016 | Atlanta, GA

What is your research about?

I work in the field of arithmetic geometry. One type of fundamental problem is finding whole-number solutions to equations such as x⁵ + y⁵ = z⁵, or showing that no such solutions exist. This kind of problem goes back almost 2,000 years to the Greek mathematician Diophantus; hence they are called Diophantine equations.

The idea behind arithmetic geometry is to first consider the space of solutions to the equation in complex numbers x,y,z. This space is geometric in nature; for instance, if you squint hard enough, the space of solutions to x⁵ + y⁵ = z⁵ starts to look like a donut with six holes.

 

One then makes geometric arguments about this space and uses some very deep theorems to derive the properties of the set of whole-number solutions.

Math is worth doing for its own intrinsic beauty and for the subtle understanding about the world that it gives us. Although pure math is not concerned with practical applications, historically it has proved over and over again to be useful in the most surprising and important ways. A recent example is the use of elliptic curves defined over finite fields (an important player in arithmetic geometry) in some of the most advanced encryption algorithms in use today.

What has been the most exciting time so far in your research life?

I spend about 95% of my research time writing and revising papers, doing straightforward verifications, or just plain being stuck. The other 5% is where the "aha!" moments happen that make it all worth it.

So far the most memorable time was when I solved my Ph.D. thesis problem. For weeks, I had been thinking hard about the same thing. Then one day, just as I was spreading mayonnaise on my sandwich for lunch, I realized what to do to make the final step work. From there, the solution was like a cascade of dominoes, with everything falling exactly into place. That was not only extremely satisfying. It also launched my career: I was one of the first people to use so-called tropical geometry to solve a problem in arithmetic geometry, which strategy has become something of a cottage industry now.

How did you find your way to mathematics research?

My father has a Ph.D. in physics, so I grew up assuming I'd get a Ph.D. as well. I was always interested in thinking about math. For instance, in high school, when I realized I didn't know why the Pythagorean theorem was true, I spent one evening working out a nice geometric proof. Of course this proof had been known since Greek times, but it was satisfying to work something out on my own.

I didn’t get serious about studying math until freshman year of college, when I discovered that I enjoyed my math course more than my physics course.

What advice would you give to a college freshman who wants to be a mathematician?

Being a mathematician is both an extremely solitary and a very social activity. Learning, understanding, or communicating mathematics takes a large amount of care and rigor. It is best done alone, with no distractions and with long periods of concentration. But you should also interact with a community of peers, to chat about the most compelling things you’ve learned or thought about recently and to work together when you get stuck, which happens daily.

Take intellectual risks. Sign up for a graduate course even if you’re not sure you'll get an A in it. Go to seminars and expose yourself to concepts you might not understand. Try undergraduate research programs. Never be afraid to tell someone that you’re confused, and ask them to explain something more slowly.

If you could not be a mathematician, in what line of work would you be now?

I'd probably be a computer programmer. I've always been good with computers. I learned Basic programming when I was around 12.

What is the most exciting thing about being a part of Georgia Tech?

The students. I really enjoy teaching upper-level undergraduate math classes. Some students are extremely hard-working and talented. I derive a lot of pleasure from interactions in class and office hours.

What are you most surprised about in your encounters with Georgia Tech students?

Individual students often surprise me greatly. I've had very good students who participate in activities such as professional cage fighting, EMT work in ambulances, cheerleading for a major professional sports team, and serious bodybuilding. I never know what to expect when a new student walks into my office.

What is an unusual skill, talent, or quality you have now that is not obvious to your colleagues?

I used to be a very good lindy hop dancer. You can find videos on YouTube. Start by searching for the Rock Step Lobstahs.

What is your ideal way of relaxation?

The real answer is a movie and a beer, but I’m going to go with jogging. I run about 4.5 miles almost every day, a great way to clear my head. My wife and I just had a baby, though, so all of my routines are up in the air at the moment.

What three destinations are still in your travel to-do list?

I have to do a lot of traveling for work, 5-10 conferences all over the world each year. But I would always prefer it if the conference were at Georgia Tech and I could stay at home. So instead of listing places I wish I could visit, I'll mention the three most interesting places where I've attended a conference since I came to Georgia Tech: Fukuoka, Japan; Papeete, French Polynesia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

If you won $10 million in a lottery, what would you with it?

I'd put it in low-risk investments and live off the interest. I never particularly wanted to be rich. I'd much rather have stability than wealth, thus my choice to become a tenured professor. That said, with $10 million, I’d have enough income to build an obscenely powerful personal computer, just for kicks.

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