September 10, 2012 | Atlanta, GA

The 2012 speaker is Dr. Emmanuel Candès from Stanford University. He holds the Simons Chair in Mathematics and Statistics. His research areas include: compressive sensing, mathematical signal processing, computational harmonic analysis, multiscale analysis, scientific computing, stastistical estimation and detection, high-dimensional statistics. Applications to the imaging sciences and inverse problems. Other topics of recent interest include theoretical computer science, mathematical optimization, and information theory.

There will be two lectures. One (for a general audience) will be on September 10, at 4:25 pm, in Clough Commons, Room 144. Another one will be at 11:05 am on September 11 in Skiles 006.



Lecture 1: General Audience

Robust principal component analysis? Some theory and some applications

This talk is about a curious phenomenon. Suppose we have a data matrix, which is the superposition of a low-rank component and a sparse component. Can we recover each component individually? We prove that under some suitable assumptions, it is possible to recover both the low-rank and the sparse components exactly by solving a very convenient convex program. This suggests the possibility of a principled approach to robust principal component analysis since our methodology and results assert that one can recover the principal components of a data matrix even though a positive fraction of its entries are arbitrarily corrupted. This extends to the situation where a fraction of the entries are missing as well. In the second part of the talk, we present applications in computer vision. In video surveillance, for example, our methodology allows for the detection of objects in a cluttered background. We show how the methodology can be adapted to simultaneously align a batch of images and correct serious defects/corruptions in each image, opening new perspectives.

Lecture 2: Mathematics Lecture

PhaseLift: Exact Phase Retrieval via Convex Programming

This talks introduces a novel framework for phase retrieval, a problem which arises in X-ray crystallography, diffraction imaging, astronomical imaging and many other applications. Our approach combines multiple structured illuminations together with ideas from convex programming to recover the phase from intensity measurements, typically from the modulus of the diffracted wave. We demonstrate empirically that any complex-valued object can be recovered from the knowledge of the magnitude of just a few diffracted patterns by solving a simple convex optimization problem inspired by the recent literature on matrix completion. More importantly, we also demonstrate that our noise-aware algorithms are stable in the sense that the reconstruction degrades gracefully as the signal-to-noise ratio decreases. Finally, we present some novel theory showing that our entire approach may be provably surprisingly effective.

October 23, 2012 | Atlanta, GA

Professor Howie Weiss is the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence from Science this year. He was featured at the October 20, 2012 Georgia Tech vs. Boston College football game. The Athletic Association continues the "Professor of the Excellence" program at each home football game this season. The corporate sponsorship this year is Georgia Power.

At each game, one professor will be highlighted, a picture on the scoreboard, information about their research is read to the crowd, etc. A professor from each college will be selected for each of the next six home games.

Weiss' research interests include mathematical biology, analysis, dynamical systems as well as geometry and topology. He is currently working on a $1.3M study with Emory University and Delta Airlines to analyze the transmission of infectious diseases on aircraft. The study is being funded by Boeing.

The benefits to the faculty member are:

  • Their research is featured at the game and through the website
  • They receive tickets to attend the game where they are recognized
  • The faculty member is honored on the field during the game between quarters
  • Georgia Power will make a donation of $1,000 in their name to their college
  • Each Professor of Excellence receives a football autographed by Coach Johnson

November 1, 2012 | Atlanta, GA

Twelve faculty from Georgia Tech's School of Mathematics were named today as Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The listing represents the society's inaugural class and includes 1,119 fellows from more than 600 institutions.

The faculty from Tech include math professors: Matt Baker, Jean Bellissard, John Etnyre, Wilfrid Gangbo, Michael Lacey, Michael Loss, Doron Lubinsky, Prasad Tetali, Robin Thomas and associate professor Brett Wick. Adjunct math professors who were recognized also include Bill Cook, from the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Dana Randall, from the School of Computer Science.

“I am delighted that such a large number of Georgia Tech faculty members have been named as Fellows of the AMS,” said Doug Ulmer, chair of the School of Mathematics. “It is an indication of the quality of work being done here and its impact in the wider world.”

The Fellows of the AMS designation recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. Among the goals of the program are to create an enlarged class of mathematicians recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the profession and to honor excellence.

“The AMS is the world's largest and most influential society dedicated to mathematical research, scholarship and education,” said AMS President Eric M. Friedlander. “Recent advances in mathematics include solutions to age-old problems and key applications useful for society. The new AMS Fellows Program recognizes some of the most accomplished mathematicians - AMS members who have contributed to our understanding of deep and important mathematical questions, to applications throughout the scientific world and to educational excellence.”

To see the names of individuals who are in this year's class, their institutions, and a description of the fellows program, visit

December 17, 2012 | Atlanta, GA

For the second time in as many years, Ms. Klara Grodzinsky has received the Class of 1934 Course Survey Teaching Award from Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) in recognition of high Course/Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS) ratings and high response rates. The award includes a monetary bonus and recognition at Celebrating Teaching Day in March. This most recent award was for spring and fall semesters 2012. The previous award was for spring and fall 2011. Out of the 52 recipients this year, 12 also received the award last year.

January 26, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

Interested in learning the mathematics that govern games? Professor Tom Morley will be teaching a course online via Coursera,  Games without Chance: Combinatorial Game Theory. This 7-week course covers the mathematical theory and analysis of simple games without chance moves.

So, if you're a fan of games, mathematics or both, check it out.

January 30, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

 Mrs. Lorraine Ruff, 90, passed away on January 10, 2013. Ruff worked as a part-time secretary at the School of Mathematic's Center for Dynamical Systems and Nonlinear Studies from March 1992 until August 2003. She came to Tech after retiring from Emory University.

The mother-in-law of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Ruff was living at the Sunrise assisted living home at the time of her passing.

A memorial service will be held on February 2nd from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at Victory World Church in Norcross, GA.

February 20, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

Professor Leonid Bunimovich will be a guest of honor at the upcoming 109th Statistical Mechanics Conference taking place at Rutgers University, May 12-14, 2013. Mitchell Feigenbaum and Leo Kadanoff will also be honored. He joins a very distinguished list of previous honorees, including

  • Michael Fisher, Jerome Percus and Ben Widom (December 2011)
  • Eddie Cohen, Elliott Lieb and Oliver Penrose (May 2012)
  • John Reppy, Jan Sengers and Harry Sweeney (December 2012)

Conference Musical Program in honor of guests.

March 15, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

The School of Mathematics will host the inaugural International Conference on Dynamics of Differential Equations during the Georgia Tech 2013 spring break, March 16-20.

The conference will be preceded by four 2-hour tutorial sessions on Friday, March 15. Everyone is invited to attend the tutorials, especially graduate students and young researchers.

The format of the conference consists of plenary lectures, invited lectures, contributed lectures and a poster session. There will also be two Hale memorial lectures delivered by Professor Geneviève Raugel.

This conference will be the first in what we expect to become a biennial series emphasizing research programs in dynamical systems worldwide and training of doctoral students and young researchers. These two aspects were the hallmark of the work of Professor Jack Hale, and it is in acknowledgment of his influential role in the development of dynamical systems and its applications that we are proud to dedicate this first conference to his memory.

For complete conference details, please visit the conference website.

March 29, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

Two Mathematics undergraduate majors, Martin Copenhaver and Eleanor Middlemas, received National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowships, and another undergraduate, Ross Granowski, received honorable mention for the same award. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

Martin was supervised by Professor Christine Heitsch and he has not decided his graduate school. Eleanor is supervised by School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences' Professor Kim Cobb. Next year, Eleanor will be working with Amy Clement at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami studying climate mechanisms and dynamics. Ross was supervised by Professor Wilfrid Gangbo and has not yet decided his graduate school.

April 4, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

Two of the three campus-wide Teaching Assistants awards were received by School of Mathematics TAs this year.

  • The 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant is Andrew Travis Rogers.
  • The 2013 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant is Ranjini Vaidyanathan.
  • Albert Bush was a finalist in the category of Graduate Student Instructor.


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