January 7, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Professor Dan Margalit and Instructor Klara Grodzinsky have both won the Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award from the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL). Selection for the award was based on high Course/Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS) scores with high response rates in courses taught during the academic year 2012-13. The award includes a monetary bonus. This is the third year in a row that Klara has received the award.

January 15, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Alexander Schrijver from the University of Amsterdam and CWI Amsterdam will present the ACO Distinghished Lecture on January 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm with location to be announced.

Alexander Schrijver is a professor of mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and researcher at the Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) in Amsterdam. His research focuses on discrete mathematics and optimization, in particular on applying methods from fundamental mathematics. He is the author of four books, including 'Theory of Linear and Integer Programming' and 'Combinatorial Optimization - Polyhedra and Efficiency'.

He received Fulkerson Prizes in 1982 and 2003, Lanchester Prizes in 1987 and 2004, a Dantzig Prize in 2003, a Spinoza Prize in 2005, a Von Neumann Theory Prize in 2006, and an Edelman Award in 2008. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995 and of three foreign academies, received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Waterloo and Budapest, and was knighted by the Dutch Queen in 2005.


Graphs, Knots, and Algebras

Many graph invariants can be described as 'partition functions' (in the sense of de la Harpe and Jones). In the talk we give an introduction to this and we present characterizations of such partition functions among all graph invariants. We show how similar methods describe knot invariants and give rise to varieties parametrizing all partition functions. We relate this to the Vassiliev knot invariants, and show that its Lie algebra weight systems are precisely those weight systems that are 'reflection positive.'

The talk will be introductory and does not assume any specific knowledge on graphs, knots, or algebras.

There will be a reception in the Atrium of the building to be announced.

January 23, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

On Friday, January 31, 2014, Professor Mairi Sakellariadou from King's College London will make a presentation titled Particle Physics and Cosmology from Almost Commutative Manifolds.

The unification of the four fundamental forces remains one of the most important issues in theoretical particle physics.

In this talk, she will give a short introduction to Non-Commutative Spectral Geometry, a bottom-up approach that unifies the (successful) Standard Model of high energy physics with Einstein's General theory of Relativity. The model is built upon almost-commutative spaces and she will discuss the physical implications of the choice of such manifolds. She will show that even though the unification has been obtained only at the classical level, the doubling of the algebra may incorporate the seeds of quantization. She will then briefly review the particle physics phenomenology and highlight open issues and current proposals.

In the last part of her talk, she will explore consequences of the Gravitational-Higgs part of the spectral action formulated within such almost-commutative manifolds. In particular, she will study modifications of the Friedmann equation, propagation of gravitational waves and the onset of inflation. She will show how current measurements (Gravity Probe, pulsars, and torsion balance) can constrain free parameters of the model. She will conclude with a short discussion on open questions.

The event will be held at 4:00pm in Skiles, room 006

March 11, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

In the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings, the graduate programs of the School of Mathematics continue to climb, reaching a ranking of #28 this year, up from #36 in 2009.

Mostly due to the excellent leadership of Robin Thomas in the Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization (ACO) program, Discrete Math had an extremely strong showing, moving from #8 last year to #4 this year.

March 12, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Several NSF $300K EAGER projects (Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research) involving School of Mathematics faculty have been awarded. These were spinoffs from the recent "Expeditions in Computing" effort led by Prasad Tetali.

NSF Proposal: 1415460

Title: Eager: Discrete Optimization Algorithms for 21st Century Algorithms

PI: George Nemhauser (co-PIs: Nina Balcan, Avrim Blum, Santanu Dey, Santosh Vempala)

NSF Proposal: 1415496
Title: EAGER: Physical Flow and other Industrial Challenges

PI: Prasad Tetali (co-PIs: Henrik Christensen, Sebastian Pokutta, George Nemhauser)

NSF Proposal: 1415498
Title: EAGER: Convex Optimization Algorithms for 21st Century Challenges

PI: Santosh Vempala (co-PIs: Vladimir Koltchinskii, Arkadi Nemirovski, Justin Romberg, Prasad Tetali)

March 25, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Thomas F. Kieffer, a senior majoring in applied mathematics and physics, recently received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarschip. Kieffer's work focuses on computational astrophysics. “I make use of high performance computing to capture interplay of universal processes such as gravity, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and radiation,” he said. “A better understanding of these process in an astrophysical context can, in turn, yield results that strengthen the understanding of these processes in other branches of physics.” Kieffer, whose other interests include fitness and playing guitar, said he has been curious about the “cosmological scale of the universe” since he was a child in Navarre, Fla. His first priority upon arriving at Georgia Tech was to find a research position in astrophysics, and by the end of his first semester, he was working with Tamara Bogdanovic, a theoretical astrophysicist and assistant professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Tech.

Kieffer said he is excited about the award, which covers tuition, fees, books, and room and board for $7,500 a year. “It will improve my application quality for graduate schools and the financial support is very helpful, of course,” he said.

His goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and become a professor. He wants to continue doing research to aid in the growth and development of fundamental science, and he also wants to effectively communicate his discoveries to fellow scientists and the general public.

“I just feel a sort of happiness when learning about how nature works,” Kieffer said.

Named for U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to students in science, mathematics and engineering who intend to pursue research careers in their fields, with the intent of providing a continuing source of highly qualified scholars in these areas.

March 25, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Ryan Welisch Keane was recently nominated by the School of Mathematics for the College of Sciences Bossart Award. He was selected by a panel of faculty to receive this award in recognition of his accomplishments at Tech. Ryan is an outstanding undergraduate student majoring in Discrete Mathematics and in Computer Science. He is a senior by total hours earned, but will not graduate from Georgia Tech until Spring 2015. At that time he will receive a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science and BS in Discrete Mathematics. His undergraduate research included 3 semesters working with Dr. Dana Randall in Computer Science focsing primarily on Markov Chain analysis and study. This Spring 2014 Ryan is participating in the Budapest Semester in Mathematics (BSM). BSM is considered by many as one of the top undergraduate study abroad programs in mathematics. Ryan is working with Dr. Alex Kuronya of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics studying Algebraic Geometry.

This award is presented to a top out-of-state student studying in the college. It consists of a $900 financial aid award that is available while the receipients are registered at Georgia Tech in the 2014-5 academic year. The award will be administered by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

In recognition of this award, Ryan is invited to lunch with the members of the College of Sciences Advisory Board (CoSAB) as well as invited to attend the GT Student Honors Luncheon.

March 30, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

The Southeast Geometry Seminar is a series of semiannual one-day events focusing on geometric analysis. These events are hosted in rotation by the following institutions:

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • The Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Emory University
  • The University of Tennessee Knoxville

This event will be held on March 30, 2014 at Georgia Tech, Skiles Building, Room 005. The following six speakers will give presentations

  • Robert Finn (Stanford University)
  • Bo Guan (Ohio State University)
  • John Harvey (University of Notre Dame)
  • Fernando Schwartz (University of Tennessee)
  • Henry Wente (Toledo, Ohio)
  • Xiangwen Zhang (Columbia University)

The Southeast Geometry Seminar (SGS) is a semiannual series of one day events sponsored jointly by:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Emory University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville

There are NSF funds available to support travel expenses of participants. Priority will be given to current or recent Ph.D. students and postdocs. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Please write to us if you plan to attend and wish to request support.

For full details, check the program and schedule.



  • John McCuan and Mohammad Ghomi (Georgia Tech)
  • Vladimir Oliker (Emory)
  • Fernando Schwartz (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Gilbert Weinstein and Junfang Li (University of Alabama, Birmingham)

April 12, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Greg Blekherman has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant for his proposal Nonnegative Polynomials, Sums of Squares and Real Symmetric Tensor Decompositions. According to the NSF web site, "The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research."

April 12, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

School of Mathematics graduate student Joseph D. Walsh, a second year student in our PhD program, has been awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. According to the NSF: "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 US institutions." The fellowship offers three years of support. NSF received 14,000 applications for the 2014 competition.


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