February 16, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Professor of Mathematics Galyna Livshyts has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant.
 
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 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. 

February 16, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Vinayak Agarwal and Lutz Warnke are among 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers selected to receive the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships. Awarded yearly by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the fellowships honor early-career faculty whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.

Also named 2018 Research Fellow is Bilal Haider, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

Vinayak Agarwal is an assistant professor in School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research seeks to understand how natural products are produced, what biological forces drive their synthesis in nature, and how the knowledge can advance the well-being of humans. In particular, he is interested in the genesis of polybrominated compounds in ocean systems.

Agarwal seeks to understand how biosynthetic pathways manipulate halogens, especially bromine, to create polyhalogenated compounds, some of which are of great interest as anticancer agents. He has been at the forefront of efforts to decipher the routes for the natural production of polyhalogenated aromatic compounds by marine bacteria.  

Just like synthetic chlorofluorocarbons, which are now banned because they destroy Earth’s protective ozone layer in the stratosphere, polybrominated compounds can generate halogen species that can deplete stratospheric ozone. Agarwal aims to establish the biogenic basis for oceanic bromine radical production from polybrominated compounds.

To gain a deep understanding of biosynthetic pathways, he combines chemical and biochemical approaches, including molecular biology, phylogenetic and bioinformatics analysis, microbial genetics and metagenomics, structural and biochemical enzymology, protein biochemistry, synthetic chemistry, and analytical chemistry.

“The brightest minds tackling the hardest problems, and succeeding brilliantly – Fellows are quite literally the future of 21st-century science.”

Lutz Warnke is an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics. His research area lies at the interface of discrete mathematics and probability theory. In particular, he has extensively studied various random graphs (or networks), focusing on phase transition phenomena and other fascinating properties. 

In 2016, Warnke received the biennial Dénes König Prize from the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics for his contribution to the study of random graph processes. Because of Warnke’s work, theorems are now available to help mathematicians understand the behavior of a large class of discrete random graph processes close to phase transition.  

Earlier, Warnke received the biennial 2014 Richard-Rado-Prize, for his outstanding dissertation in discrete mathematics, titled “Random Graph Processes with Dependencies.”

In announcing the prize, Jiri Matousek of Charles University Prague, said: “[Warnke’s] work has all the attributes one may expect from excellent mathematics: very interesting topics appealing to [a] broad audience, in this case to a community including many theoretical physicists; improved methods and new ideas that both solve old problems and new horizons; considerable depth, breadth, and technical difficulty; and last but not least, careful and accessible presentation.   

“The Sloan Research Fellows represent the very best science has to offer,” said Sloan Foundation President Adam Falk. “The brightest minds tackling the hardest problems, and succeeding brilliantly – Fellows are quite literally the future of 21st-century science.”

This story was originally posted on Feb 15th, 2018 by the College of Science.

February 22, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Algebraic geometers in Georgia and neighboring southern states gather at the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics on Feb. 23-25, 2018, to strengthen their growing community. The goal is to support early-career mathematicians, especially those from groups that are underrepresented in mathematics. The gathering – the 2018 Georgia Algebraic Geometry Symposium (GAGS) – will provide attendees opportunities to network and be exposed to cutting-edge developments in the field.

Classical algebraic geometry studies questions about solutions sets of polynomial equations, according to Josephine Yu, an associate professor in the School of  Mathematics. Among the questions practitioners in the field ask are: What is the dimension of the solution space? What is its shape? Can we break up the solution space into simpler components? Modern algebraic geometry includes much more abstract objects, Yu says.. 

Algebraic geometry has connections to complex analysis, string theory, topology, number theory, and game theory. It has applications in statistics, robotics, phylogenetics, and geometric modeling.

The School of Mathematics is home to several experts in algebraic geometry: faculty members Matt Baker, Greg Blekherman, Anton Leykin, Joseph Rabinoff, Kirsten Wickelgren, and Yu; postdoctoral fellows Padmavathi Srinivasan and Philipp Jell; and senior academic professional Salvador Barone.

Baker is organizing 2018 GAGS, with assistance from Rabinoff and Yu. 

The 2018 symposium in Georgia Tech is the culmination of a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (DMS-1529573) to Georgia Tech, University of Georgia (UGA), and Emory University to organize and host GAGS in rotation over three years. The symposium was held at Emory University in 2016 and at UGA in 2017.

The 2018 GAGS features the following invited speakers, including one from Germany:

  • Linda Chen (Swarthmore College)
  • June Huh (Institute for Advanced Study)
  • David Jensen (University of Kentucky)
  • Jesse Kass (University of South Carolina)
  • Lek-Heng Lim (University of Chicago)
  • Kristin Shaw (Technischen Universität Berlin)
  • Andrew Snowden (University of Michigan)
  • Padmavathi Srinivasan (Georgia Institute of Technology)

March 2, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Professor Wilfrid Gangbo has been awarded the 2018-19 Chancellor’s Professorship in Mathematics at UC Berkeley.

This prestigious appointment, awarded by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), is based on excellence in mathematical research as well as expository talents. The award includes a visiting professorship in UC Berkeley’s Mathematics department, during which Professor Gangbo will give an advanced graduate course.  The School of Mathematics at GT is pleased to have spearheaded the nomination.

Click here for more information about the Chancellor’s Professorship.

March 7, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Balazs Strenner, who is currently a Hale Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech, has won the Mary Ellen Rudin Award.
 
The Mary Ellen Rudin Award is an annual award recognizing talented young researchers in topology.  This award is sponsored by Elsevier and the annual Spring Topology and Dynamics Conference, and it is linked to the journal Topology and its Applications.  As an emeritus member of the organizing committee of the annual Spring Topology Meeting and an editorial board member of the Topology and its Applications, Rudin agreed to lend her name in support of this award.  The recipient is chosen by a selection committee and must be at most one year before completing their Ph.D. or three years after.  Previous recipients are Kathryn Mann, Yinhe Peng, Yash Lodha, and Logan Hoehn.


Strenner will receive his award during a ceremony at the 52nd Spring Topology and Dynamical Systems Conference at Auburn University on March 15.

 

March 7, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Joe Rabinoff, an Assistant Professor in SoM who has interests in arithmetic and algebraic geometry, has won a CTL/BP Jr. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.
 
This award, offered through the joint support of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and BP America, provides Georgia Tech with the opportunity to highlight the excellent teaching and educational innovation that junior faculty bring to campus. The selection committees have typically considered a range of activities for these awards, including: Educational innovations; Impact on students' lives, both in and beyond the classroom; Passion for teaching and learning; Connections between research and teaching; Educational outreach beyond the classroom and laboratory; Teaching excellence in core classes, required classes, and large classes; Accessibility to all students, even those who were not performing well in the class; Good Georgia Tech citizenship.
 
See also the CoS story here:
http://www.cos.gatech.edu/hg/item/604493
 

March 7, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

SoM faculty Amalia Culiuc, Klara Grodzinsky, and Chris Heil, have all won the 2017 Class of 1940 Course Survey of Teaching Effectiveness Award. 
 
These awards were created to further recognize excellence in teaching at Georgia Tech, rewarding faculty members with exceptional response rates and scores on the Course‐Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS). A maximum of 40 awards are given out each year. The proportion of “small” classes and “large” classes that qualify are based on the proportion of those classes in the GT catalog for the past three years.

March 9, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Congratulations go to 8 of our colleagues, who will be promoted this year as follows:

Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:
Zaher Hani
Jennifer Hom
Joseph Rabinoff
Martin Short
Kirsten Wickelgren
 
Promotion to Full Professor:
Plamen Iliev
Anton Leykin
Zhiwu Lin

Biosketches:

Promotion to Associate Professor

Dr. Jennifer Hom
Dr.  Hom has been on the faculty of GT for two years.  She has published 17 papers and has earned a Sloan Fellowship in 2015 and an NSF CAREER Award in 2016. Her research is in low-dimensional topology, and in particular​ she​ is a leading expert in the powerful machinery of Heegaard-Floer homology. Low-dimensional topology studies manifolds, which are spaces that locally resemble Euclidean space but ​globally may have more interesting structure, much like the space we live in. Manifolds arise throughout science and engineering in such diverse ways as confi​guration spaces of mechanical linkages, solution spaces to partial differential equations, and even models for the universe. Dr. Hom received her degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. Prior to arriving at Georgia Tech, she was a Ritt Assistant Professor at Columbia and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study. She has mentored 20 undergraduates (17 at Columbia, 3 at Tech).
 
Dr. Zaher Hani
Dr. Hani has been at Georgia Tech for four years. He has published 16 papers (nine while at Georgia Tech) and one preprint. He has had two standard NSF research grants, one in 2013 while a postdoc and one in 2016 while at Georgia Tech. Additionally, he was awarded an NSF CAREER grant in 2017 and a Sloan Fellowship in 2016. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angles in 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Terence Tao. He has received several awards, most notably: The Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship in 2016, and The Simons Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2011. Dr. Hani’s research is in the area of nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs), particularly nonlinear dispersive and wave PDEs. These are equations that typically arise in physics and engineering to model various phenomena in ocean sciences, plasma physics, or general relativity, to mention only a few. His research attempts to answer open problems pertaining to the qualitative and quantitative behavior of such equations.
 
Dr. Joseph Rabinoff
Dr. Rabinoff joined Georgia Tech in 2013, after receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2009, and completing a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University in 2009–2013. He has had research proposals funded by the NSF and the NSA. Dr. Rabinoff’s research is in the areas of algebraic and arithmetic geometry, with a focus on the interplay between number theory and algebraic geometry. Number theory, one of the oldest and most storied branches of mathematics, involves the study of integer or rational solutions to polynomial equations, and the complex solutions to such equations form geometric objects. He has published 14 papers and posted two more. . He won a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the Derek Bok Center at Harvard University in 2012. He has supervised an undergraduate thesis project and an undergraduate research project. Recently, Dr. Rabinoff was also awarded CTL/BP Jr. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.
 
Dr. Martin Short
Dr. Short has been Assistant Professor of Mathematics at GT for 4 years. He received his degree in 2006 from the University of Arizona, and was then a postdoc at UCLA until joining GT in 2013. He has received NSF and ARO grant funding both at GT and UCLA.  His research is in applied mathematics, specifically of social systems with emphasis on crime, where he has developed new models and algorithms for predicting crime patterns and defending against crime. This work has led to a company, PredPol Inc, that provides software to police departments to predict crime hotspots. He has published 14 peer-reviewed research papers while at GT, and 35 in total, with 3 additional papers under review. He was one of the inaugural recipients of the Lexis Nexis Dean's award at GT for excellence in teaching in 2014. He is advising one PhD student at GT and has mentored four undergraduates at GT and 26 undergraduates at UCLA.
 
Dr. Kirsten Wickelgren
Dr. Wickelgren has been at Georgia Tech for four years. At Georgia Tech, she has written 12 research articles, and has had two proposals funded, one three year NSF grant, and one five year NSF-CAREER grant. Her research is in algebraic topology, algebraic geometry and number theory. The gist of algebraic topology is that one can use algebra to answer questions about topological spaces. In addition to being a profound and beautiful subject on its own, algebraic topology has applications as diverse as analyzing large data sets, the coverage of sensor networks, and Equilibria in game theory/economic models. She did her undergraduate work at Harvard University (A.B.-A.M. 2003), and her Ph.D. is from Stanford University (2009). After completing her Ph.D., she was awarded an American Institute of Math (AIM) 5-year fellowship, and was subsequently an AIM 5-year fellow at Harvard University from 2009–13 before coming to Georgia Tech in 2013.
 

Promotion to Full Professor

Dr. Plamen Iliev
Dr. Iliev is an Associate Professor in the School of Mathematics. He has MS from Sofia University, DEA from the University of Paris VI, and Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Louvain. Subsequently, he was a Morrey Assistant Professor in UC Berkeley before moving to Georgia Tech in 2003. His research stands at the crossroads of several different areas of mathematics and physics related to integrable systems and orthogonal polynomials. His recent results include: the derivation of spectral equations for hypergeometric functions, which play an important role in combinatorics, probability, and mathematical physics; criteria for Fejer-Riesz factorizations of bivariate polynomials, which are related to the famous 17th problem of Hilbert. He has published 36 papers and has been supported by NSF and the Simons Foundation. He has received 14 "Thank a teacher" certificates at Georgia Tech, and was a Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellow in 2010.
 
Dr. Anton Leykin
Dr. Leykin has been at Georgia Tech for eight years. In his research he studies computational aspects of algebraic geometry in application to solving of system of polynomial equations. His recent results include new theorems, algorithms, and software for numerical algebraic geometry and asymptotic algebra. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award and a 2017 College of Sciences Cullen-Peck Scholar Award. He has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences. He has organized many workshops, conferences, and summer schools. Dr. Leykin has developed several special courses and has been experimenting with new technology in the classroom. He obtained a Diploma in mathematics from Kharkov State Uni-
versity in 1997 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 2003.
 
Dr. Zhiwu Lin
Before moving to Georgia Tech in 2008, Dr. Lin was a Courant Instructor at New York University (2003-2006) and an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (2006-2008).  From 2005 to the present, his research has been supported by four NSF grants (as PI) including one recommended this year. He was awarded a Simons Fellowship for 2013-2014. Dr. Lin’s research is focused on the dynamical behaviors of PDE models in fluid mechanics, plasmas, and nonlinear waves. He had developed new methods to study stability and instability of coherent states, invariant manifolds near unstable states, and the role of these invariant structures in the longtime dynamics. These have important applications on the design of fusion devices, the transition to turbulence, and the understanding of large scale motion in atmosphere and oceans etc. Lin got his Bachelor degree from Peking University (1995), Masters degree from Tokyo University (1999) and Ph.D. from Brown University (2003). 

 

These promotions are a result of the careful consideration of the Jr and Sr promotion committees, ACF, DOTE, RPT mentors, Faculty Affairs Administrative Specialist, and others who made invaluable contributions to our RPT processes.

March 10, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

The School of Mathematics hosted the 2018 Georgia Tech High School Math Competition in the Clough building on March 10, 2018. Over 250 students from 37 schools registered for the day-long event. The competition's four exams covered numerous topics in such subjects as algebra, geometry, combinatorics, and number theory.  Around 35 volunteers from among the Georgia Tech faculty, staff, and students took charge of the day's organization, ranging from registration to proctoring and grading.  Volunteers provided the participants with breakfast and lunch, as well as a t-shirt designed by Georgia Tech Math PhD student Stephen McKean.
 
Each school could send up to five teams of five students each to the event.  A team's score was obtained by taking three times the four best free response scores, then adding the four best ciphering scores.  The free response exam consisted of 20 multiple choice questions given over 90 minutes, while the ciphering exam had 10 individually-timed questions of three minutes each.
 
The top 54 students from the free response exam were invited to take part in a proofs exam during the afternoon in order to determine the individual winners, while the remaining students took a group test for fun.
 
One of the easier questions:  Consider 3 raised to the 100th power.  What is the last digit in its base-7 expansion?
 
A harder question:  Find all functions f from the natural numbers to themselves, for which the equality f(f(m+n))=f(m)+f(n) holds for all natural numbers m and n.
 
 
The winning teams were:
 
1.     Northview High School Team A, with 239 points.
2.     Fulton Science Academy Team A, with 223 points.
3.     GSMST Team A, with 219 points.
4.     Daniel High School Team A, with 201 points.
5.     Kennesaw Mountain High School Team A and Walton High School Team A (tie), with 200 points.
 
 
This year's individual winners were, in order:
 
1.     Shawn Im, from Peachtree Ridge High School, with 36 proof points.
2.     Holden Watson, from Fulton Science Academy, with 21 proof points.
3.     Daniel Chu, from Kennesaw Mountain High School, with 16 proof points.
 
Competitors and volunteers alike had a great time, and we hope to see all schools and returning graduate students again next year for the 2019 event!

March 11, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Mathematics in Motion is an Atlanta Science Festival performance in which mathematicians team up with dancers to give an artistic interpretation to the public of some mathematicians and some mathematical concepts.  This year's show will have an emphasis on graph theory.  There will be two performances at Drew Charter School in East Atlanta.  For tickets go to https://www.freshtix.com/events/mathematics-in-motion---4pm-showing or https://www.freshtix.com/events/mathematics-in-motion---7pm-showing .

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