Letters from the Editor

Des Higham (University of Strathclyde) writes:

This short blog is essentially an annotated list of generic phrases that academic journal editors might wish to re-hash for use in their decision letters.  I hope this resource will benefit three overlapping groups: those of us who serve as editors, those of us who act as referees and those of us who submit articles. It is built on my experiences as an editor, section editor, reviewer and author. These experiences have generally been positive, but over the years I have become aware that a lack of clarity in the communication process can be a key source of inefficiency and frustration. In writing this blog entry, I realise that (a) some issues that I touch on are already covered to some degree by “template” letters supplied by journals, and (b) every set of referee reports is different. However, I believe that a few general topics are worth mulling over.  (more…)

Optimizing healthcare

Optimizing healthcare

At the SIAM Conference on Optimization last month, Dr. Retsef Levi, J. Spencer Standish Professor of Management and professor of operations management at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, gave an invited lecture on “Optimizing and Coordinating Healthcare Networks and Markets.”

Recently, he sat down with SIAM for a Google Hangout interview to talk in detail about the use of optimization models in healthcare management.

Speaking about the importance of design and performance analysis of models arising in the context of health networks, Dr. Levi addressed the challenges faced by researchers in incorporating the complex dynamics of healthcare networks into optimization models.

Levi outlined important decisions that healthcare organizations have to make in order to best use their resources to deliver high quality outcomes to patients, as well as in making priorities under circumstances where resources can be scarce. (more…)

SIAM-UKIE New Media to Help Increase Impact of Members’ Activities in the Wider Community

SIAM-UKIE New Media to Help Increase Impact of Members' Activities in the Wider Community

Endre Süli (University of Oxford), Françoise Tisseur (University of Manchester), and Angela Mihai (Cardiff University) write:

From April 2014, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Section of SIAM (SIAM-UKIE: http://www.siam.org/sections/siamukie/) maintains a bimonthly newsletter which is designed to promote contact and to further facilitate the dissemination of information between the Section’s members from different areas. With an increasing number of SIAM Student Chapters in the UK, and a demand for more frequent updates on their activities, the SIAM-UKIE newsletter was a timely development in the provision of local support for the SIAM members at sectional level. The April and June 2014 issues of the newsletter are free to access via the Section’s News & Events webpage http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/siamukie/news-events/ and can also be downloaded from the archive webpage http://www.siam.org/sections/siamukie/archive.php. (more…)

Register Now for the SIAM Conference on Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures

Register Now for the SIAM Conference on Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures

Richard O. Moore (New Jersey Institute of Technology) writes:

As many of us wrap up the spring semester, our thoughts turn to finalizing summer plans. This summer features the biennial SIAM Conference on Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures (NW14), being held at the University of Cambridge in the UK from August 11 to 14. The program has recently been posted, making this an opportune time to point out some highlights of NW14.

What immediately jumps out about NW14 is its sheer size. The number of minisymposia has doubled from 48 at NW12 to 94 in 2014! The number of contributed sessions has seen comparable growth, and the number of plenary talks has grown from five to eight. Only the size of the poster session has decreased, shrinking to 19 from 45 in 2012. Nevertheless, we expect to see a considerably larger attendance this year, well over 400 attendees. (more…)

Thinking Outside Academia

Thinking Outside Academia

SIAM Executive Director Jim Crowley writes:

In an excellent editorial, Science editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt commented on preparation for non-academic careers [Science, 16 May 2014, Vol. 344, p. 672]. Noting an uptick in unemployment in 2010 data for PhDs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, she wrote,“Prospects for employment can be improved, however, for STEM PhDs who make a concerted effort to learn about positions outside the lab and prepare themselves for alternative paths.” For the primary audience of Science – those in biomedical and related fields – “the lab” is understood to be an academic research lab.

McNutt’s recommendations, which include improving communication skills and learning to listen so as  to understand how work in a field can be applied to “help meet the needs of others,” are also among the skills uncovered in the SIAM Math in Industry studies. For people in our community, learning certain computer skills can also enhance prospects in the non-academic career market. For more details, see the SIAM Math in Industry reports at http://www.siam.org/reports/. (more…)

Student Days at SIAM Annual Meeting

Student Days at SIAM Annual Meeting

Peter Turner (Clarkson University), SIAM’s Vice President for Education, writes:

Students now constitute close to 40% of SIAM’s members. Over the past several years many activities have been added to the Annual Meeting program to enhance students’ experience at the meeting, especially since so many are attending a large meeting for the first time.

So, what can you expect to find at AN14 in Chicago? (more…)

The Raspberry Pi for Education and Scientific Computing

The Raspberry Pi for Education and Scientific Computing

Sam Relton (The University of Manchester) writes:

At the recent Manchester Student Chapter Conference Pete Lomas, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation gave a plenary lecture about the educational goals behind the Raspberry Pi project and its potential use in scientific computing. He raised some interesting points which I’d like to summarize for the community. (more…)

The Industrial Math Sandbox 1

The Industrial Math Sandbox

Richard O. Moore (New Jersey Institute of Technology) writes:

Industrial applied mathematics emphasizes the importance of relevance to industry, something that must be reconsidered at the modeling, analysis, and typically, computational stages of problem-solving. Striking the right balance in this endeavor takes practice, practice that all too often comes in the form of research lines that prove too mundane or too impractical to continue. Finding the right problems to work on, and the right industrial people to work with, is critically important in forging a career that is rewarding and noteworthy.

Wouldn’t it be nice, then, if there were a forum that would introduce you to an array of industrial math problems groomed and laid out for your consideration? Problems that ranged in topic from classical fluids to stochastic dynamics, from epidemiology to fiber-optic communications? The Mathematical Problems in Industry workshop, entering its thirtieth year this June, is a week-long intensive modeling experience that brings representatives from a wide range of industries together with applied mathematicians in the academy to sharpen their industrial math skills, make real progress on the problems brought to the workshop, and forge new alliances between universities and industry. (more…)

From MATLAB Guide to IPython Notebook 2

From MATLAB Guide to IPython Notebook

Don MacMillen (Nimbic, Inc. and University of Washington) writes:

Back in the mid 2000′s, I realized I was late to the party and determined to learn one of the matrix and numerical mathematics oriented languages. A Python based language was the natural choice for me since I already knew the language. The numerical packages for Python, Numpy, and Scipy, seemed to be just what I was looking for as well. The only problem, at that time, was in the lack of good learning examples. Things have changed greatly since then, and there are now a host of great references for Python, Numpy, Scipy, and IPython [1-5].

Back then I noticed that a book advertised in SIAM News had received outstanding reviews. It was D.J. Higham and N.J. Higham’s book “MATLAB Guide[6]. The obvious issue was that it was written for MATLAB, but I thought why not try to replicate the examples in Python/Numpy? (more…)

Jack Dongarra Emphasizes Research in High-end Math

Jack Dongarra, co-chair of the recently-released Department of Energy report on exascale computing, emphasizes that research into high-end mathematics is needed to keep the United States competent in cutting edge computing research.

Exascale computing (capable of one quintillion floating point operations per second) will enable us to solve problems in ways that are not feasible today and will result in significant scientific breakthroughs,” Dongarra said to The University of Tennessee’s Tennessee Today. “However, the transition to exascale poses numerous scientific and technological challenges.” (more…)