News and updates for UIUC Department of Mathematics alumni and friends
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[ Alumni + Friends Math Monthly | February 2021 ]

United as One: 24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, July 5-9

Illinois unites with three universities to host first virtual IME Congress


In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the global actuarial community will unite virtually this summer for the 24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics. This year's theme, “United as One,” symbolizes the unity and inclusion of researchers from different backgrounds all around the world. In the spirit of coming together as one, this event is jointly hosted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Pennsylvania State University in the United States; Ulm University in Germany; and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) in Australia.

Additionally, this is the first major international insurance research conference hosted by the Department of Mathematics and the University of Illinois. 

“Hosting the 24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics will greatly raise the awareness and the profile of our department and actuarial science program in the global community,” said Runhuan Feng, director of the actuarial science program at the University of Illinois and lead chair of the IME organizing committee. “UIUC has long had a strong educational program in actuarial science. This conference will bring focus to our commensurately successful research program and rising reputation as a center of excellence in actuarial research at the world stage.”
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Reddy receives LAS Academic Professional Award

Alison Reddy, 2020-21 LAS Academic Professional Award 

Alison Reddy, director of mathematics placement and coordinator of quantitative reasoning courses, has been named a 2020-21 recipient of the LAS Academic Professional Award.

Reddy leads a team of math instructors who are selected to work with incoming first-generation students and carefully designs courses to provide a rigorous yet welcoming and dynamic environment for students. Wrote one colleague, “Alison is clearly influencing the way math instruction and teaching should be delivered at Illinois.”
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Study published: A new way to measure traffic congestion

Professor Richard Sowers, left, and recent graduate Daniel Carmody | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer 

By capturing the different routes by which vehicles can travel between locations, Professor Richard Sowers and recent graduate Daniel Carmody have developed a new computer algorithm that helps quantify regions of congestion in urban areas and suggests ways around them. The study, published in the Journal of Physics: Complexity, used traffic speeds from taxis in New York City to demonstrate how road infrastructure and driver behavior can create complex road networks that differ among cities.
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POSITION OPPORTUNITY: Visiting Internship Project Developer

Visiting Internship Project Developer, 

Do you thrive on new challenges and taking responsibility in a collaborative environment? Do you take a strategic approach to your work? Do you enjoy a fast-paced culture where your opinions are valued and respected?

The Internship Network in the Mathematical Sciences (Inmas), a new program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with twin hubs at the University of Illinois and Johns Hopkins University, will aid industry, government and non-profit partners in solving strategic challenges by leveraging the world-class mathematical sciences talent in universities in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. The visiting internship project developer will identify and develop research and development internship projects at companies and government hosts in Illinois and neighboring states where the mathematical sciences can make a positive impact.
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MATRIX releases new video series

MATRIX Youtube Channel video 

Mathematical Advancement Through Research and Idea eXchange (MATRIX), a registered student organization established in 2004 for students interested in math, has recently started a video series dedicated to sharing their love for mathematics at the university through video. The series features department highlights, research spotlights, and student and faculty interviews. Be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow their Instagram page to catch their latest videos and updates.
MATRIX is also hoping to feature math alumni in the new video series. Alumni interested in being featured in an upcoming video should email


IGL presents nine Fall 2020 research projects

IGL chimes research presentation 

The Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) showcases the mathematical talents of undergraduate students at the University of Illinois, providing a framework for faculty and graduate students to engage local undergraduates in research. The IGL administers large scale undergraduate research programs each fall and spring semester, and smaller programs during the summer months. Last fall, IGL scholars presented their findings on nine research projects.
Learn more and watch the presentations →



Frank Quan, assistant professor 

Frank Quan joined the Department of Mathematics last fall as an assistant professor. He enjoys teaching data science courses (machine learning, predictive modeling, statistical inference, etc.) because “data science applications in actuarial science as a field is booming, and the traditional discipline is evolving rapidly. Predictive analytics has broad and promising applications in insurance. By teaching these courses, students will be fully prepared for new changes.” When not in the classroom, Quan enjoys “Westworld,” tennis, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, and hunting.
View the Fast Five Q&A →




New student program named for alumnus David Blackwell

David Blackwell 

Alumnus David Blackwell (BA, ’38, MA, ’39, PhD, ’41, mathematics) overcame insurmountable odds to become an influential contributor to the world of mathematics and statistics. His remarkable life would culminate with 12 honorary doctorates and numerous awards, honors, and leadership roles throughout his career.

Named in his honor, the new David H. Blackwell Summer Scholars Program, hosted by the Illinois Departments of Statistics and Mathematics, is designed to increase the access and equity in the pipeline for graduate degrees in statistics, data science, and mathematics. The six-week program is open to rising juniors and seniors in the mathematical sciences who are interested in learning more about statistics, data science, and mathematics. 
Learn more →

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"Rising Together: Facing the Challenges of Tomorrow Today"

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, one of the leading voices for equality and social justice in our nation today, presented "Rising Together: Facing the Challenges of Tomorrow Today" at the 2021 MLK Advocacy for Justice Virtual Celebration in January.
Watch the recording →

“A Great Conversation” with alumnus Dr. Freeman Hrabowski

Last fast, alumnus Dr. Freeman Hrabowski (MA, ’71, mathematics; PhD, ’75, education), president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), joined Chancellor Robert Jones for the first installment of the “A Great Conversation” series.
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“How to Stop COVID-19 Using Mathematics”

Illinois Physics presented their first 2020-21 Saturday Physics for Everyone lecture, “How to Stop COVID-19 Using Mathematics,” featuring Professor Nigel Goldenfeld.
Watch the recording →



Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken 

The Four Color Theorem is one of the signature achievements of the University of Illinois Department of Mathematics and a landmark result in geometry, graph and network theory, and computer science. In this month's trivia, let's take a look back at this remarkable bit of UIUC math history.
Test your knowledge →



IlliniFest 2021 | March 7, 2021

There’s so much to celebrate at the University of Illinois—even in the midst of a challenging year. Celebrate together at IlliniFest, a virtual program open to everyone in the Illinois community.
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Risk Analytics Symposium 2021 | March 27, 2021

This year, the Actuarial Science Club and Illinois Risk Lab are joining forces to bring together leaders from both the academic community and the insurance world to this year’s Risk Analytics Symposium 2021: Actuarial Innovations to Emerging Risks.
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Seminar & Event Calendar

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