News and updates for the Department of Mathematics faculty and staff
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[ Faculty + Staff E-News | August 2020 ]

Illinois prepares for start of Fall 2020 semester

After a summer of planning and preparation, the Fall 2020 semester will kick off on Monday, Aug. 24. In a message to the Illinois community, Chancellor Robert Jones reiterated the importance of the next 10 to 15 days.

“It is our innovative spirit and the creativity of our own researchers that have given us this test that gives us a chance to overcome the challenges that have forced many other universities to move fully online,” said Jones. “But, in the end, it is the commitment and character of our students, faculty, and staff to take hard, but necessary actions, and to exercise discipline and good judgement that will carry us forward. We can do this. But we must do it together.” 

Read the full message from Chancellor Robert Jones → 
View the university's COVID-19 website →
View the department's COVID-19 Updates & Resources website →


Rapid saliva test operating under FDA Emergency Use Authorization

Illinois is now performing its new rapid, saliva-based COVID-19 test under the umbrella of an approved FDA Emergency Use Authorization. The CLIA-certified lab performed a bridging study to a recently approved FDA EUA, granted to Yale School of Public Health, showing that the Illinois test performs at least as well as the recently approved saliva-testing protocol, placing it under the umbrella of that EUA.

“Today’s news puts the University of Illinois and the entire state of Illinois on the cutting edge of testing innovation on a national level. And let me just say to President Killeen, the State of Illinois looks forward to being your biggest customer,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “If ongoing research continues to yield positive results, this has potentially game-changing implications for our statewide testing program as well as for testing on a national level.”
Learn more →

Samperton receives NSF EAGER grant

J.L. Doob Research Assistant Professor Eric Samperton has been awarded an EAGER (Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Samperton's project, “Detecting knottedness with quantum computers,” investigates the extent to which quantum computers might solve problems in topology more efficiently than classical computers. Samperton submitted the proposal in response to NSF’s Quantum Algorithm Challenge to find new realms of applications for quantum computers.

NSF’s EAGER grant was designed specifically for potentially transformative or exploratory research that explores new subjects, different methods, or interdisciplinary approaches and to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.

Combinatorics Research Training Group website

The Combinatorics Research Training Group (RTG) recently launched a new website highlighting their research, activities, and other important information. The RTG was awarded an NSF training grant through 2025, which funds numerous activities in combinatorics, including multiple seminars, visitors, undergraduate research (through the ICLUE program), graduate research, and postdocs.
Learn more →


Faculty, students, and staff prepare for the fall semester

“The fall semester is going to look different for all of us, but we are working hard and investing significant resources to provide students with an education that meets our high standards at the U of I,” said Gene Robinson, interim dean of the College of LAS.
Learn more →



Beginning Aug. 13, a new Kaltura video integration with Zoom enables the automatic archiving of recordings made to the Zoom cloud meetings and webinars in the meeting host’s “My Media” repository in Kaltura (Illinois Media Space). In addition, transcription files and chat transcripts from Zoom are copied to Kaltura and attached to the recording entry. 
Learn more →


Masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes are now available for pick up. Each employee will receive two masks, a container of wipes, and a bottle of sanitizer. Please schedule an appointment to pick up your employee PPE.

If you are planning to pick up on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, items will be available in the Business Office. Please email to schedule your pickup appointment.

For a Tuesday and Thursday pickup, please email to schedule a pickup in the main office. 


The September 2020 issue (Volume 64, No. 3) of the Illinois Journal of Mathematics is now online. As always, advance publication papers are available as well. Illinois Mathematics professor Steven Bradlow is the editor-in-chief of IJM. Serving on the editorial board are the following Illinois Mathematics faculty: Scott Ahlgren, Jozsef Balogh, Vera Hur, Marius Junge, Sheldon Katz, and Renming Song.



OVCRI releases new managing foreign government influence website

At Illinois, we are diligent about mitigating the risk of academic espionage and inappropriate foreign influence by establishing clear and effective safeguards in research agreements and practices. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation has created a website to help raise awareness regarding inappropriate foreign government influence on university research. 
Learn more →



Department Town Hall Meeting

Our next department town hall meeting will be held Friday, Aug. 28, at 4:30 p.m. CDT virtually via Zoom. The recordings of all our town hall meetings are available on the department’s channel on Illinois Media Space at

Seminar & Event Calendar

View all the upcoming seminars, colloquia, and events hosted by the department at Virtual event? View the weekly calendar of meeting coordinates.

ATLAS Workshop Calendar

A calendar of upcoming workshops hosted by ATLAS offered to help you get started with or refresh your knowledge of technologies.

University of Illinois Calendars

View a variety of Illinois event, academic, and programming calendars at



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