[ Faculty + Staff E-News | July 2020 ]
U of I partners with other universities to form math and statistics institute
The National Science Foundation has awarded $15.5 million to four universities in Illinois, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to create an institute to bring powerful mathematical ideas to bear on key contemporary scientific and technological challenges.
Researchers at the new Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI), which will be hosted by the University of Chicago, will build a platform that accelerates the translation of applied mathematical and statistical techniques into solutions for urgent scientific and societal problems.
In addition to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IMSI will include a collaborative group of mathematicians and statisticians from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The $15.5 million grant will be provided by NSF over five years.
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Summary of departmental expectations for instructors for Fall 2020
In preparation for this coming fall semester, in which most of our classes will be partially or entirely online, the department has formulated a list of departmental expectations for instructors. These are contained in Section 6 of the report of the Covid Taskforce on Instruction; a summary is available online.
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Math Times – Summer 2020
The latest issue of our department newsletter, Math Times, is currently being printed and will be heading to mailboxes soon. In the meantime, view the digital version and get a first look of the summer issue.
View the Summer 2020 issue →
Undergraduate enrollment update
Starting July 11, registration has been paused for students until early August. Once reopened, students may register Aug. 3–14 according to their time tickets (registration start day/time). Students will be able to see the updated COVID-19-informed timetable for fall online at Course Explorer starting at 6 p.m. on July 31. In the meantime, instructors who receive enrollment questions should direct students to email@example.com.
New campus branding guidelines
In a message to the campus community sent on June 30, Chancellor Robert Jones provided an update on the branding work undertaken by the campus Office of Strategic Marketing and Branding. Last week, the office released the new brand guidelines on their website. All units are being asked to implement updates to both visual identity and messaging within the next 12 months. No changes need to be made at this time; LAS units, including our department, will implement these changes through a coordinated process with a rollout targeted for mid-January. Please contact Jenell Hironimus if you have questions regarding branding.
STUDENT RESEARCH & OUTREACH
An Illinois Risk Lab research team led by professors Runhuan Feng and Alfred Chong and Visiting Professor Xiaowei Chen developed a quantitative framework for pandemic resources contingency planning and allocation. This work takes an actuarial approach to forecast demand and supply for critical medical resources, develop optimal stockpiling and allocation strategies to minimize the economic impact of demand-supply imbalance. The tool has been applied to analyze mechanical ventilators, testing kits, and personal protective equipment in all 50 states in the U.S. An early version of the research paper has been published on ResearchGate.
The team launched a web-based tool to showcase the analytical framework. As the team continues to refine and improve the tool over the summer, the ultimate goal is to make the toolkit useful for public health policymakers and risk management professionals. The toolkit can be used to assess demand and supply of scarce resources, and assist in contingency and emergence response planning. The second phase of the research project is to develop fair and optimal allocation strategies for COVID-19 vaccines.
Ron Graham (1935–2020)
Ron Graham, a leader in discrete mathematics and a former president of both the American Mathematical Society (1993–94) and the Mathematical Association of America (2003–04), died on July 6. He was 84. Graham published more than 350 papers and books with many collaborators, including more than 90 with his wife, Fan Chung, and more than 30 with Paul Erdős. Graham, who served as the lecturer for our department's Arthur B. Coble Memorial Lectures in 1981–82, created the Erdős number and Graham's number (in a 1971 paper on Ramsey theory written with Bruce Rothschild), which was for a time the largest number used in a proof.
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Department Town Hall Meeting
Our next department town hall meeting will be held Friday, July 24, 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 bit.ly/uiuc-math-dept.
COVID-19 Briefing Series
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hosting a series of online COVID-19 Briefings. During these live-streamed briefings campus leaders and subject experts will present the latest information on a specific topic related to the university’s responses to COVID-19. Additionally, during some briefings, members of the Chancellor’s COVID-19 committees will provide updates on their committee’s work.
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