Mark L. Green and Kathryn Kert Green have made a generous $75,000 gift that will be matched by the Dean of Physical Sciences, to augment the existing Green Family Lectureship Endowment. “This is a wonderful lecture series, and we could not be happier with how it has worked out,” Green says. Since 2012, the endowment has supported highly distinguished lectures at IPAM, including Walter Kohn, Wendelin Werner, Avi Wigderson, Andrew W. Lo, Ingrid Daubechies, and Edward Witten. This gift will enable IPAM to host two lecture series per year. The 2018 Green Family Lecturers will be Fields Medalist Vaughan Jones and Facebook’s AI expert Yann LeCun. Mark Green is a co-founder and former director of IPAM.

]]>The past year has been full of activities and changes. Read about our programs and other activities in our annual newsletter. This year’s newsletter features Tim Tangherlini, an expert on Scandinavian folklore who has become a leader in bringing quantitative methods to the humanities, and Graeme Henkelman, a theoretical chemist and materials scientist who values the international collaborations he began at IPAM programs. Read also about IPAM’s new director, Dima Shlyakhtenko, two new Science Advisory Board members, the impact of IPAM on Virginie Ehrlacher, a new series of workshops on multiscale physics, and much more. Stop by IPAM to pick up a hard copy of the newsletter!

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The International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) announced its 2018 list of plenary speakers for the 28th edition of the conference to be held August 1-9, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro. Six recent IPAM affiliates are among those bestowed with this honor:

- Luigi Ambrosio (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)–organizer and speaker for the workshop Analysis on Metric Spaces in 2013

- Ronald Coifman (Yale)–organizer for the Mathematics of Knowledge and Search Engines long program in 2007 and speaker at several IPAM workshops from 2009-2011

- Gil Kalai (Hebrew University)–organizer for the long program on Combinatorics in 2009

- Alex Lubotzky (Hebrew University)–organizer for the Expanders in Pure and Applied Mathematics workshop in 2008 and speaker for the Zariski-dense Subgroups workshop in 2015

- Tomasz Mrowka (MIT)–speaker for the workshop Gauge Theory and Categorification in 2017

- Assaf Naor (Princeton)–Science Advisory Board member and organizer for the Quantitative Linear Algebra long program in spring 2018

According to its website, ICM is one of the world’s premier forums for presenting and discussing new mathematical discoveries. Their goal is to further the success of this series of events – expanding knowledge, exchanging experiences, and fostering an awareness of mathematics in a broad and innovative way.

]]>A workshop related to the analysis of stochasticity in epigenetics was held at IPAM on March 1-3, 2017. Experts in the application of novel analytical and experimental tools gathered to explore recent advances and barriers to progress related to the mathematical understanding of the relatively new biological field of epigenetics. The workshop served as a forum for scientists and engineers with an interest in computational biology to explore the role of stochasticity in regulation, development and evolution, and its epigenetic basis. Stochasticity has been transformative in physics and in some areas of biology. It also promises to fundamentally transform modern genetics and help to explain critical biological behavior, such as differentiation and cancer.

Epigenetics refers to information used to control gene expression that is not part of DNA sequence per se, yet it is transmitted during cell division. Through the control of gene expression, epigenetic regulation distinguishes stem cells from somatic cells, one organ from another and even identical twins from each other. In contrast to DNA sequence, the epigenome is relatively susceptible to modifications by the environment and can be subject to stochastic perturbations over time, adding to phenotypic diversity in a population. There is increasingly strong evidence that in epigenetic regulation “stochasticity” is hardly synonymous with “noise”, which often refers to variation that obscures a “true signal” (e.g., measurement error) or which is structural, as in physics (e.g., quantum noise). Rather, “stochastic regulation” refers to purposeful, programmed variation; the fluctuations are random but there is no true signal to mask.

Talks at the conference included several exciting areas at the interface of mathematics and biology. Key themes were related to the role of stochasticity in the control of gene expression, biological limits imposed by stochastic fluctuations, and genomic inference of epigenetics states in the presence of stochastic fluctuations. Read the full report.

]]>**What do you consider yourself: a mathematician, a physicist, an engineer…?**

A mathematician. My current research has applications to geophysics, and I collaborate with researchers in fields outside mathematics, but my work is focused primarily in the optimal transport and mathematical challenges of inverse problems.

**How were you drawn into mathematics?
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I started my undergraduate education at Zhejiang University in China as a science major, and during my first year there, I took courses in many different areas of science. I soon realized that mathematics was the most exciting subject and chose pure math as a major.

**What problems are you excited about right now?
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I am most interested in optimal transport. The topic was brought up more than 200 years ago and has been well developed by analysts. I am excited to apply its beautiful theory to applied mathematics. Inverse problems is an application of optimal transport, and I am also very interested in the computational challenges posed by inverse problems and their applications. As a graduate student at UT, I have taken courses in several areas of pure and applied mathematics, and I think the complexity of inverse problems allows me to put all this mathematical knowledge to work towards creating new algorithms for solving them.

**This is your second visit to IPAM in a short time; what keeps you coming back?**

First of all, IPAM has recently organized programs that are very close to my research interests, and it provides great opportunities to meet experts in the areas I work on and learn from their talks and my interaction with them. IPAM’s building is great for this type of interactions and also to work with others. I find this working environment very productive. The interdisciplinary nature of most IPAM programs also leads to more innovating ideas that enrich my own research. I also like Los Angeles and its weather very much.

**This program has covered different aspects of oil field applications. What parts/topics of the program have you enjoyed most? Is there any topic you would have liked to see more of?**

I can’t think of any topic I would have liked to see in more detail. My favorite parts of the program so far have been the tutorials —they really prepared me well to understand advanced talks in areas I was not that familiar with before starting the program, and the workshop on Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) and Velocity Analysis was really amazing. This is the area I am currently working on, and I have really enjoyed meeting the top experts in the field and having the opportunity to present my work to them during the workshop. I also enjoyed the format of the workshops, with plenty of discussions that helped me better understand what techniques and ideas may or may not work in my current line of research.

**How is your participation in the program contributing to your progress as a graduate student?**

My thesis advisor is also participating in the program, so being here has allowed me to have more interaction with him than when I am at UT Austin. And it isn’t only he who is available to work with; the best researchers in the field are also here, and I take advantage of it to discuss new ideas with them and re-focus my research goals and methods. Being able to attend seminar talks in the math department and to meet some of their faculty has also been very beneficial. And being at IPAM has also allowed me to concentrate on my research and not have to worry about other duties I usually have when I’m at home.

**What is your favorite paper or idea of yours?**

My favorite paper is a preprint submitted last December and revised recently. It is titled “Application of Optimal Transport and the Quadratic Wasserstein Metric to Full-Waveform Inversion.” To compute the optimal transport cost between two 2D seismic signals, in the past we solved numerically a 2D Monge–Ampère equation; a highly non-linear PDE. Due to its own numerical challenges the results were not ideal. Last November, we tried the idea of solving 1D optimal transport to compare the 2D data slice by slice. This approach worked remarkably well, and the paper was finished one month later. The 2D approach has its own advantages, but this experience inspired me to think the best ideas might be the simplest.

]]>Shlyakhtenko has been a member of the faculty at UCLA since 1998. His research is on Operator Algebra and includes Free probability theory, von Neumann algebras, C*-algebras, L2-invariants, and Poisson geometry. He received his PhD from University of California, Berkeley in 1997 at the age of 22. In 2001 he was awarded a Sloan Foundation Fellowship and in 2010 he gave an invited talk at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Hyderabad, India. His outstanding teaching was recognized in 2004 with the R. Sorgenfrey Distinguished Teaching Award.

As chair of UCLA Department of Mathematics from 2012 to 2015, Dima expressed his support for IPAM’s renewal proposal to NSF in 2015. He is the lead organizer of IPAM’s spring 2018 long program, Quantitative Linear Algebra.

]]>Earlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Of those elected, four of them are IPAM affiliates:

- Noam Elkies (Harvard)–speaker for a Combinatorial and Computational Geometry workshop in 2014

- Claudio Pellegrini (UCLA)–speaker for a recent workshop on Beam Dynamics this past January

- Nicholas Read (Yale)–organizer for the Random Shapes long program in 2007

- Daniel Spielman (Yale)–organizer for one for the upcoming workshops on Quantitative Linear Algebra in spring 2018

Congratulations for this recognition!

]]>On October 7, 2017, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences will induct 228 new members at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Members of the 237th class include five IPAM affiliates, who are recognized for their contributions to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy:

- Richard G. Baraniuk (Rice)–organizer and speaker for a Computational Photography and Intelligent Cameras workshop in 2015; core participant in the Multiscale Geometry and Analysis long program in 2004 and speaker for related workshop

- Young-Kee Kim (University of Chicago)–organizer for a Beam Dynamics workshop in January 2017

- Robert V. Kohn (NYU)–organizer for a Metamaterials workshop in 2010

- Kerry A. Emanuel (MIT)–speaker for Small Scales and Extreme Events: The Hurricane workshop in 2007

- Yannis G. Kevrekidis (Princeton)–speaker in several IPAM workshops, including one for the upcoming fall long program on Energy Landscapes

IPAM congratulates the Class of 2017 SIAM Fellows! Of the 28 members, six are affiliated with IPAM:

- Emmanuel Candès (Stanford)–Science Advisory Board member and organizer for Optimization long program in 2010

- Rama Cont (Imperial)–core participant in Financial Mathematics program long program in 2015 and speaker/organizer for related workshops

- Ricardo Cortez (Tulane)–organizer for Latinos in the Mathematical Sciences Conference 2015 and 2018

- Monique Laurent (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica)–organizer for Optimization long program in 2010

- Igor Mezic (UCSB)–speaker for several IPAM workshops; most recently, a Mathematics of Turbulence workshop in 2014

- Marc Teboulle (Tel Aviv University)–core participant in the Optimization long program in 2010 and speaker for related workshops

According to the SIAM web page, these distinguished members were nominated for their exemplary research as well as outstanding service to the community. These individuals will be recognized for their achievements during the SIAM Annual Meeting, happening July 10-14, 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA.

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