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Mathematics and Statistics
Project Proposal

Computational Mathematics for the Sciences - Student Driven Project

Benjamin Morin (Mathematics and Statistics)

We will explore aspects of mathematical modeling as it pertains to the life sciences (e.g., biology, ecology, and epidemiology). The first half of this project involves a crash course in mathematical methods (I will provide course materials). With only calculus required, you will get a taste of equations representing change in biological quantities (difference and differential equations), computer simulation via Matlab, and random processes. During this time, you will attend lectures hosted by myself for 1-3 hours (with breaks!!) each weekday. Using the tools we developed, I will leave it up to you to come together with a clear project in mind. Students must be able to make an approximately 10-day trip, dates to be determined, to Arizona State University’s Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (travel, room, and board covered) in order to interact with the faculty and students there during the project formulation stage. This will expose you to a broader community of like-minded students and scholars and sharpen the project proposal. We will spend the latter half of the URSI program designing an appropriate model, mathematically analyzing it, and translating these results back into the context of the original applied question.

Pre-requisites: MATH 126 competency required. Informal or basic Matlab skills are a plus. Some exposure to problems in the life sciences.

How should students express their interest in this project? Students interested in this project MUST make time to meet with me to discuss their interest. Email me at bmorin@vassar.edu to schedule a time. Serious consideration will be given to 2-3 students who express a real desire to solve complex problems in their science of interest using mathematics. I will also make an attempt to select students with overlapping interests in order to facilitate a smooth project selection/proposal experience. Please include any past URSI or REU experience. Preference may be given to those who have not yet participated in an URSI or REU in the past.