IMU-Net 58: March 2013
A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France
2013 has been declared the International Year of Statistics
("Statistics2013") by the following institutions: the American
Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the
International Biometric Society, the International Statistical
Institute, the Bernoulli Society and the Royal Statistical Society. As
we speak, the International Year of Statistics is a worldwide event
supported by more than 1,700 organizations.
The aims of this event are as follows:
- To increase public awareness of the power and impact of Statistics
on all aspects of society
- To nurture Statistics as a profession, especially among young people
- To promote creativity and development in the sciences of probability
Why has 2013 been chosen? There are at least two main reasons: 300
years ago, in 1713, Jakob Bernoulli's work, "Ars Conjectandi", was
published posthumously in Basel, eight years after his death. This
work is considered the foundation of the combinatorial basis of the
Theory of Probability. Moreover, 250 years ago, in 1763, Thomas
Bayes's work, "An Essay towards solving a problem in the Doctrine of
Chances", was also published posthumously, two years after the death
of the author, and regarded as the fundamental basis of Bayesian
Statistics has undergone a spectacular growth and is increasingly
being applied to other sciences, technologies, medicine, biological
sciences and industrial processes, etc., which makes it indispensable
for our society. However, depending on countries, it could be taught
very little in schools, even though knowledge of this subject is
important for any citizen and vital in many university courses. To
underline its role in education, ICMI and the International
Association for Statistical Education (IASE) have organized the
production of an ICMI Study: "Challenges for Teaching and Teacher
Education Study", published by Springer in 2011 (The 18th ICMI Study
Series: New ICMI Study Series, Vol. 14) and edited by Carmen Batanero,
Gail Burrill, and Chris Reading.
For its part, the Scientific Program of the International Congress of
Mathematicians always includes a section (Section 12) devoted to
Probability and Statistics, with between 10 and 13 talks by invited
Fully aware of the importance of Statistics, the IMU is supporting the
International Year of Statistics and is planning some additional
activities to be held at the ICM in Seoul in 2014 (round tables,
presentation of IYS results) to underline "Statistics2013".
The celebration of "Statistics2013" will undoubtedly be a wonderful
opportunity to extend relations between the IMU and the main
statistical associations around the world.
Manuel de Leon,
Member-at-large of the IMU Executive Committee
IMU on the Web
The entire March 28, 2013 issue of Nature is devoted to The Future of
Publishing. Some of the topics CEIC has recently discussed are
B. ICERM Workshop on Reproducibility in Computational and Experimental
A recent workshop at ICERM ((Institute for Computational and
Experimental Research in Mathematics, Brown University, Providence,
USA) brought together a mix of pure and applied mathematicians and
statisticians, as well as computational scientists from several
applications areas, to discuss the challenges of doing reproducible
research in computational and experimental branches of the
mathematical sciences. While the standards of traditional
mathematics require that proofs be published along with the theorems
they prove, research that is built on computer programs, whether using
numerical or symbolic techniques, often cannot be independently
verified by the reader or even the referees of the resulting
publications. Computer codes are rarely shared and often not even
properly archived by the authors, and full details needed to recreate
the codes are usually not included in the publications.
In addition, there are often technical challenges in simply insuring
that a computer code gives the same answers when run on different
computers, or even twice on the same computer with current parallel
There is growing awareness in many branches of computational science
that the integrity and credibility of research and the ability to
build safely on past results requires a change in work habits and
community expectations. The mathematical sciences form the foundation
for much of the computational work that is done daily in other fields,
not only to support research findings but increasingly as the basis
for risk assessment and policy decisions that can have broad
In addition to this imperative, increased reproducibility should
improve the quality of mathematical research internally. With the use
of appropriate tools, it can also increase the productivity and impact
of researchers rather than being an additional burden.
The workshop included several breakout sessions devoted to discussion
of specific topics, including available and desired tools to aid in
reproducibility, the steps that employers, publication venues and
funding agencies might take to encourage a culture change, and
possible curriculum changes to better teach good practices to the next
One recommendation in the report is the formation of a group representing
several professional societies in the mathematical sciences with the goal of
developing a set of "best practices" for publication of research results
involving computation. While they may ultimately need to be tailored
to different communities, such guidelines could be useful to the editorial
boards of many journals, as well as to authors, editors, and referees who
are concerned about promoting reproducibility. This is an effort that the
IMU might consider supporting.
A workshop report that summarizes many of the discussions was recently
posted on the workshop website:
This site also has a link to a wiki where many additional resources on
related topics can be found.
University of Washington (USA)
Call for suggestions for an IMU application to ICSU (International Council of Scientific Unions)
IMU is calling for suggestions for applications to the ICSU grant
program. Grants are up to 30,000 Euros. It is recommended that
projects meet some of the following criteria:
1. The project fits within one of ICSU's priorities:
a) Science and Technology for Sustainable Development
b) Capacity Building and Science Education
c) Dissemination of Data and/or Information from Science and Technology
d) Emerging Science -- Creation of New Knowledge.
http://www.icsu.org/publications/reports-and-reviews/icsu-strategic-plan-2012-2017 for ICSU Strategic
2. The project involves at least one other union inside ICSU.
3. The project has some capacity building objective in one of the ICSU
regional offices: ROLAC (Latin America and the Caribbean), ROA
(Africa), ROAP (Asia Pacific).
A one page letter of intention should be sent by April 30 to
Christiane Rousseau: rousseac(at)dms.umontreal.ca
News from the Commission for Developing Countries (CDC) Volunteer Lecturer Program (VLP)
The IMU's Volunteer Lecturer Program offers universities in the
developing world lecturers for intensive 3-4 week courses in
mathematics at the advanced undergraduate or master's level. The
courses must contribute to an established degree program in
mathematics at the host university.
During its four-year history, mathematician-volunteers have given over
20 courses under this scheme in universities in Algeria, Benin,
Cambodia, El Salvador, Honduras, Laos, Nigeria and Tanzania. Â Travel
and living costs are provided by the International Mathematical Union
and national partners such as France's CIMPA and the US National
Committee for Mathematics.
For more information on how to become a Volunteer Lecturer or a Host
Institution for the intensive courses offered under the program,
consult the program's website:
The next International Congress of Mathematicians will take place at
COEX in Seoul, Korea, from Wednesday August 13, through Thursday
August 21, 2014.
The pre-registration process is underway. If you have not yet
pre-registered, please do so by following the simple instructions at
the homepage: http://www.icm2014.org/.
The ICM e-News is being circulated to the people who pre-registered
for the congress. We strongly recommend that you visit the homepage
regularly for updated information and ICM related activities.
Solidarity in Mathematics, NANUM 2014
To make the congress a true world-wide gathering, the Organizing
Committee places special emphasis on supporting mathematicians from
developing countries. Members of the Korean Mathematical Society fully
acknowledge the gracious support received from the international
mathematical community in the 70's and 80's, and hope more countries
can share in the benefits. This has motivated the theme of "Solidarity
in Mathematics", and 1,000 mathematicians from developing countries
will be invited to Korea during ICM 2014.
The Seoul ICM Travel Fellowship Fund was set up for this purpose, and
the fund is expected to receive over US$2 million by 2014 mainly from
global corporations and individual donors. By collaborating with
IMU/CDC, we are developing selection guidelines for this travel
assistance program, called "NANUM 2014". NANUM is a Korean word
meaning "gracious and unconditional sharing".
NANUM 2014 in detail
The financial support will be granted in three categories:
45% senior mathematicians
45% junior mathematicians
10% advanced graduate students
The applications will be reviewed by five review committees covering
the following five regions:
East and Southeast Asia including China and North Korea
South and West Asia including Indian subcontinent
Eastern Europe including North Asia
Central and South America
A tentative timeline of the application and selection procedure has been set
April 30, 2013: Selection software (final)
Jun. 1, 2013 - Aug. 31, 2013 : Applications received
Dec. 31, 2013 : Review of Applications completed
Jan. 2014 : Notification of acceptance
We look forward to welcoming you at the congress in Seoul, Korea.
Chairman, ICM 2014 Organizing Committee
Workshop on Mathematics of climate change, related hazards and risks
Applications are invited of a 5-day workshop that is organized as a
satellite activity of the 2013 Mathematical Congress of the Americas
at CIMAT in Guanajuato (Mexico) during July 29 -- August 2 2013. The
workshop will bring together about 40 young researchers, mainly from
Latin America and the Caribbean and a dozen distinguished scientists,
each of which will give several lectures on a chosen topic.
The workshop is part of the world initiative "Mathematics of Planet
Earth 2013" which is endorsed by IMU (www.mpe2013.org). It is jointly
organized by IMU together with the International Union of Geodesy and
Geophysics (IUGG) and the International Union of Theoretical and
Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). It is sponsored by the International
Council of Science (ICSU), by the International Council of Industrial
and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM), and supported by ICSU Regional Office
for Latin America and the Caribbean, by two interdisciplinary bodies
of ICSU, namely IRDR (Integrated Research on Disaster Risk) and WCRP,
by the US National Academy of Sciences, by the Academia Mexicana de
Ciencias, and by CIMAT (Centro de
InvestigaciÃ³n en MatemÃ¡ticas) in Mexico. The members of the
Scientific Committee are Susan Friedlander (IMU), Â Ilya Zaliapin
(IUGG) and Paul F. Linden (IUTAM).
More details and application form at:
2013 Fields Medal Symposium
September 30 to October 3 at the Fields Institute, Toronto, Canada
in honour of Elon Lindenstrauss, Fields Medal 2010
The Symposium will be centered on the work of Elon Lindenstrauss and its
current and potential impact. Number theory, dynamics and geometry have
had increasingly powerful interactions in recent years, with measure
rigidity at the core. The goals of the Symposium are to bring this area
to a broader audience, and also to present recent developments in
homogeneous dynamics, rigidity and quantum ergodicity that are related
to the work of Lindenstrauss.
The scientific program is aimed at a wide audience, including graduate
students, mathematicians in other research areas, and scientists who use
mathematics an important way.
The Symposium will feature a public opening with lectures by Elon
Lindenstrauss and Peter Sarnak, as well a special program for
high-school and undergraduate students. All events will be broadcast
Abel Prize 2013
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel
Prize for 2013 to Pierre Deligne (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New
He receives the Abel Prize "for seminal contributions to algebraic
geometry and for their transformative impact on number theory,
representation theory, and related fields", to quote the Abel committee.
Pierre Deligne will receive the Abel Prize from H.M. King Harald at an award
ceremony in Oslo on the 21st of May.
For more information about the laureate, his achievements and the Abel Prize,
visit the Abel Prize website www.abelprisen.no/en/
Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE2013)
IMU and UNESCO have been co-hosts of a very successful MPE Day at
UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on March 5 2013. This MPE Day was also
the European launch of MPE2013. The activities of the MPE Day could be
followed live on Internet.
During that day, the MPE Exhibition has been officially launched:
www.mpe2013.org/exhibition, and the winners of the MPE competition
were announced. They are:
- First Prize (USD 5000): "Sphere of the Earth", interactive exhibit,
by the team of Daniel Ramos (Spain)
- Second prize: USD 3000: "Dune Ash", interactive exhibit, by the team
of Tobias Malkmus (Germany).
- Third prize: USD 2000: "How to predict the future of glaciers?",
film by the team of Guillaume Jouvet (France/Switzerland/Germany)
The winning modules were presented on site as well as several other
modules from the MPE exhibition and a traveling MPE exhibition of ten
modules realized in France.
These description of these modules will be added to the website of the
MPE Exhibition and new modules are welcome. French and German versions
of the website are in preparation and some modules already exist in
There is an increasing number of MPE activities in the schools. In
France the week of mathematics in March had the theme of MPE. In April
in the US the Math Awareness Month in on Sustainability with lessons
to bring to the classroom and an impressive list of speakers that can
be invited to speak in the schools. The section on curriculum material
(http://mpe2013.org/curriculum-material/) is expanding and more
resources are posted.
New public lectures are also planned regularly around the world.
The theme of MPE2013 is so timely in our society that there are no
late comers. It is still time to join and organize scientific and
outreach activities related to Mathematics of Planet Earth.
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