IMU-Net 75: January 2016
A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Martin Raussen, Aalborg University, Denmark
Editorial: Learning about the Work of the IMU
Before I was elected to the Executive Committee of the IMU at the meeting of the
General Assembly in Korea, I had only experienced the work of the organization
as a participant in international congresses. I've since learned of the many
projects that the IMU is involved with, beyond the challenge of organizing the
next ICM in Rio. The challenge of representing and serving the extremely diverse
national mathematical societies is a daunting one, and members on the staff in
Berlin, not to mention the secretary, Helge Holden, and the president, Shigefumi
Mori, all work tirelessly on our behalf.
I've been particularly impressed with the presence that the IMU maintains in
larger scientific societies, and with the work that the IMU does in supporting
mathematics in developing countries. I was very fortunate to have been educated
at Harvard and Oxford, where I came into contact with some of the leading
mathematicians of our time as a student. With sponsored conferences and travel
grants, we can now make these opportunities available to young mathematicians
around the world. I feel that we have to foster even more international contact
in the years ahead. Mathematics is a universal language, which can bring us
together in fractious times.
One vehicle for contact and information is this newsletter, the IMU-Net. I've
been asked to serve as the liaison from the Executive Committee to our new
editor, Martin Raussen. Fortunately, I've had the chance to work with the
previous liaison, Christiane Rousseau, and the previous editor, Mireille
Chaleyat, for several months to see how the IMU-Net is put together. They have
both done an outstanding job, and all of us who are involved with the IMU owe
them out thanks. I also want to thank Martin, who already is serving as the Vice
President of the European Math Society, for taking on this new editorial task.
Benedict H. Gross
CEIC: Notes and Comments
The CEIC's Global Digital Mathematical Library Working Group (GDML-WG) has been
involved in organizing events encouraging community involvement in progress
toward a GDML. At the January 2016 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Seattle there
was an AMS Special Session on “Mathematical Information in the Digital Age of
Science'' with 11 hours of talks by 18 speakers on a wide range of topics
relevant to the GDML effort. The speakers included 2 Fields Medalists, a
past-President of the IMU, the prover of the Kepler Conjecture and the
discoverers of a new convex pentagonal plane tiling, as well as representatives
of publishing, libraries and technology. The next event involves the GDML-WG
with the Wolfram Foundation and the Fields Institute in a Workshop on the
Semantic Representation of Mathematics to be held February 3-5, 2016 at Fields.
This is intended to begin collaboration toward developing a computable semantic
capture language for mathematics. There will also be a special session of 4
lectures at the upcoming 7ECM in Berlin, July, 2016 (see Item 8 of this
MathJax and MathML
MathJax - beautiful math in all browsers! That's the motto of MathJax, a tool
used to display mathematics on web pages millions of times a day. MathJax is an
that works in all browsers. In 2009, the AMS, Design Science and SIAM formed the
MathJax Consortium to enable Davide Cervone, with the help of Robert Miner at
Science, to design MathJax from the ground up, capitalizing on the extensive
real-world experience gained from Cervone's earlier jsMath. Robert Miner was
co-chair of the W3C Math Working Group that had developed MathML, Mathematics
Markup Language, an XML vocabulary for representing mathematics on the web.
MathML was the first specialist XML vocabulary for a specific subject and now a
full ISO standard.
A problem for MathML has always been that mathematics, and indeed scientific and
technical documents, make up so little of total web traffic. As a result, Web
browser makers have not expended the resources necessary to provide full support
for MathML rendering. They are much more interested by the needs of advertising,
say, for graphics or by inclusion of video or audio. Thus MathJax was first
seen partly as a way to bridge the gap until better native browser
implementations for MathML were available.
speaking, it takes input notation and converts it into an internal form of
MathML; then that internal representation is converted, if the browser has no
direct MathML rendering, into an HTML form styled with CSS and making use of
modern Web font technology since mathematics employs special symbols and many
alphabets; finally the browser's own rendering engine paints the screen. Since
TeX is a fully capable programming language MathJax does not provide an
interpreter for all TeX input, but does support most of the common LaTeX
constructions and even a variety of customizations by users.
MathJax is software that thousands of mathematicians today see writing the
equations on their screen. MathML is a standard that is coherent with other Web
and commercial XML standards. Thus MathML is employed by publishers and
database services, such as MathSciNet and zbMATH or Wolfram Functions and NIST's
DLMF, when they want to represent their equations in a publicly accepted
standard form. MathML offers both markup for the presentation of formulas and
some designed to express the content's semantics for, roughly, school-level
mathematics. A better machinable markup expressing semantic aspects for
mathematics at large, in its various natural levels from informal to fully
formalized, is the concern, for instance, of the workshop mentioned above under
Report by Patrick Ion (University of Michigan, USA)
From August 1st to 9th, 2018, Rio de Janeiro will host the International
Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in its largest and most traditional convention
center: Riocentro, in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood.
Subscription to the Congress Newsletter is now open.
The General Assembly of the IMU will be held in São Paulo, on July 29 – 30,
IMU-CDC: New secretary for policy introduces herself
I teach at the University of Valencia (UV, Spain) where I am Full Professor. My
main research interest is in Geometric Analysis, with particular emphasis in
variational problems involving the volume and the energy functionals.
During four years, 2010-2014, I served as Vice-Rector for International
Relations and Cooperation at the UV. This gave me the opportunity to make
contacts with an important number of universities in Developing Countries, many
of them in the Mediterranean Area and in America.
I have been working for mathematical societies during the past 15 years; in
particular for the Royal Spanish Mathematical Society, as Vice-president from
2004 and as President from October 2006 to October 2009 and also for the
European Mathematical Society, as a member of the Executive Committee
I became aware of the importance of the IMU when the Spanish mathematical
community had been involved in the organization of the ICM06 in Madrid. Later
on, being part of the Spanish Committee for the IMU (as a member from October
2006 and as President from 2008 to 2010) has allowed me to appreciate better the
variety of activities that IMU supports. Now that I have been given the
opportunity of helping the IMU acting as the Secretary for Policy of the CDC, I
am delighted and grateful for this challenging task.
I am enthusiastically joining the Commission and very proud of working together
with this team of experienced colleagues, in particular with its President
Wandera Ogana, and maintaining the very successful programs that you are invited
to follow on the CDC webpage. During the past months, the Commission has been
drawing up a plan for an important new program: the IMU Breakout Graduate
Fellowships. I will write in a future Newsletter about this project that will
hopefully be implemented during 2016.
Secretary for Policy of the CDC
Workshop “Global change impact on diseases and alien species expansion”
The workshop will take place at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
(AIMS), in Cape Town, South Africa on May 2-6 2016. This website accepts
applications. African participants will receive full funding.
This international, interdisciplinary, educational and capacity building
workshop will bring together the two subjects of infectious diseases and
invasive species and the context of climate change, thus allowing sharing the
methods and building partnerships. The workshop will address the whole range of
topics from field-work and collecting of data to the building and validating of
models, to the adjustment of models to take into account the changing
environment and the social characteristics, and to the design and implementation
of strategies to fight infectious diseases and invasive species. Special
emphasis will be put on African diseases and invasive species, as well as the
characteristics of changing environment in Africa.
The workshop planned for 50 participants is mostly aimed to young researchers
and postgraduate students, with a majority coming from Africa.
Organizers: Jacek Banasiak (South Africa) banasiak(at)ukn.ac.za
Christiane Rousseau (Canada) rousseac(at)dms.umontreal.ca
International AAS/AMU Symposium
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) in collaboration with African Mathematical
Union (AMU) and the UNESCO Chair of Mathematics - National Mathematical Centre,
Abuja-Nigeria, will host an International AAS/AMU Symposium at the National
Mathematical Centre, Abuja-Nigeria between May 16-20, 2016 on “Current Research
Trends in the Mathematical Sciences and Applications". For details, please
contact Prof. A. O. Kuku (AAS-President) (aderemikuku(at)yahoo.com) and Prof. ART
Solarin (AMU – President)
V Congreso latinoamericano de matemáticos
The V Congreso latinoamericano de matemáticos under the auspices of Unión
Matemática de América Latina y el Caribe (UMALCA) takes place in the period July
11-15, 2016, at the Universidad del Norte, Barrranquilla, Columbia.
The quadrennial Congress of the European Mathematical Society, 7ECM, will be
held in Berlin, Germany, July 18 - 22, 2016. The program contains ten plenary
Lectures, 31 invited Lectures, several prize lectures, the Hirzebruch Lecture,
the Abel Lecture and much more. 100 grants will be offered to mathematicians
from less developed countries. All abstracts and proposals must be submitted via
the 7ECM registration platform. Early registration ends on 31 March 2016.
The event is preceded by the Council of the European Mathematical Society at
Humboldt University, Berlin, on July 16-17.
Calls from the AMSSI
The African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative has as its mission to
nurture the next generation of African mathematicians and mathematical
leadership. It has open calls for
- The AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize which is to be awarded annually, starting
in 2016, to an African mathematician, living in Africa, who has made outstanding
contribution to mathematics, application of mathematics or promotion of
mathematics, as evidenced by research and its impact. The award comprises a
certificate with a citation on the winner’s scientific achievement as well as a
cash prize of USD 6,000.
- The AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Travel Grant which is to be awarded annually,
starting 2016, to an African mathematician, living in Africa, to enable him or
her visit an international research partner for a period of 1 to 3 months. In
case of matching support from the host institution, the period may be extended
as appropriate. The program is designed to offer the opportunity for research to
mathematicians in the early stages of their professional careers.
Both the prize and the travel grant have been made possible through a grant to
AMMSI by Professor Phillip Griffiths occasioned by his reception of the Chern
Prize in 2014.
- Mentoring African Research in Mathematics (MARM): The London Mathematical
Society (LMS) and the IMU in association with the AMMSI are seeking applications
for grants to support mathematics and its teaching in universities in Africa.
Four mentoring partnerships are to be awarded, each for a duration of two years.
The MARM awards will focus on building infrastructure and networking in
mathematics in Africa.
For more information, nomination and application procedures see this page.
Abel Prize 2016: Announcement
The name of the 2016 Abel Laureate will be announced by the President of the
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on 15 March 2016 at 11 am GMT.
Data in ICSU
We live immersed in a world of data, those we generate ourselves (sometimes
without being aware of it) with our cellphones, credit cards and social
networks, as well as those that arise from research: laboratories, space
missions and observations of every kind. This immense amount of data is only
transformed into useful information when it is filtered and analyzed and its
patterns identified. This is precisely the new paradigm we have christened with
the name of Big Data. We as mathematicians have a whole world at our fingertips
in order to conduct research and produce new algorithms, a field which in the
coming decades can lead to great opportunities of employment for young people.
So science is unable to function without data, which in themselves are an
essential part of the ICSU, the International Council of Science. There are
three committees (in the group known as the Interdisciplinary Bodies), whose aim
is to observe how the different aspects of our world undergo development and
which perhaps are not very well known by the mathematical community. Their task
is very important as regards international, national and regional scientific
policy. These observations of course contribute to the ever-increasing
generation of data.
The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) was created in 1992 with the aim of
providing comprehensive information about the global climate system by
monitoring the climate and the impact of climate change, especially in regard to
the Earth’s ecosystems and sea levels.
The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) was set up in 1993 for the purpose of
observing the state of the oceans and their conditions in order to predict how
they may evolve and to study their effect on climate change.
The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) was created in 1996 with the task
of observing the quality of the Earth, the access to water resources, the loss
of diversity, climate change and the impact of contamination and toxicity.
The GCOS, GOOS and GTOS provide collections of data and promote the development
of international standards and methodologies to ensure a universal and equitable
access to data.
The ICSU completes the circle of the observations with mechanisms designed to
oversee the production, use and integration of the data and information
generated, so that good use is made of them and to ensure that they are
available to all. The institutions charged with this task (some devoted to a
particular scientific domain, others dealing with a broad range of interests for
the whole community) are as follows:
Formed in 2008, the ICSU World Data System (WDS) is the institution belonging to
the ICSU World Data Centres (WDCs) and the ICSU Federation of Astronomical and
Geophysical Data-analysis Services. The WDS is composed of 91 Member
organizations, including 10 Network Members, 4 Partner Members and 18 Associate
The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) was created in 1966
with the responsibility for promoting best practice in the management and use of
Set up in 1992, the International Network for the Availability of Scientific
Publications (INASP) is a network whose aim is to improve access to scientific
information and knowledge as well as promoting its flow across different
countries, especially those in the process of development.
The Scientific Committee on Frequency Allocations for Radio Astronomy and Space
Science (IUCAF) was formed in 1960 for the purpose of studying and coordinating
requirements for the distribution of radio frequencies and for making them known
to the responsible national and international institutions.
Report by Manuel de Leon (Madrid, Spain)
Mireille Chaleyat –Maurel and Wolfgang Dalitz are retiring from IMU
IMU-Net was launched in September 2003 and Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel has been the
editor since the beginning. For more than 12 years, she collected the most
significant news and informations for the world mathematical community. And,
working in team with a member of the Executive Committee, she put together the
content of each issue of IMU-Net. Together with Wolfgang Dalitz, they took care
of assembling and managing the long list of more than 10,000 subscribers to
IMU-Net. Wolfgang Dalitz was sending each issue of IMU-Net.
Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel has been serving IMU for decades.. She was responsible
of the website of the World Mathematical Year 2000 and, together with Minella
Alarcon from Basic and Engineering Sciences at UNESCO, the driving force behind
the exhibition "Experiencing Mathematics", which has circulated in many
countries with the support of UNESCO. More recently, she was the local organizer
of the Mathematics of Planet Earth Day on March 5 2013, which was hosted by IMU
Wolfgang Dalitz has been working for IMU since 1994 when he was involved in the
organization of the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM’98) in Berlin.
Since then, he has performed various functions at IMU, including providing the
technical background and email distribution for IMU-Net.
IMU expresses its warmest thanks to Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel and Wolfgang Dalitz
for years of dedicated service to IMU.
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