IMU-Net 75: January 2016

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union

Editor: Martin Raussen, Aalborg University, Denmark

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

GDML-WG activity

The CEIC'sGlobal Digital Mathematical LibraryWorking 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

Newsletter).

MathJax and MathML- beautiful math in all browsers! That's the motto of MathJax, a tool

MathJax

used to display mathematics on web pages millions of times a day. MathJax is an

open-source JavaScript display engine for LaTeX, MathML, and AsciiMath notation

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

Design

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.

MathJax software is a tour de force of programming in JavaScript. Roughly

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

GDML-WG Activity.

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,

2018.

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

(2005-2008).

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.

Olga Gil-Medrano

Secretary for Policy of the CDC

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

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. For details, please

Trends in the Mathematical Sciences and Applications"

contact Prof. A. O. Kuku (AAS-President) (aderemikuku(at)yahoo.com) and Prof. ART

Solarin (AMU – President)

(asolarin2002(at)yahoo.com).

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.

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.

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.

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.

TheGlobal 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.

TheGlobal 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.

TheGlobal 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

theICSU 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

Members.

TheCommittee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA)was created in 1966

with the responsibility for promoting best practice in the management and use of

scientific data.

Set up in 1992, theInternational Network for the Availability of Scientificis a network whose aim is to improve access to scientific

Publications (INASP)

information and knowledge as well as promoting its flow across different

countries, especially those in the process of development.

TheScientific Committee on Frequency Allocations for Radio Astronomy and Spacewas formed in 1960 for the purpose of studying and coordinating

Science (IUCAF)

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)

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

at UNESCO.

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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