Skip to main content

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 and statistics

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.

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 speakers.

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

A. Announcement
The entire March 28, 2013 issue of Nature is devoted to The Future of Publishing. Some of the topics CEIC has recently discussed are addressed there.

B. ICERM Workshop on Reproducibility in Computational and Experimental Mathematics.
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 computing architectures.

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 implications.
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 generation.

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 generation.

A workshop report that summarizes many of the discussions was recentlyposted on the workshop website:
This site also has a link to a wiki where many additional resources on related topics can be found.

Randall LeVeque,
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.
(see for ICSU Strategic Plan)

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:

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.

ICM 2014

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:
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.
Hyungju Park
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 ( 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 Investigación en Matemáticas) in Mexico. The members of the Scientific Committee are Susan Friedlander (IMU),  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 live online.

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 Jersey, USA).
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

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:, 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 several languages.

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 ( 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.

Subscribing to IMU-Net

There are two ways of subscribing to IMU-Net:

  1. Click here with a Web browser and go to the "Subscribe" button to subscribe to IMU-Net online.
  2. Send an e-mail to with the Subject-line: Subject: subscribe


In both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscription so that misuse will be minimized. IMU will not use the list of IMU-Net emails for any purpose other than sending IMU-Net, and will not make it available to others.

Previous issues can be seen here.