SIAM's Colorado Chapters hold third annual student conference

April 2, 2007

On Saturday, March 3, the SIAM student chapters of Colorado held a regional conference, the SIAM Front Range Applied Mathematics Student Conference, at the University of Colorado, Denver. This is the third year for this conference, which allows undergraduate and graduate students from Front Range schools to showcase their research efforts. Financial support from SIAM helped fund publicity, refreshments, and travel for the conference.

Approximately 60 people, primarily from CU-Boulder, CU-Denver, CU-Colorado Springs, and Colorado State University, attended the day long conference. The 19 student research talks ranged from a statistical analysis of the Progresa social program in Mexico to fluid dynamics and PDEs, to the modeling of wildfires. Each student made a 20 minute presentation followed by a short period for questions. Due to the large number of talks, there were two parallel sessions.

It was a wonderful opportunity for students to present to their peers in a more relaxed setting. Mike Watson, a PhD student from CU-Boulder said "The 2007 Front Range SIAM meeting was a great opportunity to meet graduate students from around the Front Range area. The presentations were informal and low key, which means you can feel comfortable talking about your research, even if you don't have "publishable" results yet. I'll definitely be back next year."

In addition to the student talks, there was a special session with 3 presentations from undergraduate students who had participated in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). The CU-Boulder team of Brandon Booth, Ben Safdi, and Kye Taylor presented "The Ising Model applied to Congressional Redistricting", their solution to Problem A. Lee Rosenberg, Derlin Campbell, and Lydie Van Holland, from CU-Denver, discussed the "Airplane Boarding Model", Problem B. From CU-Colorado Springs, Sanghui Lee, Nathan Schill, and John Villavert gave their solution to Problem C, the Kidney Exchange Problem. All of the students appreciated the opportunity to meet with students from other universities to share their ideas and experiences with the MCM.

The plenary address was given by Leslie Greengard, Professor and Director of the Courant Institute. The title of his talk was "The Nonuniform FFT and Magnetic Resonance Image Reconstruction". It was an excellent talk that gave students some idea of how to extend the FFT to the case of irregular sampling of data points. The presentation skillfully blended intuition with more formal mathematics, to the benefit of the entire audience.

The response of the speakers and attendees was extremely encouraging to the conference organizers. Anne Dougherty, advisor to the undergraduate SIAM chapter at CU-Boulder, commented that it was a great to see the students organize such a successful event for the third time. At the end of the conference, planning had already begun for the 4th student conference, scheduled for March 2008!

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