NSF REU/RET Computational Mathematics for Data Science

The Emory Research Experience for Undergraduates and Teachers site focuses on computational mathematics and its applications in data science. One of our site’s unique features is that undergraduate students and high-school teachers will collaborate on research projects in teams. The program will train approximately twelve undergraduates and four teachers annually in the summers of 2021, 2022, and 2023. Our site will introduce the participants to the mathematical theory and computational tools used in applications ranging from data assimilation to machine learning. Our site emphasizes developing research and professional skills that will increase the participants' ability to understand, conduct, and effectively communicate mathematical research in data science.

The site is organized by Lars Ruthotto and Bree Ettinger and also involve other mentors from the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, including: Joyce Ho, Manuela Manetta, Talea Mayo, James Nagy, Elizabeth Newman, Alessandro Veneziani, Yuanzhe Xi.

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Our site’s research projects are accessible to teachers and undergraduate students with a strong background in Linear Algebra, Vector Calculus, Differential Equations, and elementary programming experience. To help participants learn other project-specific materials, our site includes a comprehensive research training plan. Our activities include professional development, a weekly lunch seminar, and social excursions in Atlanta.

Themes and Timeline

The site’s activities are centered around a six-week research stay at Emory during which teams work on projects under an umbrella theme that differs each year:

  1. Summer 2021: Learning from Images
  2. Summer 2022: Combining Models with Data
  3. Summer 2023: Data Science for Social Justice

This year’s timeline is:

2021 Theme: Learning From Images

The amount of imaging data generated on a single day, let alone a year, exceeds human imagination. With their ability to statistically analyze such large datasets, computational algorithms can enhance our ability to discover patterns. Key advances in image classification, image segmentation, and object recognition have fueled applications like image search and self-driving cars. In the medical realm, computational approaches have led to efficient and accurate diagnostic tools, support of treatment decisions, and accelerated drug discovery.

Our 2021 theme sheds light on the mathematical methods behind the above success stories, and our projects seek to bring similar advances to new applications. Some projects will develop machine learning (ML) approaches for analyzing image datasets, while others will develop partial differential equations (PDE) models for image processing. Our projects include:

Funding Information

Our NSF grant DMS 2051019 supports twelve undergraduate students, who are US citizens or permanent residents and are currently enrolled at a college in the US (including two-year college) and four in-service high-school teachers. Some additional funds may be available to support international students currently enrolled at US colleges. All participants will receive a stipend, housing, and travel support. To find more details and submit your application visit our mathprograms.org application sites for students and teachers.

Emory students that are interested in summer research should read about the Emory Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). Applications for the SURE program are reviewed in the spring semester and interested students should identify and talk to a faculty mentor about their project plan ahead of time. The SURE program allows students to work on their project during the summer at the end of which they will present their progress in a poster symposium. Participants receive a stipend and housing support.

Past Programs

Summer 2019

2019 REU

In the summer of 2019, we hosted a cohort of eight undergraduate students from across the US and Europe. The students were advised by Drs. Veneziani, Xi, Nagy, Ruthotto, and Newman. We provided some boot camps in the beginning, but the main part was the students exploring and working on three projects. Projects were mathematical methods in hemodynamics, efficient estimation methods for log determinants in Gaussian processes, and numerical methods for optimal mass transport. The picture above shows this amazing group of students and should convey how much fun we had. We thank the National Science Foundation and Emory College for providing the financial support to host the students.

Summer 2018

In the summer of 2018, we hosted a small group of four students from Emory, UC Merced, and U Houston. The students were advised by Dr. Ruthotto and working on new applications of deep neural networks in classification and inverse problems. This productive summer has led to two Honors theses.