University of Minnesota math institute receives $20.5 million NSF grant
The University of Minnesota’s Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) has been awarded a $20.5-million National Science Foundation (NSF) renewal grant over the next five years. The renewal grant continues the IMA’s tradition as one of the nation’s top math institutes in terms of funding.
The IMA, which is part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, is one of the world’s premier mathematics institutes bringing the world’s best mathematicians together with the best minds from other scientific and technological disciplines. The teams of researchers search for math-based answers to some of humanity’s most challenging problems.
During the past three decades, the institute’s programs have sparked entirely new fields of scientific research — such as the mathematics of materials science — and greatly nourished the growth of many existing fields of research, ranging from mathematical biology to algebraic statistics. The IMA’s collaboration with industry has led to new technologies such as improved cardiac ablation therapy and optimization methods for airplane design.
“This grant — which will support our programs for the next five years — is a strong endorsement of the IMA by the National Science Foundation and the mathematics community,” says IMA Director Fadil Santosa. “The IMA is the leading institution in the country that brings together cutting-edge mathematics with other scientific disciplines to tackle real world problems in industry, technology and society.”
Each year the IMA selects a specific research field and brings more than 1,000 visitors to the University of Minnesota campus to address the most significant problems in that field of research. Visitors include workshop participants, lecturers, and others who may work at the institute for as long as a year. Past areas of focus have included molecular biology, applications of algebraic geometry and imaging. In 2010-11, the IMA’s area of focus will be computational mathematics applied to simulation science and engineering.
Visitors to the IMA have developed breakthroughs in everything from neuroscience and biomedical imaging to production line optimization. Recent advances include a new algorithm that greatly reduces the amount of exposure to X-rays for patients who need CT scans and a new control theory that opens the door to building automatic, real-time safety systems capable of bringing automobiles out of a four-wheel skid on an icy highway and saving lives.
“We are proud that our IMA has become a preeminent mathematics institute that is a model for other institutions worldwide,” said Steven L. Crouch, dean of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. “The IMA’s research and outreach programs highlight the key role that mathematics plays in solving problems in many areas of science and engineering.”
The IMA also operates a prestigious postdoctoral program that attracts some of the world’s most promising young mathematicians to campus for the opportunity to work and study with the world’s best and brightest mathematical minds. Many have gone on to become research leaders at major universities or attain important positions in industry.
“Renewed, strong support of the IMA at the University of Minnesota enables us to continue to cultivate interdisciplinary excellence in mathematics and its applications,” says University of Minnesota president Robert Bruininks. “For nearly 30 years, this institute has been a center of academic strength and comparative advantage for the university and an essential component of our goal to be one of the top public research universities in the world. This funding assures it will remain so for the foreseeable future.”