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SAMSI Offers Two New Research Programs for 2014–2015

1 November 2014 146 views No Comment

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) has two new programs for 2015–2016. They are Challenges in Computational Neuroscience (CCNS) and Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Forensic Science (Forensics). ASA members who join the programs will have the opportunity to collaborate with people in disciplines such as neurobiology, applied mathematics, and forensic science.


The CCNS program will develop mathematical and statistical methods for neuroscience applications. These will be used to understand the underlying mechanisms that bridge multiple spatial and temporal scales, linking the activity of individual components (e.g., molecular biology, genetics, and neuron networks), and their interactions to the complex dynamic behavior of the brain and nervous system. Brain theory, modeling, and statistics will be essential to turn data into better understanding of the brain. The CCNS program will address the underlying methodological, theoretical, and computational challenges. Probability and statistics, dynamic systems, geometry, and computer science will be combined with respect to theory and in applications.


SAMSI’s program on forensics is focused on strengthening the statistical and applied mathematical bases of forensic science. Forensic science is fundamentally based upon statistical comparisons of the characteristics of a material left at a crime scene to characteristics of a source or suspect. These comparisons are often acknowledged by forensic scientists to be highly subjective. A series of reports by the National Research Council (NRC) has raised deep questions about major forms of forensic evidence and has made a clear case for heeding statistical underpinning for forensic procedures. These include fingerprints, patterns and impressions (footprints and tire tracks), toolmarks and firearms, hair, fibers, documents, paints and coatings, bloodstains, and fire debris. Working groups will focus on statistical issues for pattern evidence, bias, imaging, and quality control for forensics laboratories. Crosscutting challenges are identifying where statistics can have a quick impact and educating mathematical scientists about forensics and forensic scientists about the mathematical sciences.

Financial support is available for visiting researchers to be resident at SAMSI for periods of one month to one year. Postdoctoral positions are available in both programs and give many opportunities for fellows to collaborate with senior-level researchers. Workshops and working groups give many people the opportunity to collaborate with others on research projects and network with their peers.

SAMSI offers workshops to graduate and upper-level undergraduate students who want to learn about the latest research and applications in the statistical and mathematical sciences. All involved researchers will have chances to broaden their interests and skill sets, participate in cutting-edge interdisciplinary projects, and make new connections. New researchers and members of under-represented groups are especially encouraged to participate. 

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