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Apply by March 1 for the MAXIMA Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates

The MAXIMA Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), sponsored by the IMA and the Macalester Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, with support from the National Science Foundation, will take place June 18 through July 27, 2012.

This REU is an intensive six-week program on research in interdisciplinary mathematics designed to allow students to experience, first hand, the excitement of conducting research that is relevant to another field. With problems coming from another discipline, the students will learn how to formulate domain-specific questions in mathematical ways.

"In 2012, team projects will include, Pursuit-Evasion Games with Multiple Pursuers, Modeling the Dynamics of Coupled Laser Cavities, and Measuring the Health of Online Communities," said organizer Andrew Beveridge.

According to Beveridge, the concepts for these specific projects were chosen to span a variety of disciplines and mathematical techniques, so the program is appealing to a broad range of students. The projects address open questions in robotics, optics, and human-computer interaction. The mathematical techniques are also quite varied, including computational geometry, differential equations, statistics, and algorithm design.

Student teams will work closely on their projects with three different faculty members with diverse research experience. In addition to performing mathematical research, students will also be immersed in the language of the other disciplines, and they will assimilate the ability to communicate across disciplines. The program will develop domain knowledge, mathematical skills, and expository argumentation. By the end of the summer, each team will produce a written report, an oral presentation, and a poster suitable for national mathematics meetings.

The interdisciplinary nature of this REU is what makes it unique.

"Guided by the underlying philosophy of the IMA, this program connects research mathematics with science and engineering. This applies to both subject matter and personal interaction. Students will work closely with multiple faculty members: university researchers, college professors, and young postdoctoral fellows.  We hope that this early exposure to mathematics in context will be an influential experience," explained Beveridge.

The 2012 program is open to juniors and seniors majoring in mathematics, computer, science, or a related field at a U.S. college or university. (Some spots are open for international students studying in the United States.) Students must also express an interest in pursuing graduate study in mathematics, applied mathematics, or a STEM discipline relates to one of the current projects. Students receive a stipend of about $3,300 and a travel allowance to/from the REU site. Support will also be provided to attend a national mathematics meeting to present the student research. UMN campus housing and meals are provided at no additional cost.

More information and an application are available online.

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