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WSU and PNNL to host joint seminar series to foster research collaboration

Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will kick off the Discuss, Discourse, Disseminate with Data (D4) joint seminar series at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 1 via Teams.

Jan Dasgupta.

Chris Keane, vice president for research and vice chancellor for research at WSU, and Mike Wolcott, associate vice president for National Laboratory Partnerships, will introduce the session along with Nairanjana (Jan) Dasgupta, director of Data Analytics and Data Science Fellow. She will briefly share some highlights about the field of data science.

Bala Krishnamoorthy.
Daryl DeFord.

The series will continue through the spring 2022 semester on the second and fourth Wednesday every month at noon, ending in mid-June with a WSU-hosted Data Science Day. The series will feature Bala Krishnamoorthy, professor in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Sutanay Choudhury, computer scientist at PNNL, Assefaw Gebremedhin, associate professor in the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Chris Oehmen, computer science in the Biological Sciences Division at PNNL, Daryl Deford assistant professor of data analytics in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics and Statistics at WSU, William Cannon, multiscale modeling and UQ computational scientist at PNNL, Xiongzhi Chen, assistant professor in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Eric Lofgren, assistant professor in the WSU Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health

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WSU Insider


Can math make redistricting more fair?

Just before midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 28, an independent, bipartisan commission voted to approve a new map for Colorado’s congressional districts––dividing the state into eight territories with roughly equal populations.

Colorado, like every other state in the union, undergoes the process of reshaping its local and national voting districts every 10 years. You could fill a picture book with the convoluted, sometimes cartoonish shapes these regions take. Ohio’s fourth congressional district, for example, looks like a bit like duck, or maybe a dragon. Then there’s Illinois’ fourth, which political commentators often compare to earmuffs.

A team of mathematician has released reports analyzing Colorado’s redistricting processes that suggest these maps don’t seem to give any political party an unfair advantage in the state’s elections––at least for now.

Daryl DeFord.

Coauthors on the new analyses include mathematics professor Daryl DeFord of Washington State University.

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New NSF grant to increase math teacher diversity

A four-year, $1.12 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help Washington State University recruit and retain quality mathematics teachers from historically marginalized groups.

William Hall.

The project is being led by Tariq Akmal, director of teacher education in the College of Education and chair of the college’s Department of Teaching and Learning. He is being aided by co-investigators Kristin Lesseig, an associate professor of mathematics education at WSU Vancouver, also in the College of Education, and William Hall, an assistant professor of mathematics education in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Hall, who was a Noyce scholar himself during graduate school, said high school math teachers can have a tremendous impact on how students learn to think and reason quantitatively, and that includes matters of civics, social justice, and fairness.

“It is not always clear that you can be passionate about those ideas and use a career in teaching high school mathematics to explore them further and serve your community at the same time,” Hall said.

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WSU Insider

Electron microscopy in the age of automation

“Many of the greatest challenges of our time, from clean energy to environmental justice, require new approaches to the craft of scientific experimentation. This is exceedingly apparent in the field of electron microscopy. As researchers utilize this powerful window to peer into the atomic machinery behind today’s technologies, they are increasingly inundated with data and constrained by traditional operating models. We must leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning in our scientific instruments if we are to unlock breakthrough discoveries,” says Steven R. Spurgeon, a materials scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and international expert in the study of nanomaterials using electron microscopy.

Kevin Fiedler.

To bring the microscopy platform to life, Spurgeon assembled a team from inside and outside PNNL, including Kevin Fiedler, a mathematician from Washington State University. Fielder partnered with a computer scientist to designed an architecture to process and analyze incoming images to enable large-area montaging and stage feedback.

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Pathogenic Invasions: Changing Community Networks Impact Disease Spread

xueying snow wang.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the importance of understanding precisely how diseases spread throughout networks of transportation. However, rigorously determining the connection between disease risk and changing networks — which either humans or the environment may alter — is challenging due to the complexity of these systems. In a paper publishing today (Thursday, June 10, 2021) in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, Stephen Kirkland (University of Manitoba), Zhisheng Shuai (University of Central Florida), P. van den Driessche (University of Victoria), and Xueying Wang, associate professor of mathematics (Washington State University) study the way in which changes in a network of multiple interconnected communities impact the ensuing spread of disease. The four researchers were hosted as a Structured Quartet Research Ensemble by the American Institute of Mathematics.

The authors utilized their results to explore possible strategies for controlling disease outbreaks by introducing new connections on a network or changing the strength of existing connections. “Our findings from both the star and the path networks highlight that the placement of the hot spot and the connections among patches are crucial in determining the optimal strategy for reducing the risk of an infection,” Wang said. The researchers’ techniques quantified the effectiveness of different approaches in controlling invasibility and found the mathematical conditions under which it is best to change the amount of movement between certain locations.

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