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candid image of Po-Shen-Loh teaching at the blackboard

April 08, 2020

Personal Mention

Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences Po-Shen Loh invites you to “Ask Math Anything" in his daily 60-minute live show on YouTube. Every day, Loh gives what he likes to call “mathematician office hours,” amid school closures brought on by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During the shows, Loh interactively answers math questions posted by the audience in the chat and improvises mini-lessons around all different areas of mathematical reasoning. Loh tries to pick out the most mathematically interesting questions that don’t require prerequisite knowledge. He wants the show to welcome anyone who is interested in math. He also doesn’t want the lessons to resemble a math class. “I don’t want to replace teachers,” Loh added. “This is not a math class to teach you math techniques.” Instead he wants viewers to think about math in context. “My goal is to have a freewheeling chat to show how concepts interact in math and how those concepts interact with the real world,” Loh said. Find out more.

Rebecca Taylor and Kate Whitefoot have received NSF Early Career awards to support their research and educational goals.  

portrait of Rebecca TaylorTaylor, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will use the grant to support her research on nanostructures made using an artificially synthesized DNA-mimicking polymer. She will study the structure and formation of these novel nanostructures made using programmable gamma peptide nucleic acid (gammaPNA)-based materials. In particular, she will be studying the effects of different “weaving” patterns, chemical modifications and organic solvent mixtures as she seeks to learn more about peptide nucleic acid self-assembly.

portrait of Kate WhitefootWhitefoot, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and engineering and public policy, studies engineering design and economics to understand product design in the context of markets and regulations. The award will support her research on product differentiation. This work will better understand the optimal variety of product designs under different market and policy conditions. It will also develop computational models to inform product design strategies.

portrait of Ryan TibshiraniRyan Tibshirani, associate professor in the Department of Statistics and Machine Learning Department, has received a  Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) award. Tibshirani joins a multi-institutional team on a project titled "Theoretical Foundations of Deep Learning.” The team will receive $6 million over five years to develop a principled theory of deep learning that is based on rigorous mathematical principles. This project will emphasize mathematical foundations that quantifies the advantages of deep networks over more traditional approaches. “This a truly unique opportunity to work with leaders in fields [other] than my own,” said Tibshirani. “I can already tell from the work we did in putting the proposal together that we will all learn a lot from each other.” The team includes members from the University of Maryland, Texas A&M University, University of Wisconsin, University of California, Los Angeles, and Rice University. Find out more