The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute has won a competitive five-year grant from the National Science Foundation for continued work in math and statistics research and education.

Known as SAMSI, the Triangle-based group won the funding through a competitive process.

The NSF has supported SAMSI since its launch 10 years ago. The new grant means NSF has committed $35 million to the center.

Duke, N.C. State and Chapel Hill  along with the National Institute of Statistical Sciences and the William Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science are partners in SAMSI. It is one of eight mathematical institutes supported by the NSF but the only one dealing with statistics and applied mathematics. 

“ The renewal of our funding is a tribute to the incredible commitment to SAMSI by the whole community – our partner institutions, the national leadership in statistics and applied mathematics, everyone who has served  SAMSI as a directorate member or program leader, and more broadly all the people who have visited SAMSI and participated in our research over the years,” said Richard Smith, the director of SAMSI.

SAMSI is gearing up for its next program, which will focus on data-driven decisions in healthcare, which begins this week. A program on “massive data” begins on Sept. 9, and some 180 people from around the world will be participating in the workshop, according to SAMSI spokesperson Jamie Nunnelly.

Following the workshop, participants will be collaborating online over coming months on the project, including weekly meetings via the web.

Earlier this month, SAMSI hosted a program on Computational Advertising.

Some six people work full-time and as many as eight are part-time at SAMSI, according to Nunnelly.

Each year, scores of students, postdoctoral fellows and others participate in SAMSI programs.

Future programs include Computational Methods in the Social Sciences and Low Dimensional Structure in High-Dimensional Systems as well as a summer program on Neuroimaging Data Analysis.

NSF Praise

In awarding SAMSI the grant, the NSF noted:

“The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) is a national institute that merges statistical and mathematical thinking to create high impact theory and methodology for fundamental scientific and societal problems. It does so by catalyzing and nurturing collaborations both among its core disciplines — statistics, probability, and applied mathematics — and between those disciplines and the physical, social, and engineering sciences, as well as other quantitative disciplines such as computer science and operations research. SAMSI engages researchers at all career stages, from graduate students to postdoctoral fellows to senior international leaders, who take away from SAMSI expanded modes of thought, new vision and energy, and momentum enabling collaborations initiated there to persist. The spectrum of SAMSI’s programs over the period 2012-17 responds to national needs, impetus from the statistics and mathematics community, and scientific opportunities with potential high impact. Programs address massive datasets in contexts such as astrophysics and the environment, data-driven decisions in healthcare, identification of structure in high-dimensional data, and computational modeling in the social sciences, as well as other topics to be identified. A broad range of education and outreach activities, focused especially on undergraduates, faculty in teaching institutions, and under-represented minorities, builds greater public awareness of the importance and achievements of the mathematical sciences.

“SAMSI is a national institute that exists to advance science and society by catalyzing and supporting collaborations among statisticians, applied mathematicians, and researchers in the natural and social sciences. Its goal is to tackle the most challenging and far-reaching data-driven problems, as exemplified by its forthcoming programs on such topics as massive datasets in astrophysics and the environment, data-driven decisions in healthcare, identifying structure in high-dimensional data, and computational modeling in the social sciences. SAMSI operates by bringing together researchers at all levels — students, postdoctoral fellows, and senior leaders — into teams that both make substantial progress within SAMSI programs and form the basis of future collaborations. It stimulates people at all stages of their careers to think differently about the roles and power of applied mathematics and statistics in concert with one another. A vibrant education and outreach program uses SAMSI research to present the importance and achievements of the mathematical sciences to undergraduates, professors at teaching colleges, and the general public. SAMSI activities are permeated by efforts to increase the participation of under-represented minorities in mathematics, statistics, and the sciences.”