Promotion to Full Professor:
Dr. Sung Ha Kang works in applied mathematics, specifically in variational approaches to image processing, with various applications such as image denoising, debarring, imaging through turbulence, curvature based models, image segmentation and optimization. Following a PhD in Applied Mathematics from UCLA, she held an Assistant Professorship at University of Kentucky. In 2008 she joined Georgia Tech, where her research has been supported through NSF, the Simons Foundation, and the CoS Cullen-Peck Award. She has supervised 16 undergraduates, 2 PhDs, and 3 postdocs, and has held leadership roles in the GT-Math and Applications Portal and the Computational Science and Engineering program.
Promotions to Associate Professor
Dr. Michael Damron’s research is in probability theory and mathematical statistical mechanics, specifically in the areas of percolation, random growth models, spin systems, and symbolic dynamics. Following his Ph.D. at the Courant Institute at NYU, he held postdoctoral and instructor appointments at Princeton, and was an Assistant Professor at Indiana University. In 2015, he joined Georgia Tech, where his research has been supported through NSF grants, including an NSF CAREER grant, and the LexisNexis Dean’s award of GT. He has supervised 8 undergrads, 2 Ph.D. students, and 2 postdocs.
Dr. Josephine Yu's research is in combinatorics and computational algebraic geometry. In particular she studies how discrete properties of a system of polynomial equations determine geometric or topological properties of the solution set. Her recent work has applications in economics and causality. Following a PhD in mathematics from UC Berkeley, Dr. Yu held a Clay Math Institute Liftoff Fellowship and an NSF postdoctoral research fellowship and an instructorship at MIT. In 2010 she joined Georgia Tech, where her research has been continuously funded by NSF. She has supervised eleven undergrads and two PhD students at Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech’s School of Mathematics is set to play an important role in the rapidly expanding field of data science, thanks to a National Science Foundation initiative that will fund foundational research and educational training on campus.
The new institute, the Transdisciplinary Research Institute for Advancing Data Science (TRIAD), is one of 12 national data science projects to receive $17.7 million in NSF funds, the agency recently announced. The School of Mathematics is one of six Tech schools taking part in TRIAD, which will receive $1.5 million of the NSF funding.
“The successful funding of the TRIAD partnership between the Colleges of Science, Computing, and Engineering recognizes Georgia Tech as a leader in the foundations of data science,” says School of Mathematics Professor and Chair Rachel Kuske. “We welcome the opportunities and challenges that come with this recognition. TRIAD will be an important base as our leadership in the mathematical and quantitative sciences continues to expand, addressing both fundamental and applied questions.”
Other schools participating in TRIAD are the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Computational Science and Engineering, and the School of Computer Science.
The rise of technology in everyday life has come with an increase in raw data generated by an ever-expanding number of connected devices. Media outlets are calling this information explosion “big data.” Companies, organizations, and governments are now on the hunt to find better ways of analyzing and modeling big data, with potential benefits for business, science, education, and law enforcement.
The NSF initiative Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) hopes to leverage academic expertise in mathematics, statistics, and theoretical computer science. In Phase I of TRIPODS, the NSF put out a call to support the development of small collaborative institutes. Georgia Tech responded with TRIAD, which will be operate alongside the recently launched Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS). Xiaoming Huo, professor in the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, will be TRIAD’S executive director; Prasad Tetali, professor in the School of Mathematics with a joint appointment in the School of Computer Science, will serve as co-principal investigator.
“The emphasis on theoretical foundations of data science offers a great opportunity for mathematicians to actively engage with other scientists and help make breakthroughs in this fast-growing interdisciplinary field,” says Tetali. “Our team also recognizes the importance of being the only team, out of the dozen winners of Phase I, to have been selected from the Southeast,” he added.
Faculty from the College of Sciences with expertise in algebraic and convex geometry, applied dynamics, computational and numerical methods, discrete mathematics, quantitative and computational biology, high-dimensional probability, and statistical inference will provide research for TRIAD. Faculty members include School of Biological Sciences Professor Joshua Weitz and School of Mathematics professors Leonid Bunimovich, Sung Ha Kang, Vladimir Koltchinskii, Rachel Kuske, Anton Leykin, Galyna Livshyts, Ionel Popescu and Mayya Zhilova.
Congratulations go to Vladimir Koltchinskii, who is an invidted speaker in Probability and Statistics for the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2018.
As the ICM is one of the world's premier forums for presenting and discussing new discoveries in mathematics, an invitation to speak at the ICM is a major honor.
Since 1897, the ICM has helped to shape the directions and history of mathematics. For more information and the complete list of speakers, please see: http://www.icm2018.org/portal/en/icm-speakers
All students interested in graduate studies in the School of Math are invited to attend our Prospective Student Day which will be held on Friday, September 22, 2017 from 2pm to 5pm in Skiles 006. Students from underrepresented groups and from the Atlanta area or Georgia are particularly encouraged to attend.
Ryan Hynd is this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Faculty professor, hosted by Professor Tobias Colding at the MIT. Ryan completed his MSc in mathematics at Georgia Tech in 2004, and recieved his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2010, studying under Lawrence Evans.
Ryan is currently an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was appointed an NSF postdoctoral fellow at the Courant Mathematics Institute, NYU, from 2010 to 2012, and jointed the U-Penn faculty in 2012.
Ryan is an analyst whose borad research program includes the study of PDE methods in control theory, finance, and fluid mechanics. At MIT, he is working on three projects: existence of solutions of the multidimensional sticky particle system, partial regularity of doubly nonlinear parabolic systems, and the asymptotic behavior of Trudinger's equation.
Ryan has served at MIT on the department's Diversity Committee during the year. Given his experience on diversity issues at U-Penn, he has advised them on their outreach mentoring practices for URM and women students, pertaining to MIT majors and prospective majors.
Ryan taught an alaysis undergraduate seminar subject last fall, and just completed co-instructing a Projects Lab subject in the spring.
The College of Sciences feted new colleagues joining in the 2017-18 academic year at a summer dinner on Sept. 6. Dean and Sutherland Chair Paul M. Goldbart and Jenny Singleton, associate chair and professor in the School of Psychology, hosted the celebration, which also recognized recipients of 2017 College of Sciences awards.
“It is invigorating to start the school year by warmly welcoming new colleagues into our scholarly community and celebrating our outstanding teachers, researchers, and mentors,” Goldbart said.
One program director, one professor of practice, eight assistant professors, two associate professors, and three professors joined the college in the 2017-18 academic year. Three of them – Felix Herrmann, Gregory Sawicki, and Carlos Silva – have joint appointments in other Georgia Tech units.
The Schools of Biological Sciences and of Chemistry and Biochemistry welcomed the most number of new colleagues in the 2017-18 academic year – four each.
The Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) recruited Casey Bethel, Georgia’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, to coordinate campus communications.
The following individuals joined the college in the 2017-18 academic year:
- Vinayak Agarwal, assistant professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Casey Bethel, program director, CEISMC
- Thackery Brown, assistant professor, School of Psychology
- Stephen Diggle, associate professor, School of Biological Sciences
- Albert Fathi, professor of practice, School of Mathematics
- Neha Garg, assistant professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Zachary Handlos, academic professional, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
- Felix Herrmann, professor, joint appointment, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and School of Computational Science and Engineering.
- Wenjing Liao, assistant professor, School of Mathematics
- Jesse McDaniel, assistant professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- D. Zeb Rocklin, assistant professor, School of Physics
- Gregory Sawicki, associate professor, joint appointment, School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Biological Sciences
- Carlos Silva, professor, joint appointment, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and School of Physics
- Alberto Stolfi, assistant professor, School of Biological Sciences
- Marvin Whiteley, professor and Bennie H. & Nelson D. Abell Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Biology, School of Biological Sciences
Also celebrated as new colleagues were Rachel Kuske and Jenny McGuire. Kuske is a professor in and the chair of the School of Mathematics. She joined the College of Sciences on Jan. 3, 2017. McGuire previously held the position of Research Scientist II in the School of Biological Sciences. She is now assistant professor, tenure track, with joint appointment in the Schools of Biological Sciences and of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
Also at the 2017 summer dinner, nine faculty members were named recipients of 2017 faculty awards.
School of Mathematics Professors John Etnyre and Ronghua Pan, with School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Associate Professor Raquel Lieberman, received the 2017 College of Sciences Faculty Mentor Awards. They were recognized for sharing their experience, providing advice and encouragement, and helping the next generation of faculty succeed.
The college selected School of Physics Professor and Chair Pablo Laguna for the 2017 Ralph and Jewel Gretzinger Moving Forward School Award. The award praises leadership of a school chair or senior faculty member who has played a pivotal role in diversifying faculty, creating a family-friendly work environment, or providing a supportive environment for junior faculty. Laguna was commended for driving equity and inclusion and for mentoring of groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The award is supported by an endowment fund from School of Mathematics alumnus Ralph Gretzinger.
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professors Chris Reinhard and Britney Schmidt received the 2017 Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award salutes exemplary teaching of a foundational class by junior faculty. In particular, Reinhard and Schmidt were commended for “their imaginative and effective redevelopment” of EAS 1601, How to Build a Habitable Planet. Their work has inspired teaching assistants, excited students, and raised enrolment. The award is supported by an endowment fund from School of Mathematics alumnus Charles Crawford.
School of Physics Assistant Professor James “JC” Gumbart, School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor Brian Hammer, and School of Mathematics Associate Professor Anton Leykin were recognized with 2017 Cullen-Peck Fellowship Awards. The awards recognize innovative research led by faculty who are at the associate professor or advanced assistant professor level. They are made possible by a gift from School of Mathematics and School of Industrial and Systems Engineering alumni Frank Cullen and Libby Peck. The awards applaud outstanding research in computational biophysics (Gumbart), in the biology of competition and cooperation in bacterial systems (Hammer), and in applied and computational algebraic geometry (Leykin).
“We are proud to have so many exceptional faculty members,” Goldbart said. “I am especially grateful for the generosity of our thoughtful alumni, whose gifts enable our colleagues to achieve the highest level of success in their teaching, research, and service.”
Congratulations to Prasad for this very well-deserved honor!
Price received his B.S. in mathematics from Duke in 1952. Back then, mathematicians didn’t have a lot of options when it came to making money. “My career counselors at Duke told me that my best bet was to become an accountant,” he says. “That didn’t appeal to me.”
What did fire his imagination was finding a way to merge his love of numbers with his rapidly growing interest in computer science, then a nascent discipline.
Powering Up the Computing Industry
Price kept looking for that chance, and Georgia Tech gave it to him in 1956. That’s when Price, freshly married and with a baby on the way, was hired as a programmer at what would eventually be known as the Rich Electronic Computer Center. He also started studies for an M.S. in mathematics, which he received in 1958.
Working and studying at Georgia Tech allowed Price to position himself at the beginnings of the U.S. computer industry because of the job he took at Control Data Corporation (CDC). Starting as a staff mathematician in 1961, he was chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) before retiring in 1990. During his tenure, Price saw CDC and a handful of others, including IBM, General Electric, UNIVAC, and Honeywell, build the market for supercomputers.
At the same time, Price was building CDC’s business model and strategy, expanding his company’s offerings beyond machines and software to services based on computers and into international markets. The lessons he learned while researching at Tech – team building, collaboration – helped him guide his company to new heights.
Collaboration Is Key
“Executive management is, at its root, nothing more than solving problems and learning how to talk to people, to work with people,” Price says. “The only way a startup like Control Data was going to make significant progress was through collaboration, with competitors and customers,” he says. “That wasn’t the normal way that businesses – or for that matter universities – operated in those days. But the problems I was working on begged for a collaborative effort. Georgia Tech has always been a leader in interdisciplinary teams, and it still is today.”
The Tech students of 2017, raised on laptops, smartphones, and ubiquitous wireless networks, may have to fire their own imaginations to picture the state of technology in the 1960s: room-sized computers with bulky rotating magnetic drums for data storage and no special programming languages to run the machines.
The widely acknowledged father of supercomputing, Seymour Cray, worked at CDC during Price’s time. Price says others at CDC were just as brilliant as Cray. “It was absolute fun to go to work every day because of some of the most innovative, fun people to work with that I have ever known. They were bright people, but not one-dimensional.”
Price has other ways to pass along the lessons he’s learned from Georgia Tech and CDC. In 1985 he founded the National Center for Social Entrepreneurs, which helps startup companies in the nonprofit sector. Price also exercises his interest in growing technology companies as president and CEO of PSV Inc., which provides small businesses with investment, human resources, and strategy services.
Price has spent a lot of time in the classroom since establishing himself in the business world. He has taught at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and at the Pratt School of Engineering. Price has been a guest lecturer at Cornell University, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He sits on the Georgia Tech College of Sciences Advisory Board.
Advice for Tech Students
Price has seen technology companies transform the business and entertainment worlds, and he realizes the enormous potential for more change, thanks to technologies like the Internet of Things. As befitting someone who wrote a book called The Eye for Innovation (Yale Press, 2005), Price encourages students of science and engineering to make sure they know the difference between invention and innovation.
“Innovation is solving a problem, meeting a need in a better way,” he says. “Invention is inventing some algorithm or device, and if you don’t know what the hell the problem is, or what the device is good for, you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to apply your invention.”
He counsels students to make sure they chase their life’s passion, not just future paychecks. “I would tell them to find something in life that really intrigues them, whether it’s manual labor, digging a ditch, or solving equations of fluid dynamics – whatever it is that is fun for you. If you don’t really feel it’s all worthwhile, that it’s fun, then you’re lost from day one.”