Home /  MSRI-UP 2018: The Mathematics of Data Science


MSRI-UP 2018: The Mathematics of Data Science June 16, 2018 - July 29, 2018
Parent Program: --
Location: SLMath: Baker Board Room
Organizers Federico Ardila (San Francisco State University), Duane Cooper (Morehouse College), LEAD Maria Mercedes Franco (Queensborough Community College (CUNY)), Rebecca Garcia (Colorado College), David Uminsky (University of Chicago), Suzanne Weekes (SIAM - Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics)

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The MSRI Undergraduate Program (MSRI--UP) is a comprehensive summer program designed for undergraduate students who have completed two years of university-level mathematics courses and would like to conduct research in the mathematical sciences.  The main objective of the MSRI-UP is to identify talented students, especially those from underrepresented groups, who are interested in mathematics and make available to them meaningful research opportunities, the necessary skills and knowledge to participate in successful collaborations, and a community of academic peers and mentors who can advise, encourage and support them through a successful graduate program.

The theme of the 2018 MSRI-UP is the Mathematics of Data Science and the research leader is Dr. David Uminsky, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of San Francisco.  The research program will be focused on the core role of (linear) algebra in current research and application areas of Data Science ranging from unsupervised learning, clustering and networks, to algebraic signal processing and feature extraction, to the central role linear algebra plays in deep machine learning.  The project topics will be driven by the areas of interest of the students (environmental, social, economic), limited only by access to relevant data.

Students who have had a linear algebra course and a course in which they have had to write proofs are eligible to apply. Familiarity with Python, R, or Matlab or a programming course will be helpful.

Bibliography (PDF)

MSRI-UP 2018: The Mathematics of Data Science

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General Description

During the summer, each of the 18 student participants will:

  • participate in the mathematics research program under the direction of Prof. David Uminsky of the University of San Francisco, a post-doc and two graduate students
  • complete a research project done in collaboration with other MSRI-UP students
  • give a presentation and write a technical report on his/her research project
  • attend a series of colloquium talks given by leading researches in their fields
  • attend workshops aimed at developing skills and techniques needed for research careers in the mathematical sciences and
  • learn techniques that will maximize a student's likelihood of admissions to graduate programs as well as the likelihood of winning fellowships
  • receive a $3100 stipend, lodging, meals and round trip travel to Berkeley, CA.

After the summer, each student will:

  • have an opportunity to attend a national mathematics or science conference where students will present their research
  • be part of a network of mentors that will provide continuous advice in the long term as the student makes progress in his/her studies
  • be contacted regarding future research opportunities

Application Materials

Applications for MSRI-UP 2018 will be submitted via MathPrograms, which will list the required application materials.  Due to funding restrictions, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply, and the program cannot accept foreign students regardless of funding.  In addition, students who have already graduated or will have graduated with a bachelor's degree by August 31, 2018 are not eligible to apply.  The application period will begin on November 22nd.  Applications submitted by February 15, 2018 will receive full consideration. (Applications submitted after February 15, 2018 but by March 1, 2018 may still be considered in a second round of acceptances.) We expect to begin making offers for participation in late February or early March.

A complete application consists of five items, all of which should be submitted through the MathPrograms website. These items are:

1. Transcripts.
Upload a copy of your transcripts showing courses and grades from all post-secondary institutions that you have attended. Initially, unofficial copies (as long as they are legible) of transcripts are acceptable, though we may request official transcripts upon acceptance to the program. Transcripts should contain Fall 2017 grades.

2. Statement of Interest.
Write a personal statement (300 - 800 words) addressing your interest in mathematics, science, and/or other disciplines, and why you would like to participate in the 2018 MSRI-UP. You may write in any style, but try to address the origins of your interest in mathematics and science, experiences (school-related and other) that have particularly stimulated you, obstacles you have faced along the way, and future educational and career plans and aspirations.  If you are currently attending a two-year institution, provide the name of the four-year institution to which you plan to transfer and the date when you plan to transfer in your statement.

3. List of Mathematics/Science Courses Taken with Grades.
Please list all mathematics and science courses taken, starting with the most recent.  State the Course Number, Course Title, Term Taken, Grade Received, and Institution where you took the course.
Example: MATH 201, Calculus 1, Spring 2015, B+, Carolina Community College 

4. Description of Previous Summer / Research Experiences.
Please list and give a brief description of all mathematics or science research or summer programs (high school or college), if any, in which you have participated. (Students who have not participated in any programs previously are encouraged to apply.)

5. Faculty Reference Letter of Recommendation. 
Please designate one Faculty Reference; this should be someone from whom you have taken a class or with whom you have done independent mathematical or scientific work. The person you identify as the Faculty Reference on the MathPrograms website will be notified to fill out an on-line form and upload a letter of recommendation. Although the person will be notified automatically by email, it is the student's responsibility to make sure the letter is uploaded on time. You may include a second letter if you think it will strengthen your application significantly.

For additional information, please contact the on-site director for the 2018 MSRI-UP.

The directors of MSRI-UP are:

Funding provided by:

Previous Years:

Primary Mathematics Subject Classification
Secondary Mathematics Subject Classification No Secondary AMS MSC
Schedule, Notes/Handouts & Videos
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Jul 27, 2018
09:20 AM - 09:30 AM
  Final Presentations: Opening Remarks
David Uminsky (University of Chicago)
09:30 AM - 10:05 AM
  Hemoglobin Response to Higher Order Gene Interactions – A Spectral Analysis Approach
Rosa Garza (California State University-Monterey Bay), Lillian González Albino (University of Puerto Rico), Sylvia Nwakanma (San Francisco State University)
10:15 AM - 10:50 AM
  A Quantitative Analysis of Exclusionary Discipline Inequities in California K-12 Schools
Nathalie Huerta (California State University Channel Islands), Skylyn Irby (University of Alabama), Cristal Quiñones (Pomona College)
11:00 AM - 11:35 AM
  Classification of Short ECG Readings via Topological Time Series Analysis
Christopher Dunstan (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Esteban Escobar (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona), Luke Trujillo (Harvey Mudd College)
11:45 AM - 01:00 PM
01:00 PM - 01:35 PM
  An Eigenbasis Algorithm for Johnson Graphs
Jackson Abascal (University of Rochester), Amadou Bah (Columbia University), Olivia Vasquez (Central Washington University)
01:45 PM - 02:20 PM
  Statistical Analysis and Geographical Clustering of Los Angeles County Arrests
Cameron Hooper (California State University), Jaron Jackson (Georgia Institute of Technology), Kessiena Ofunrein (Hampton University)
02:30 PM - 03:05 PM
  TActIC: Tanh Activations in Image Classification
Heyley Gatewood (Stetson University), Samuel Hood (Morehouse College), Jonathan Scott (Macalester College)
03:05 PM - 03:15 PM
  Closing Remarks
Maria Mercedes Franco (Queensborough Community College (CUNY))
03:15 PM - 04:00 PM
  Afternoon Tea