Workshop on Mathematical Challenges for Sustainability

  • Start Date: 11/15/2010
  • End Date: 11/17/2010

DIMACS Center, CoRE Building, Rutgers University


The project is a joint activity of six mathematical sciences research institutes, four in the US and two in Canada, namely IPAM (Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics), NIMBios (National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis), SAMSI (Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute) and DIMACS (the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science) in the US and CRM (Centre de Recherches Mathematiques) and PIMS (Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences) in Canada.


Workshop Program:


Our workshop will not be organized in the usual way, with lectures, panels, etc. Instead, we are asking leaders in the mathematical sciences community and scientists working in substantive areas that are amenable to mathematical analysis to prepare white papers in advance that will be read by all the participants (participants to be chosen by invitation). There will be four topics for white papers:

  • Theme 1: Human Well-being and the Natural Environment
  • Theme 2: Human-Environment Systems as Complex Adaptive Systems
  • Theme 3: Measuring and Monitoring Progress toward
  • Theme 4: Managing Human-Environment Systems for Sustainability


In addition to these four themes, we anticipate that two areas of emphasis will contribute toward organization of the meeting: mathematical areas of emphasis (like large data sets, statistical methods, dynamic models, computational methods) and scientific/societal areas of emphasis (like climate change, energy efficiency, food supply, clean water for drinking and agriculture, diverse and sustainable natural environments, healthy economic systems). A key facet of the workshop will be its focus on the mathematical areas of emphasis and their interplay with the scientific/societal areas of emphasis.


At the workshop, focus groups in each topic will meet and develop agendas for future research. A member of each focus group will be asked to write up the discussions and also present them to the entire workshop in a plenary session. We expect to produce a report that will be given widespread circulation both to NSF and to the mathematical sciences community.


Alejandro Adem, Pacific Institute for the Mathematical
Sciences (PIMS)

Russell Caflisch, Institute for Pure and Applied
Mathematics (IPAM)

Lou Gross, National Institute for Mathematical and
Biological Synthesis (NIMBios)

Iain Johnston, Chair of MPS Advisory Committee to NSF

Simon Levin, coAuthor of Toward a Science of

Fred Roberts, the Center for Discrete Mathematics and
Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS)

Christiane Rousseau, Centre de Recherches
Mathematique (CRM) and Chair of program Mathematics of Planet Earth, a joint program of 14 North American mathematical sciences institutes)

Richard Smith, Statistical and Applied Mathematical
Sciences Institute (SAMSI)

Other Information: 

For further information, please visit their official website at


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