Organizing Committee

Modern data analysis presents a variety of challenges, including the size, the dimensionality, the complexity, and the multiple-modality of the data. In an attempt to keep pace with these growing challenges, data scientists combine tools inspired from mathematics, from computer science, and from statistics. This TRIPODS Summer Bootcamp will provide attendees a hands-on introduction to emerging techniques for using topology with machine learning for the purpose of data analysis.

Topological and machine learning techniques potentially play complimentary roles for analyzing data. In topological data analysis, one leverages the fact that the shape of the data often reflects important and interpretable patterns within, although topological techniques alone typically cannot match the predictive power of machine learning. By contrast, machine learning algorithms provide state-of-the-art accuracies on predictive tasks, but the manner by which they arrive at a prediction is often difficult to interpret. Machine learning would benefit if one could use mathematics to provide more interpretability, even in exchange for reduced predictive power. There are by now a variety of ways to combine topology with machine learning, and the diversity of such approaches is growing. The goal of the TRIPODS Summer Bootcamp is to expose attendees to current tools combining topology and machine learning. The bootcamp will focus not only the successes of such algorithms but also on their inherent challenges, in order to inspire the development of novel approaches.

The bootcamp will consist of a hands-on tutorial during days 1-3, and a research conference during days 4-5.

Days 1-3: Introductory tutorial on applied topology and machine learning

The first three days of the bootcamp will include an introductory tutorial on applied topology, on machine learning, and on the marriage between the two. The featured topic from applied topology will be persistent homology, and the featured topic from machine learning will be classical algorithms such as clustering, support vector machines (SVM), and random forests. Finally, featured topics for combining persistent homology with machine learning will include the bottleneck or Wasserstein distances, persistence landscapes, and persistence images. The tutorial will emphasize hands-on coding exercises with real data. Participants will compare the performance and interpretability of standard algorithms on a variety of machine learning tasks, and they will also create and test variants of their own invention.

Days 4-5: Research conference on topology and machine learning

The final two days of the bootcamp will feature a research conference on current trends in topology and machine learning. The conference will be targeted at a more expert audience not necessarily present at the preparatory bootcamp tutorials during the first three days.

Confirmed Speakers & Participants

Application Information

ICERM welcomes applications from faculty, postdocs, graduate students, industry scientists, and other researchers who wish to participate in the topical workshops. Some funding may be available for travel and lodging. Graduate students who apply must have their advisor submit a statement of support in order to be considered.

Applications are not currently open. Please check back at a later date.

The application deadline for this program is July 5th.

Your Visit to ICERM

ICERM Facilities
ICERM is located on the 10th & 11th floors of 121 South Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island. ICERM's business hours are 8:00am - 4:00pm during this event. See our facilities page for more info about ICERM and Brown's available facilities.
Traveling to ICERM
ICERM is located at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Providence's T.F. Green Airport (15 minutes south) and Boston's Logan Airport (1 hour north) are the closest airports. Providence is also on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. In-depth directions and transportation information are available on our travel page.
ICERM's special rate is not yet available at the Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown (our preferred hotel). In addition, ICERM regularly works with two additional area hotels for short visits. The Providence Biltmore and Hilton Garden Inn both have discounted rates available. Contact before booking.
The only way ICERM participants should book a room is through the hotel reservation links located on this page or through links emailed to them from an ICERM email address ( ICERM never works with any conference booking vendors and never collects credit card information.
Those traveling with family who are interested in information about childcare and/or schools should contact
Technology Resources
Wireless internet access ("Brown-Guest") and wireless printing is available for all ICERM visitors. Eduroam is available for members of participating institutions. Thin clients in all offices and common areas provide open access to a web browser, SSH terminal, and printing capability. See our Technology Resources page for setup instructions and to learn about all available technology.
Discrimination and Harassment Policy
ICERM is committed to creating a safe, professional, and welcoming environment that benefits from the diversity and experiences of all its participants. The Brown University "Discrimination and Workplace Harassment Policy" applies to all ICERM participants and staff. Participants with concerns or requests for assistance on a discrimination or harassment issue should contact the ICERM Director, who is the responsible employee at ICERM under this policy.
Exploring Providence
Providence's world-renowned culinary scene provides ample options for lunch and dinner. Neighborhoods near campus, including College Hill Historic District, have many local attractions. Check out the map on our Explore Providence page to see what's near ICERM.

Visa Information

Contact for assistance.

B-1 or Visa Waiver Business (WB)
Not Reimbursable
B-2 or Visa Waiver Tourist (WT)
Already in the US?

F-1 and J-1 not sponsored by ICERM: need to obtain a letter approving reimbursement from the International Office of your home institution PRIOR to travel.

H-1B holders do not need letter of approval.

All other visas: alert ICERM staff immediately about your situation.

Financial Support

Acceptable Costs
  • 1 roundtrip between your home institute and ICERM
  • Flights on U.S. or E.U. airlines – economy class to either Providence airport (PVD) or Boston airport (BOS)
  • Ground Transportation to and from airports and ICERM.
Unacceptable Costs
  • Flights on non-U.S. or non-E.U. airlines
  • Seats in economy plus, business class, or first class
  • Change ticket fees of any kind
  • Multi-use bus passes
  • Meals or incidentals
Advance Approval Required
  • Personal car travel to ICERM from outside New England
  • Multiple-destination plane ticket; does not include layovers to reach ICERM
  • Arriving or departing from ICERM more than a day before or day after the program
  • Multiple trips to ICERM
  • Rental car to/from ICERM
  • Flights on a Swiss, Japanese, or Australian airlines
  • Arriving or departing from airport other than PVD/BOS or home institution's local airport
  • 2 one-way plane tickets to create a roundtrip (often purchased from Expedia, Orbitz, etc.)
Reimbursement Request Form

Refer to the back of your ID badge for more information. Checklists are available at the front desk.

Reimbursement Tips
  • Scanned original receipts are required for all expenses
  • Airfare receipt must show full itinerary and payment
  • ICERM does not offer per diem or meal reimbursement
  • Allowable mileage is reimbursed at prevailing IRS Business Rate and trip documented via pdf of Google Maps result
  • Keep all documentation until you receive your reimbursement!
Reimbursement Timing

6 - 8 weeks after all documentation is sent to ICERM. All reimbursement requests are reviewed by numerous central offices at Brown who may request additional documentation.

Reimbursement Deadline

Submissions must be received within 30 days of ICERM departure to avoid applicable taxes. Submissions after thirty days will incur applicable taxes. No submissions are accepted more than six months after the program end.