IdeaLab 2013: Weeklong Program for Early Career Researchers (July 15 - July 19, 2013)

Faculty: Lead an IdeaLab program!
2013 Organizing Committee

IdeaLab Funding Includes:
  • Travel support
  • Six nights accommodations
  • Meal allowance

Organizers will create smaller teams of IdeaLab participants
who will discuss, in depth, specific research topics.

Interested in discussing cutting edge research ideas with both peers and leaders in their field?

Interested in broadening your professional network across the mathematical sciences?

Interested in the opportunity to present your ideas and hear about funding opportunities from program officers?


The Idea-Lab invites 20 early career researchers (postdoctoral candidates and assistant professors) to ICERM for a week during the summer. The program will start with brief participant presentations on their research interests in order to build a common understanding of the breadth and depth of expertise. Throughout the week, organizers or visiting researchers will give comprehensive overviews of their research topics. Organizers will create smaller teams of participants who will discuss, in depth, these research questions, obstacles, and possible solutions. At the end of the week, the teams will prepare presentations on the problems at hand and ideas for solutions. These will be shared with a broad audience including invited program officers from funding agencies.

IdeaLab applicants should be at an early stage of their post-PhD career.

Applications for the 2013 IdeaLab are no longer being accepted. Please check our website and in the fall of 2014 for next year's program details.

Boltzmann Postdocs and gradstudents

  • Nate Ackerman
    (Harvard University)
  • Folashade Agusto
    (Austin Peay State University)
  • Thomas Bellsky
    (Arizona State University)
  • Jesse Berwald
    (College of William and Mary)
  • Jean-Francois Biasse
    (University of Calgary)
  • Peter Jaehyun Cho
    (University of Toronto)
  • Henry Cohn
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Graham Cox
    (University of North Carolina)
  • Cameron Freer
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Angelean Hendrix
    (North Carolina State University)
  • Nadia Heninger
    (University of California, San Diego)
  • Jeffrey Hoffstein
    (Brown University)
  • Sarah Iams
    (Bowdoin College)
  • Christopher Jones
    (University of North Carolina)
  • Hans Kaper *
    (Argonne National Laboratory)
  • Peter Koltai
    (TU München)
  • Patrick Kuehn
    (Universität Zürich)
  • Amita Malik
    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Pamela Martin
    (Indiana University-Purdue University)
  • Antara Mukherjee
    (The Citadel)
  • Malik Nashant
    (University of North Carolina)
  • Ekin Ozman
    (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Amanda Redlich
    (Rutgers University)
  • Adriana Salerno
    (Bates College)
  • Bjorn Sandstede
    (Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM))
  • Timothy Sauer*
    (National Science Foundation)
  • Joseph Silverman
    (Brown University)
  • Ivan Sudakov
    (University of Utah)
  • Esther Widiasih
    (University of Arizona)
  • Ling Xu
    (Georgia State University)

Monday July 15, 2013
TimeDescription Speaker LocationAbstractsSlides
8:30 - 8:55IdeaLab Registration 11th Floor Collaborative Space
8:55 - 9:00WelcomeICERM Director11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:00 - 9:10Young Researcher IntroductionNate Leedom Ackerman, Harvard University11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:10 - 9:20Young Researcher IntroductionFolashade Agusto, Austin Peay State University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:20 - 9:30Young Researcher Introduction Thomas Bellsky, Arizona State University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:30 - 9:40 Young Researcher IntroductionJesse Berwald, College of William and Mary 11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:40 - 9:50Young Researcher IntroductionJean-Francois Biasse, University of Calgary11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:50 - 10:00Young Researcher IntroductionPeter Jaehyun Cho, University of Toronto 11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:00 - 10:30Coffee/Tea Break 11th Floor Collaborative Space
10:30 - 10:40Young Researcher Introduction Graham Cox, University of North Carolina 11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:40 - 10:50 Young Researcher IntroductionCameron Eric Freer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:50 - 11:00Young Researcher IntroductionAngelean Hendrix, North Carolina State University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:00 - 11:10Young Researcher Introduction Nadia Heninger, University of California, San Diego 11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:10 - 11:20Young Researcher IntroductionSarah Iams, Bowdoin College 11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:20 - 11:30Young Researcher IntroductionPeter Koltai, TU M�nchen 11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:30 - 11:40Young Researcher Introduction Christian Kuehn, Cornell University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:40 - 11:50 Young Researcher IntroductionNishant Malik, University of North Carolina 11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:50 - 12:00Young Researcher IntroductionAntara Mukherjee, The Citadel 11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:00 - 12:10Young Researcher Introduction Ekin Ozman, University of Texas at Austin 11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:10 - 12:20 Young Researcher IntroductionAmanda Redlich, Rutgers University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:20 - 2:30Break for Lunch and Free Time
2:30 - 2:40 Young Researcher IntroductionAdriana Salerno, Bates College 11th Floor Lecture Hall
2:40 - 2:50Young Researcher IntroductionIvan Sudakov, University of Utah 11th Floor Lecture Hall
2:50 - 3:00Young Researcher IntroductionEsther Widiasih, University of Arizona 11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:00 - 3:10Young Researcher Introduction Ling Xu, Georgia State University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:10 - 3:30 Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space
3:30 - 4:15 Who, or what, will tip the big climate models?Christopher KRT Jones, University of North Carolina11th Floor Lecture Hall
4:15 - 5:00What is homomorphic encryption, and why do we want it?Henry Cohn, Microsoft Research11th Floor Lecture Hall
5:00 - 6:30Welcome Reception11th Floor Collaborative Space

Tuesday July 16, 2013
Time DescriptionSpeakerLocationAbstractsSlides
8:30 - 10:00An overview of public key cryptography, with a view towards homomorphic encryptionJoe Silverman, Brown University 11th Floor Lecture Hall
8:30 - 10:00Some cases of tipping points in the climate and paleoclimate record Pamela Martin, Indiana University-Purdue University11th Floor Conference Room
10:00 - 10:30 Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space
10:30 - 12:00 Homomorphic encryption: Where we are and where we'd like to goJeff Hoffstein, Brown University and Henry Cohn, Microsoft Research 11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:30 - 12:00An overview of possible mechanisms for tipping points Bjorn Sandstede, Brown University11th Floor Conference Room
12:00 - 2:00 Break for Lunch and Free Time
2:00 - 2:30Break into 2 groups
2:30 - 4:30Working Groups11th Floor Lecture Hall and Collaborative Spaces
4:30 - 5:00Reconvene to touch base

WednesdayJuly 17, 2013
TimeDescription SpeakerLocationAbstractsSlides
9:00 - 12:00Working Groups11th Floor Lecture Hall and Collaborative Spaces
12:00 - 2:00Break for Lunch and Free Time
2:00 - 4:30Working Groups11th Floor Lecture Hall and Collaborative Spaces
4:30 - 5:00Reconvene to touch base

ThursdayJuly 18, 2013
9:00 - 12:00Working Groups11th Floor Lecture Hall and Collaborative Spaces
12:00 - 2:00Break for Lunch and Free Time
2:00 - 4:30Working Groups11th Floor Lecture Hall and Collaborative Spaces
4:30 - 5:00Reconvene to touch base

FridayJuly 19, 2013
9:00 - 9:10Opening RemarksJill Pipher, ICERM11th Floor Lecture Hall
9:10 - 10:25Group Presentation 111th Floor Lecture Hall
10:25 - 10:45Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space
10:45 - 12:00Group Presentation 211th Floor Lecture Hall
12:00 - 1:45Lunch and Informal Discussions(lunch provided at ICERM)
1:45 - 3:00Program Officer Panel Hans Kaper, Argonne National Laboratory; Deborah Lockhart, National Science Foundation; Andrew Pollington, National Science Foundation; Timothy Sauer, National Science Foundation; Homer Walker, ICERM11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:00 - 3:10IdeaLab Group Photo11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:10 - 5:00Afternoon for Discussions


The climate is changing and it is due to anthropogenic sources of carbon-that is agreed upon by the scientific community. But is there a possibility of abrupt change? On the whole, the large climate models do not predict such occurrences, but they also do not include the physical mechanisms that might trigger these tipping points in the modeling. So, how do we try to predict abrupt transitions? Is it even feasible?

There has been a considerable amount of mathematics devoted to rapid changes, dating back to catastrophe theory, and also to systems that enjoy varying time-scales. This has laid the groundwork for an emerging area of tipping points in climate. But can we account for the potential climate tipping points with what amount to low-dimensional bifurcations? And, if we can, what are ways that this mathematical technology can be factored into the construction of large models?

There have, of course, been abrupt changes in the past, such as rapid warming after ice-ages. Can we learn from these? The technical approach here might be to assimilate the data into models. But the current techniques of data assimilation do not accommodate abrupt transitions. This can be viewed as the same issue arising in modeling: both modeling and data assimilation require relatively smooth evolution. But we must still be able to say something when it is not so smooth.
Photo credit: NASA/GODDARD space flight center scientific visualization studio.
The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).
Photo credit (above and right): Sebastian Wieczorek-University of Exeter
Photo credit: Sebastian Wieczorek-University of Exeter

Participant quote:

"I thought the program went very well. It was fun and interesting to try and work on a problem that was significantly outside my field with talented people who were also outside my field. I also thought the people in charge of our group did a very good job in fostering a fun atmosphere that encouraged us to try random attacks on a hard problem without worrying about that fact that any particular one would almost certainly fail (but hopefully might provide some insight eventually)."