SAMSI Director on Board on Environment Change and Society for National Research Council

Report Issued on Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis

Richard Smith, Director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, (SAMSI) is participating on the Committee on Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Social and Political Stresses for the US National Research Council. The committee recently released a report that looks at climate change and possible security threats that could arise from extreme weather events.

The report describes the need for the US intelligence community to monitor warnings of a wide variety of security threats that may affect the United States. More and more scientific evidence is accumulating that the global climate is changing and as more extreme climate events are occurring, there are new stresses on societies around the world that are creating possible security risks for the United States. Many of these extreme climate events, such as hurricanes, heat waves, and droughts, are sometimes exceeding the capacity of affected countries to cope and respond to its citizens.

The connections between the harm suffered from climate events and the political and social outcomes of security concerns has had little attention from the scientific community. The report suggests that the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), along with various science and mission agencies work with the intelligence community to develop priorities for research on climate vulnerability and adaptation. The research should focus on items such as quantifying the likelihood of disruptive climate events, improving the understanding of the conditions under which climate-related natural disasters and disruptions of critical systems of life support do or do not lead to important security-related outcomes. Committee members also suggest that the US government should develop a systematic whole-of-government strategy for monitoring threats related to climate change.

“There is already a lot of concern about extreme weather events and their possible association with human-caused climate change. Of course we are most concerned about events that directly affect us, such as hurricanes or flooding in North Carolina, but this report shows why we also need to think about events that occur in distant parts of the world,” remarked Smith.

SAMSI has had several research programs covering statistical questions associated with climate change, including the current program on Statistical and Computational Methodology for Massive Datasets, which includes a working group on Environment and Climate. Extreme events and their impacts are a topic of major interest to statisticians and applied mathematicians as well as to climate scientists. SAMSI’s website,, has many presentations and links to some of the research that was conducted during these programs.

SAMSI Neuroimaging Data Analysis Summer Program

SAMSI is holding a summer program on Neuroimaging Data Analysis (NDA) June 4–14, 2013, at SAMSI in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. This two-week workshop will begin with five days of training courses focused on structural and functional neuroimaging data analysis, taught by leading researchers in the field, to bring everyone up to speed on currently used methodology. The second week will combine working groups held in the afternoons with a workshop held in the mornings. Twenty invited distinguished speakers will address major areas and cutting edge research in NDA. There will also be a poster session allowing participants to present their ideas.

The term “Neuroimaging Data Analysis” encompasses a broad array of imaging, mathematical, and statistical methods for the analysis of neuroimaging data. NDA is used to extract pertinent information from imperfect and noisy images from the brain. To learn more about the NDA summer program, or to apply, go to the SAMSI website (edit in 2023: SAMSI website is no longer available). Applications received before March 15 will receive full consideration. Applications after that date will still be considered if slots remain open.

Program on Low-dimensional Structure in High-dimensional Systems

The LDHD 2013–14 program will begin with an Opening Workshop from September 8–12, 2013. On Sunday, September 8 there will be tutorials lectures by leading researchers. From Monday to Wednesday, invited speakers will address specific research topics relevant to Working Groups in the program, which will be formed on September 11. A poster session and reception will take place on Monday, September 9. Immediately following the workshop, on Thursday and Friday, the Working Groups will convene at SAMSI. In these meetings, each working group will identify initial research activities and relevant datasets for the program year. These foci will, of course, evolve over the year, and Working Groups may either merge or emerge as research progresses.

The Opening Workshop will provide an overview of the core topics relevant to the LDHD program, which is devoted to the development of methodological, theoretical, and computational treatment of high-dimensional mathematical and statistical models.

For a more detailed description of the topics to be covered, see the LDHD homepage. For additional information about the program, send e-mail to