IMS members encouraged to participate in SAMSI’s 2015–16 Research Programs in Computational Neuroscience and Forensic Science

SAMSI announces its two new and exciting programs for 2015–16. They are Challenges in Computational Neuroscience (CCNS) and Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Forensic Science (Forensics). IMS members will have many opportunities to collaborate with people in other disciplines such as neurobiologists, statisticians, forensic scientists and others.

Challenges in Computational Neuroscience (CCNS)

The CCNS program will develop mathematical and statistical methods for neuroscience applications. These will be used to understand the underlying mechanisms that bridge multiple spatial and temporal scales, linking the activity of individual components (e.g., molecular biology, genetics, and neuron networks), and their interactions to the complex dynamic behavior of the brain and nervous system. Brain theory, modeling, and statistics will be essential to turn data into better understanding of the brain. The CCNS program will address the underlying methodological, theoretical, and computational challenges. Probability and statistics, dynamical systems, geometry, and computer science will be combined with respect to theory and in applications.

Program on Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Forensic Science (Forensics)

SAMSI’s program on Forensics is focused on strengthening the statistical and applied mathematical bases of forensic science. Forensic science is fundamentally based upon statistical comparisons of the characteristics of a material left at a crime scene to characteristics of a source or suspect. These comparisons are often acknowledged by forensic scientists to be highly subjective. A series of reports by the National Research Council (NRC) has raised deep questions about major forms of forensic evidence and has made a clear case for heeding statistical underpinning for forensic procedures. These include fingerprints, patterns and impressions (footprints and tire tracks), toolmarks and firearms, hair, fibers, documents, paints and coatings, bloodstains, and fire debris. Working groups will focus on statistical issues for pattern evidence; bias; imaging; quality control for forensics laboratories. Crosscutting challenges are identifying where statistics can have a quick impact, and educating mathematical scientists about forensics and forensic scientists about the mathematical sciences.

There are many opportunities for IMS members to get involved in SAMSI programs. Financial support is available for visiting researchers to be resident at SAMSI for periods of one month to one year. Postdoctoral positions are available in both programs and give ample opportunities for the fellows to collaborate with senior level researchers. Workshops and working groups give many people the opportunity to collaborate with others on research projects and to network with their peers. SAMSI offers workshops to graduate and upper level undergraduate students to learn about the latest research and applications in the statistical and mathematical sciences that will involve these two research program topics. All involved researchers will get chances to broaden their interests and skill sets, participate in cutting edge interdisciplinary projects and make new connections. New researchers and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to participate in SAMSI workshops and programs.

To find out more about either of these research programs, or to apply, go to the SAMSI website,