Mathematical Sciences and the NSF Big Ideas

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Juan Meza is the Division Director of the NSF’s Division of Mathematical Sciences. Immediately before joining the NSF, he served as Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California, Merced.

In 2016, the National Science Foundation proposed ten new activities called the10 Big Ideas。这是为了“长期研究d process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering.” The Big Ideas also represented “unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge – indeed to define that cutting edge – of global science and engineering leadership”. Three of those activities should be of particular interest to the mathematics community:Harnessing the Data Revolution(HDR),量子飞跃,和Understanding the Rules of Life。这些大思想中的每一个都有计划预算每年30米,五年。总共有这三项活动代表了NSF的4.5亿美元投资,因此代表了基本研究的绝佳机会。在本文中,我想简要介绍一个重要的想法,并建议数学科学家参与这些活动的一些方法。

Harnessing the Data Revolution

The activity that I’ll discuss is called Harnessing the Data Revolution, which seeks to establish theoretical, technical, and ethical frameworks that will be applied to tackle data-intensive problems in science and engineering. Based on several trends over the past 10 years, this activity will use insights gained from data to transform science and engineering and contribute to data-driven decision-making that impacts society. The HDR vision has five interrelated efforts:

  • Foundations of data science;
  • 框架,算法和数据科学系统;
  • Data-intensive science and engineering;
  • Data cyberinfrastructure; and
  • 教育和劳动力发展。

HDR的一个组成部分,即数学社区已经参与是数据科学(三脚架)计划原则的跨学科研究,这是数据科学基础的第一次努力的一部分。2017年,NSF在全国各地的12阶段资助了12阶段(press release). This program encourages teams of mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists to develop the foundations of data science. We anticipate having two phases for this program with a solicitation for larger Phase II proposals in the future. Based on feedback from the community and the popularity of the original round of awards, NSF decided to support a second round of Phase I awards. This new round of awards has the same underlying structure, but with an additional feature of including researchers in electrical engineering.


HDR Institutes will also be developed through a two-phase process involving a conceptualization phase followed by a convergence phase. The conceptualization phase will be implemented in 2019 via two complementary funding opportunities. The first opportunity will encourage individuals with compelling science problems and/or technical expertise to self-organize into teams with the aim of developing innovative, collaborative research proposals through an IDEAS Lab process.


The second opportunity will encourage applications from teams of researchers proposing a framework for an integrated set of science and engineering problems and data science solutions. The conceptualization process will result in two-year awards aimed at building communities, defining research priorities, and developing interdisciplinary prototype solutions. The subsequent convergence and co-design phase will be implemented in the 2021 timeframe with awards that integrate and scale successful prototypes and new ideas into larger, more comprehensive institutes that bring together multiple science and engineering communities with computer and computational scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians around common data science approaches.


About Karen Saxe

Karen Saxe是政府关系的AMS办事处主任,该职位将与影响数学研究和教育的华盛顿决策者连接数学界。多年来,她为AMS,Maa和AWM提供了很多时间,包括亚洲副总统的服务,并在政策和宣传与全部三项工作。她是2013-2014 AMS国会伙伴,为教育问题的参议员Al Franken工作,专注于高等教育和茎教育。在2010年人口普查之后,在明尼苏达州,她曾在公民重新利用委员会担任过普通事业的普通事业明尼苏达重新利用领导圈。她有三个孩子,当不是工作时,特别喜欢和他们一起读书,徒步旅行和分享美食和葡萄酒和家人和朋友。
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