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(Credit: Zedge / Texas A&M Health Science Center.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Texas A&M University's Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computational Science (IAMCS) is playing host this week to a three-day conference designed to explore novel mathematical models in the life sciences and to encourage related multidisciplinary interaction and collaboration across the campus and country.

Contemporary Mathematical Challenges in the Life Sciences, which runs today (Monday, May 16) through Wednesday (May 18) in Room 457 of the John R. Blocker Building, will feature experts from six universities across the country in addition to Texas A&M: California-San Diego, Connecticut, Duke, Michigan, Harvey Mudd and Stanford. The conference offers a blend of formal talks, panel discussions, poster presentations and informal exchanges addressing topics ranging from cancer, genomics and biological clocks to systems biology, physiology and biostatistics.

Organizers say in addition to mathematicians and statisticians, the conference will highlight both presenters and participants working in various life-sciences-related areas -- biology, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, ecology and medicine -- with an emphasis in quantitative and computational methods and data analysis.

"We hope this will be a great opportunity for participants to learn about key problems impacting multidisciplinary areas as they share their expertise, acquire possible tools useful to their own research, and investigate the potential for future collaborations," said Dr. Paulo Lima-Filho, professor and associate head for operations and undergraduate programs in the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics and one of the conference's organizers along with fellow Texas A&M mathematicians Anne Shiu and Jay Walton.

Lima-Filho says that, among the talks and topics of interest is one by prominent Stanford mathematician Gunnar Carlsson, founder of the company Ayasdi, headquartered in Palo Alto and featuring a branch in Austin. In his presentation, Topology and the Big Data Problem, set for Tuesday (May 17) at 9 a.m., Carlsson will address the notion of big data -- specifically, that the main difficulty lies not in the size of data sets but in their complexity and, therefore, the need for improved organization and precise definition in order to most effectively extract knowledge and understanding.

"Topology is that part of mathematics which concerns itself with the study of shape," Carlsson notes in his abstract. "We will discuss how this discipline can be used to create new modeling mechanisms which are much better suited to life sciences situations, where the data is very noisy and does not follow rigid equations. We will give numerous examples."

Visit the conference website for additional information, including a complete schedule of talks and related events.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2014), based on expenditures of more than $854 million in fiscal year 2014. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Paulo Lima-Filho, (979) 845-1981 or plfilho@math.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

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