This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
The principal investigators (PIs) propose a research experience program in computational and applied mathematics for lower-division undergraduate students at UC Irvine (UCI). Through this experience, the PIs seek to stimulate student interest in mathematics and computer science, and provide positive mentoring to students early in their college education. The intellectual merit is in developing an integrated teaching and research program at the interface of mathematics and computer science for freshman and sophomore students at UCI. The projects in the program are extracted from current research in information sciences and machine learning with applications in signal processing, internet search, collaborative filtering and game theory. The program involves mentoring of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who actively participate in teaching and advising of undergraduate students. Undergraduate students shall develop creative thinking and programming skills which prepare them well for success in upper division classes and pursuit of advanced degrees. The program is based on on-line resources and its curriculum is portable.
Early stimulation and nurturing of mathematical interest of undergraduate students is a key step in improving the overall quality of undergraduate education, and strengthening the nation's output of talented young generations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The computing based mathematics learning and research in early stage of college education lays the solid foundation of creative mathematical thinking for students in the context of their modern daily life. This will stimulate their interest in learning advanced topics of mathematics, science and engineering in junior and senior years, and transition to innovative scientists and engineers in the future. The proposed program aims to generate broad impact in advancing discovery and understanding while promoting postdoctoral fellow and graduate student career training, undergraduate student learning and research. The program strives for student diversity and shall actively recruit minority students from local high schools and existing minority student programs at UCI. The project results will be disseminated at national conferences and on-line to a broad range of audience in public. The early computing based learning of mathematics will bring out a new generation of creative and well-prepared scientists for our society to benefit for years to come.