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Clarkson University Research Team Receives Grant for Mathematical Modeling

Creating mathematical tools that identify abrupt changes in the environment and other complex systems is no easy task, but a Clarkson University research team is up for the challenge.
From left, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Jie Sun, Associate Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Sumona Mondal, and Evan Tomkiewicz ’14.Associate Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Sumona Mondal and Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Jie Sun, as well as Evan Tomkiewicz ’14, a mathematics major from Brushton, N.Y., have received a $5,700 seed grant from the Academic Success Program to Improve Retention and Education  (ASPIRE) to begin building that tool. The grant provides initial funding to get the project started. The group will seek out additional external support in the future.
Mondal, Sun and Tomkiewicz plan to examine various complex systems and identify data patterns in each. The team will start by analyzing ecological and climate time series data, and then test the developed methods on other complex systems as well.

Team members said such a modeling tool may be able to better predict upcoming changes in economic, ecological and other systems, such as environmental changes and population trends of endangered and invasive species.

“When sudden changes occur to a system, statistical patterns observed in the past may no longer hold,” Sun said. “That’s why the identification and analysis of these (extreme) events are very important, as they allow us to avoid misinterpretation of the data and make more reliable predictions.”

“In the real world, time series are multivariate, noisy, and non-stationary in nature”, Mondal said. “Our tool should be able to be applied in meaningful statistical inferences of this type of data.”

“You’re developing something that’s not static,” Tomkiewicz said. “What we want to do is create a model or tool where you can bring it somewhere else and it still works accurately. It takes you out of finding a specific model for one thing.”
Sun and Mondal plan to incorporate their project into a course to be offered at Clarkson, then continue to expand on their research with additional class offerings in the future.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo Caption: A Clarkson University research team has received a $5,700 grant to begin developing a mathematical model that can predict changes in the environment, economy and other complex systems. From left, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Jie Sun,  Associate Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Sumona Mondal, and Evan Tomkiewicz ’14.

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