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Applied Mathematics’ Petrovic Co-Organizes MRC in Algebraic Statistics

Sonja Petrovic, assistant professor of applied mathematics, is a co-organizer of the 2016 Mathematics Research Community in algebraic statistics.

Algebraic statistics is a field at the intersection of algebraic geometry and statistics that has grown tremendously in the recent years.

The MRC program, started by the American Mathematical Society in 2008, brings together groups of early-career mathematicians to do research, network, and be mentored by established faculty. The MRCs include a discussion network, ongoing mentoring, a session at the national meeting, and a longitudinal study of early-career mathematicians.

They also include a week-long workshop in Snowbird, Utah, during the summer to work collaboratively on research and define future research projects. This year, Petrovic and her fellow organizers led 40 junior mathematicians in research in five areas of algebraic statistics: likelihood geometry, parameter identifiability, network models, statistical software, and phylogentics/tree-based Markov models.

“The workshop was a huge success,” said Petrovic. “It created an environment where career-long research relationships could be built. It introduced a new wave of young researchers to the field of algebraic statistics by engaging them with exciting research problems. It also provided opportunities for participants to obtain information and advice on topics vital for a junior researcher, such as publishing, presenting, and grant writing.”

The other organizers were Mathias Drton, professor of statistics, University of Washington; Elizabeth Gross, assistant professor of mathematics, San Jose State University; Serkan Hosten, professor of mathematics, San Francisco State University; and David Kahle, assistant professor of statistical science, Baylor University.