Massively-Collaborative Global Research in Mathematics and Science

Monday, February 15, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Coolidge (Marriott Wardman Park)
In recent years, dozens of research projects have emerged that make novel use of computing and communication technologies, dramatically expanding the types of problems that can be considered and leading to breakthroughs in many areas of science. Distributed computing projects can address the design of molecules, improve climate prediction models, analyze astronomical data from radio telescopes, identify prime numbers and elliptic curve factorizations, and develop sustainable water use models, to name a few uses. In addition, contests such as those hosted by InnoCentive or call for people to work individually or collectively to solve problems posed by industry or government. These projects use the Internet to collaborate across national boundaries, pulling together diverse expertise and “citizen scientists” to implement extensive computer calculations (e.g., running simulations from high-energy physics or checking mathematical proofs), or to take advantage of “human computing” (e.g., digitizing old texts or studying images from the Hubble Space Telescope by dividing work into micro-tasks or games). This session describes specific projects – protein folding leading to drug development, and the identification of prime numbers with implications for cryptography – accompanied by an overarching discussion of the field of massively-collaborative global research.
Edward Aboufadel, Grand Valley State University
Andrew Sutherland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Closing the Gap: The Polymath Project on Bounded Gaps Between Primes