Mathematical and Statistical Challenges for Sustainability

Sustainability[May, 2011] A 140-page report edited by DIMACS faculty members Midge Cozzens and Fred Roberts lays out a roadmap of mathematical and statistical challenges in sustainability science. With the human population recently having surpassed 7 billion, protecting the earth and its resources is a shared challenge facing all of humanity. The most pressing problems are inherently multidisciplinary. The mathematical sciences have a central role to play, but many mathematicians, statisticians, and other scientists are uncertain about where mathematics can help. To redress this, six North American mathematical research institutes together with the U.S. National Science Foundation, sponsored the Mathematical Challenges for Sustainability Workshop held at the DIMACS Center at Rutgers University, November 15-17, 2010.

The workshop gathered 40 leaders in the mathematical sciences to lay out a roadmap of the mathematical and statistical challenges in sustainability science. This report is a distillation of their work, covering topics that include: the interrelationship between human and ecological needs; energy sustainability; modeling and managing human-environmental systems; and monitoring and measuring progress toward sustainability.

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