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DCI '03 Year 2

July 18 - July 30, 2004

Welcome to Year 2 of the DCI '03 Program.

In summer 2004, we anticipate that you will have three options for DCI: discrete math and biology with a research project; discrete math and biology with an emphasis on developing classroom materials; graph theory with a research project. The main DCI theme will be discrete mathematics and biology, building on the graph theory theme that we emphasized last summer but providing appropriate biological background and applications. This is a bit of a departure from our original plans for summer 2004, but we hope everyone will want to choose this option. This is an opportunity to participate in what we hope will be a pioneering venture. We hope you will want to be part of it. However, those of you who were counting on a continuation that featured graph theory at a more advanced level than last summer are welcome to participate in that version of DCI and we will be delighted to have you participate in that way. All three versions of DCI are planned to be held at the same time.


Modern biology has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Driven by large scientific endeavors such as the human genome project, it has become very much an information science, closely tied to tools and methods of the mathematical sciences. New algorithms and mathematical models played a central role in sequencing the human genome and continue to play a crucial role as biology develops models of information processing in biological organisms. Increasingly, undergraduate and graduate students are being exposed to this interplay between the mathematical and biological sciences. In K-12, the biology curriculum has made some advances by including such things as genetics and the human genome project, and even some of the mathematics in the Mendelian genetics model. There are also a few isolated efforts to bring biological examples into the mathematics classroom. But K-12 is lagging behind. Current efforts need to be supported and new efforts developed to bring K-12 education up to speed in the integration of mathematics and biology. Students need to be exposed to the excitement of modern biology from both the biological and mathematical point of view. They need to be informed of the new educational and career opportunities that are arising from the interface between these disciplines. Introducing K-12 students to the interface between the biological and mathematical sciences will not only enhance the study of biology, but also the study of mathematics. Students interested in studying biology will realize the importance of understanding modern mathematics. New horizons will be opened for those who might find mathematics interesting, but wonder how it might be useful. There is the potential for all students to study mathematics both longer and more seriously because they are aware early of its importance in applications such as protecting us from bioterrorism, responses to public health crises, and understanding modern diseases.


The DCI summer 2004 dm and bio program will be an exploratory two-week program in featuring high school mathematics teachers. The teachers will get an introduction to molecular biology, computational biology, and bioinformatics. They will learn about sequence alignment algorithms, finding the smallest number of mutations of a certain type to switch one sequence into another, algorithms for finding a sequence from its fragments, and other mathematical techniques. They will also learn how mathematical modeling can be applied to the problems of stopping the spread of infectious diseases and defense against bioterrorist attacks. The teachers in the program will produce classroom materials for use in their schools, under the guidance of experienced high school "lead teachers" and experts in the undergraduate biomath interface, and inform us and each other of school-year classroom implementation experiments. We hope to learn something about which ideas will work and which ideas will not, and use the experience to design future programs that emphasize instructional materials development, teacher preparation and enhancement, as well as research projects on teaching and learning at this important interface. We also anticipate having a more traditional DCI research component and will give participants an option of either working on classroom materials or participating in a research experience.

This will be an experiment and we are just now working on designing it. However, we ask you to let us know which of the three options you would like to participate in:

Option 1: discrete math and biology with an emphasis on developing classroom materials;

Option 2: discrete math and biology with a research project;

Option 3: graph theory with a research project.

We would like to know as soon as possible if you would be interested in participating and we ask you to give us your comments and input on the plans. We will know more in detail in awhile, but right now we would love to get your feedback. Please send me an email message with your thoughts.

The financial support we anticipate will be similar to what we have provided before: hotel plus meals plus stipend.

The dates for the "Biomath DCI" are July 18 - July 31, 2004.

Please let Christine Spassione (spassion@dimacs.rutgers.edu) know as soon as possible if you would like to participate.

To the Program Web Page: BMCI 2004

For further information or question, contact:

Christine Spassione
DCI Program Coordinator

Email: dci@dimacs.rutgers.edu
Phone: (732) 445-4304
Fax: (732) 445-5932

Updated March 23, 2004.