DIMACS, the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, was founded as an NSF Science and Technology Center, and is a consortium of Rutgers and Princeton Universities, AT&T Labs - Research, Bell Labs, NEC Laboratories America and Telcordia Technologies. Affiliate members include Avaya Labs, Georgia Institute of Technology, HP Labs, IBM Research, Microsoft Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Stevens Institute of Technology. DIMACS education programs include the Leadership Program in Discrete Mathematics (currently focused on K-8 teachers), the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics (for high school students) and Research Experience for Undergraduates (college students). DIMACS has been a pioneer in computational biology and bioinformatics since 1992.
Research activities at DIMACS include implementation challenges, tutorials, and programs called Special Focus Programs which focus on emerging topics in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science. Topics currently underway include:
The Founding of DIMACS
Because of the increasing importance of methods of Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, four New Jersey institutions, Rutgers and Princeton Universities, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Bell Communications Research (Bellcore, now called Telcordia Technologies), each developed strong research groups in these fields. In 1988, these four institutions joined to found the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, DIMACS.
The center became one of 11 National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Centers (STCs), funded by a 5 year $10 million grant under a program recommended by the White House and the national Academy of Sciences, and aimed at increasing the economic competitiveness of the U.S. STC Support continued throughout the maximum 11-year lifetime of hte STC program. Support was also provided from the onset by the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology.
With the splitup of AT&T, both AT&T Labs and Bell Labs became members of the center in 1996. NEC Laboratories America (formerly NEC Research) joined in 1997. Avaya Labs became an affiliate in 2001, IBM Research and Microsoft Research in 2002, and HP Labs in 2003. Georgia Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Stevens Institute of Technology are DIMACS academic affiliates.
A Broadened Scope
As DIMACS has grown and matured, it has increasingly emphasized other areas of the mathematical sciences as well as the connections between Discrete Mathematics (DM), Theoretical Computer Science (TCS) and other areas of science. Applications of DM/TCS to problems in physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, and the social sciences supplement the more traditional DIMACS applications in computer science and telecommunications. Mathematical sciences methods as diverse as computational statistics, ordinary and partial differential equations, stochastic processes, and algebraic geometry have been applied at DIMACS to a variety of practical problems and explored for their own sake.
Participants in DIMACS Programs
Today DIMACS involves over 250 scientists - many of them world leaders in their fields - conducting important research in DM/TCS, other areas of telecommunications, information transmission, computer graphics, robotics, transportational systems, data mining, decision making, security, epidemiology, and molecular biology. These scientists form the permanent members of DIMACS and most come from the six partner institutions.
The permanent members are also involved in DIMACS' innovative educational and outreach activities, which involve numerous participants from outside the local institutions. In a typical year, the center hosts 25 to 30 research workshops with 1,500 attendees, 100 visiting scientists, 4 postdoctoral fellows, 50 2- and 4-year college faculty, 100 precollege teachers, 100 high school students, 25 undergraduate students, and many graduate students.
--For more information, visit the DIMACS website at dimacs.rutgers.edu