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« Reconnect 2021: Optimization

Reconnect 2021: Optimization

June 20, 2021 - June 25, 2021


Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center


660 Rosedale Road

Princeton, NJ 08541


Tamra Carpenter, DIMACS

Margaret (Midge) Cozzens, DIMACS


Isha Deen-Cole
CoRE Building
96 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
E: ishadc@dimacs.rutgers.edu
V: 848-445-4521

Update on scheduling: This event had originally been planned as Reconnect 2020 for June 21-26, 2020, but it was cancelled because of COVID-19. It will now be held as Reconnect 2021.

Reconnect workshops expose faculty teaching undergraduates to current applications of the mathematical and computational sciences and provide an opportunity to learn about recent research in related areas. The topic is presented over the course of 4.5 days in series of lectures and activities, and participants are involved in activities that they and their students can continue with after the workshop.

The featured topic for Reconnect changes each year. This year's topic is Optimization.

The notion of optimization is ubiquitous in everyday life—nearly every decision, at its core, is an optimization problem. The broad field of optimization emerged to provide the language and tools to surmount complex problems in real applications, and optimization tools and algorithms have since transformed fields ranging from biology to finance. Optimization capabilities touch our everyday lives through more efficient supply chains, better traffic management, and more secure power grids. In the short history of the field of mathematical optimization, advances in underlying theory, practical implementation, and computing power have brought us from solving linear programs (LPs) with a few hundred variables to those with more than a million. Widely available general-purpose solvers now make sophisticated tools for linear, integer, and nonlinear programming broadly accessible.

Historically, continuous and discrete optimization have followed largely distinct trajectories and drawn inspiration from different branches of mathematics. The study of discrete optimization is most closely associated with discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, while continuous optimization is rooted in the well-developed mathematical theory of convex analysis and geometry. Reconnect 2021 will survey methods for linear programming, such as the simplex method and its variants and possibly newer interior-point methods. These methods are the workhorses for more challenging problems in combinatorial and nonlinear optimization. These methods are the “workhorses” for more challenging problems in combinatorial optimization and nonlinear optimization. The workshop will explore several problems in combinatorial optimization, as well as a variety of real-world applications that make use of optimization methods.

The workshop tentatively features a field trip to the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), hosted by Peter Winkler, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College and this year's Distinguished Professor of the Public Dissemination of Mathematics. (This field trip is subject to confirmation for 2021.)

Confirmed Speakers:

Robert Vanderbei is Professor of Operations Research & Financial Engineering at Princeton University. Vanderbei is a fellow of AMS, SIAM, and INFORMS and the 2017 recipient of the Khachiyan Prize for his contributions to the field of optimization. He delivered the Omega Rho Distinguished Lecture at the INFORMS Annual meeting in 2019. He is author of the textbook Linear Programming: Foundations and Extensions, which provides a thorough treatment of linear optimization at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level, as well as coauthor of Real and Convex Analysis. An avid astro-photographer, Vanderbei is also coauthor of the book Sizing up the Universe.

Robert Bosch is Professor of Mathematics at Oberlin College and an award-winning writer and artist. His 2019 book, Opt Art, takes readers on an engaging tour of linear optimization and its applications—including the legendary Traveling Salesman Problem—and shows how to adapt them to make compelling visual art. Bosch received the Mathematical Association of America Trevor Evans Award in 2007, American Mathematical Society Mathematical Art Exhibition Prize in 2010, and awards for excellence in teaching at Oberlin College. Bosch's work is featured in a 2017 article, Solving a Math Problem to Create Art, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.


Anyone may apply to attend Reconnect. Preference will be given to faculty whose primary job is undergraduate teaching. Two-year college faculty are welcome to apply. Participants from groups not well represented in computer science and mathematics are especially encouraged to apply.


Accepted participants from US academic institutions receive lodging in a single room and meals at no charge. Limited funds are expected to be available to provide partial support for travel or for international participants. Such support can be requested when you apply.


The deadline to apply is March 1, 2021 or until all slots are filled. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. If you applied to attend Reconnect 2020, your application is on file, and we will contact you early in 2021 about whether you would like us to consider it for Reconnect 2021.


Applicants who are selected to attend are expected to stay for the entire duration of the program. To apply to attend, complete and submit the online Reconnect 2021 application.


Go to Reconnect Application.

Download the Reconnect flyer.