The IMA's timely topic for its new thematic year-the Mathematics of Information-will gather researchers from mathematical and computer sciences, engineering, and other fields to address the core issues facing extraction of useful information from massive data sets. The program is the vision of the organizing committee consisting of Inderjit Dhillon (Computer Sciences, UT Austin), Anna Gilbert (Mathematics, University of Michigan), Diane Lambert (Google), Ahmed Tewfik (Electrical Engineering, UT Austin), and Roman Vershynin (Mathematics, University of Michigan).
Information, broadly defined, plays an ever increasingly large role in our scientific and technological endeavors, as well as our daily lives. Technological and scientific developments to analyze, process, and understand data are moving at a rapid pace to keep up with the increasing rate at which data are collected. Many scientific, engineering, and medical applications depend on our ability to handle enormous amounts of complex information. According to Gilbert, "Current technology and scientific tools for information lag far behind our ability to collect enormous amounts of data, analyze it as efficiently as possible, and use that analysis to make sound, timely decisions. The gap between our tools and the volume of data we collect will increase unless we undertake a significant effort to improve these tools. Moreover, unless we clearly understand how we will use the extracted information, tools to do so will be useless. This gap widens at a time when it is increasingly critical for homeland security, internet security, technical and biological insight that we analyze information quickly and that we derive meaningful information from it efficiently."
Seven workshops on rapidly growing research areas are planned for the year and each workshop will be preceded by tutorials. Each workshop is designed to be truly interdisciplinary, involving researchers from mathematical sciences, computer sciences, engineering, and other fields. More information about this year's workshops and the IMA Thematic Year are available online at www.ima.umn.edu/2011-2012.