Ong Closes Contract from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Benjamin Ong
Associate Professor Benjamin Ong

Benjamin Ong is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $45,000 research and development contract from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, entitled “Systematic Approaches to Construct Coarse-Grid Operators for Multigrid Reduction in Time.”

Multigrid Reduction in Time (MGRIT) [2] uses multigrid reduction techniques to enable temporal parallelism for solving initial value problems. It is known that the convergence rate of MGRIT [3] depends in part on the choice of time-stepping operators on the fine- and coarse-grid, which we call the fine-grid operator and coarse-grid operator respectively. An “ideal” coarse-grid operator is the fine-grid operator applied to approximate the solution on the coarse time interval.

In practice, the ideal coarse-grid operator is never used as the computational cost destroys any parallel speed-up that could be obtained using MGRIT. Instead, a common choice for a coarse-grid operator is a simple re-discretization of the fine-grid operator, i.e., if a single-step method is used on the fine-grid with time-step size h, then the same single-step method is used on the coarse-grid with time-step size m h, where m is a specified coarsening factor.

Numerical simulations are increasingly important in the study of complex systems in engineering, life sciences, medicine, chemistry, physics, and even non-traditional fields such as social sciences. Dr. Ong is working to solve these large-scale evolution problems on modern supercomputing architectures by using a hierarchy of space-time grids to accelerate the solution on the finest time grid.


Time permitting, Dr. Ong will explore the connection between the proposed sequences of generated coarse-grid operators to those recently proposed by Vargas et al. [4].

[1] Daniel Crane. The Singular Value Expansion for Compact and Non-Compact Operators. PhD thesis, Michigan Technological University, 2020.

[2] R. D. Falgout, S. Friedhoff, Tz. V. Kolev, S. P. MacLachlan, and J. B. Schroder. Parallel time integration with multigrid. SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, 36(6):C635–C661, 2014.

[3] Andreas Hessenthaler, Ben S. Southworth, David Nordsletten, Oliver RÅNohrle, Robert D. Falgout, and Jacob B. Schroder. Multilevel convergence analysis of multigrid-reduction-in-time. SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, 42(2):A771–A796, 2020.

[4] David. A. Vargas. A general framework for deriving coarse grid operators for multigrid reduction in time. Technical report, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2023.

About the Mathematical Sciences Department

Mathematicians at Michigan Technological University conduct research and guide students, applying concepts to fields like business, engineering, healthcare, and government. The Mathematical Sciences Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs with degrees in mathematical sciences, applied statistics, and statistics. Students supercharge their math skills at Michigan’s premier technological university. They graduate prepared for successful careers in academia, research, and tomorrow’s high-tech business environment.

Questions? Contact us at Follow us on Facebook or read the Mathematical Sciences news blog for the latest happenings.

Math’s McFall Makes Deans’ Teaching Showcase Finals

Patrick McFall
When he’s not in the classroom in Fisher, you can find McFall canoeing on Portage Lake

College of Sciences and Arts Dean Ravindra Pandey has selected Patrick McFall as this week’s featured instructor in the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

McFall, assistant teaching professor in the department of mathematical sciences, will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members. Recognition qualifies him as a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

McFall served as the Director of the Math Learning Center from 2020-2023. He co-directed the center in 2023. McFall teaches many large sections of fundamental math courses for the department, going back to spring 2021. He’s appeared in the top 10% of Michigan Tech instructors based on the “Average of 7 Dimensions” for student evaluation scores in three different semesters.

McFall’s Teaching Experience Helps Reduce DFW Rate

In the spring of 2023, McFall took on the coordinator role for MA 1160/1161 Calculus 1. He co-developed the department’s proposal to address the DFW rate for this class. McFall was instrumental in implementing the project. He piloted weekly algebra reviews, and developed pre-class videos and quizzes for a blended learning structure. McFall provided handouts for all instructors to increase student engagement. McFall met weekly with the instructors to ensure consistency in instruction. As a result, the Spring 2023 DFW rate for MA 1160/1161 showed a significant decrease from previous spring semesters. The rate for Spring 2023 declined 25-30 percentage points lower than Spring 2022 and Spring 2021. McFall’s work continued this fall, with similar results.

McFall’s Teaching Garners Praise in the College

Jiguang Sun, Chair of the Mathematical Sciences department, praised McFall. “He is enthusiastic about teaching and promotes a positive and engaging environment in the classroom. Dr. McFall cares for his students, and provides motivation for learning.”

Maria Bergstrom, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Sciences and Arts highlighted the significance of McFall’s contributions as an outstanding instructor. “Patrick McFall’s work to reduce DFW rates in Calculus I through innovations in pedagogy and curriculum has had a tremendous impact,” she said. “The impact is not just in his department but also for undergraduate education as a whole at Michigan Tech. A solid understanding of calculus is fundamental to most of the science and engineering programs on campus. And thus student success efforts in these key courses have a ripple effect across campus. We are pleased to showcase his instructional achievements.”

About the Mathematical Sciences Department

Mathematicians at Michigan Technological University conduct research and guide students, applying concepts to fields like business, engineering, healthcare, and government. The Mathematical Sciences Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs with degrees in mathematical sciences, applied statistics, and statistics. Students supercharge their math skills at Michigan’s premier technological university. They graduate prepared for successful careers in academia, research, and tomorrow’s high-tech business environment.

Questions? Contact us at Follow us on Facebook or read the Mathematical Sciences news blog for the latest happenings.

In Print: Iosif Pinelis Published in The American Mathematical Monthly

Iosif Pinelis article cover page
Iosif Pinelis article as it appears in The American Mathematical Monthly

Iosif Pinelis authored a paper accepted for publication in The American Mathematical Monthly. The paper is titled “An exact bound for the inner product of vectors in C^n”. View a preprint version of the paper and/or download it online.

About the Mathematical Sciences Department

Mathematicians at Michigan Technological University conduct research and guide students, applying concepts to fields like business, engineering, healthcare, and government. The Mathematical Sciences Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs with degrees in mathematical sciences, applied statistics, and statistics. Students supercharge their math skills at Michigan’s premier technological university. They graduate prepared for successful careers in academia, research, and tomorrow’s high-tech business environment.

Questions? Contact us at Follow us on Facebook or read the Mathematical Sciences news blog for the latest happenings.

Meiling Zhou Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is pleased to announce that Meiling Zhou has been selected to receive the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. Meiling was nominated by the department and recognized for her accomplishments by the Graduate School at Michigan Tech.

Meiling is a PhD Candidate in Statistics who is studying under the supervision of her advisor, Dr. Kui Zhang.

To learn more about the Dean’s Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching award, please visit the following link:

Meiling indicated that the time spent with her students is truly quite enjoyable. We are very proud of her and her accomplishment.

An exceptionally touching student comment from Zhou’s most recent teaching evaluation reads as follows:

“Genuinely the sweetest human I’ve ever met, you can tell she deeply cares about her students and their success. She supports us no matter if we struggle with a concept or excel at it and interacts with students even if it’s just asking about our days. [She is] just an amazing teacher because you can tell she cared about us as well as understood how to teach us”.

Student evaluation quote

It is the dedication, compassion and professionalism demonstrated by Meiling that pointed to her being an ideal candidate and recipient of this distinguished award.

Copper Country Scholars Funded by Jerry Davison ‘66 and Wife Judy

Jerry and Judy Davison
Jerry and Judy Davison

Kids across the United States dream and aspire for things bigger than them, whether that’s wanting to be an astronaut, a lawyer, a cowboy, etc… It’s no different in the small towns of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; where, thanks to the influence of Tech, many dream of being computer scientists, engineers, and scientists. Michigan Tech alumnus Jerry Davison ‘66 and his wife Judy, just made it easier for those dreams to come true by establishing the Copper Country Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is open to hard-working students in science, engineering, math, and computer science with financial needs who have graduated from Copper Country schools and are currently attending Michigan Tech with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Growing up in the Copper Country is rigorous and difficult. Rugged terrain, Superior’s gales, bone-chilling cold, plentiful snow, and isolation- conditions that prepare students for the rigor and difficulty of Michigan Tech coursework. Jerry (and Judy, a Michigan graduate) knows it well as a Yooper from Calumet, just 13 miles from campus.

Jerry’s parents instilled their hard-working, blue-collar values from an early age. He saw those values in action in the community around him. Additionally, he also saw how the community stayed together and supported each other. His family was connected to Tech. Like his sister, he worked in the business office at Michigan Tech. Their father worked in the Maintenance Department. Jerry earned $1.25 per hour to pay his college tuition, toiling hard and persevering until his graduation with a B.S. in Mathematics.

Jerry had always been drawn to the field of computers. However, during his time at Tech, there was no Computer Science degree program available. “I started off my career interviewing with communications, steel, and aerospace companies and The National Security Agency, but my career took me all over. I worked for many companies over the course of my career, including communications laboratories, a national laboratory, investment bank, insurance companies, hospital system; you name it. I was always hoping for a challenging new opportunity, never settling for the mundane,” said Davison.

Jerry’s values of hard work and determination helped him forge his own path; values he learned from his family and community. He recognizes the power of community members coming together to support each other. It is this recognition that drove him to establish the Copper Country Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund. Jerry is hoping to give others like him the chance to forge their own path forward, achieve success, and give back to the community.

Jerry wants to emphasize that this scholarship is open for donations and remains nameless, keeping with the community’s spirit of coming together for a shared goal, rather than recognition or glamor. “I want this scholarship to be open to donations to make sure that we give back to those who come after us,” said Davison.

The Davisons’ contribution to Michigan Tech students is appreciated and has not gone unnoticed. “I am so grateful for Jerry and Judy’s generosity, which will allow more of our own Copper Country students to afford the world-class STEM education that Michigan Tech provides, and hopefully inspire many more alumni to contribute to this scholarship,” said David Hemmer, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts.

If you would like to contribute to the Copper Country Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund or inquire about other opportunities, please contact Karin Van Dyke, Michigan Tech University, Director of Advancement, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931. Email: Phone: 906-487-2464

“Always dislike the mundane” – Jerry Davison 

A Super Sweet Pi Day Celebration

Pi Day was celebrated in the Department of Mathematical Sciences on Tuesday, March 14 (3/14) at 1:59pm.

Are you starting to see a slight pattern here – 3.14159? Pi Day celebrations were held throughout the world on March 14 and we thought it would be fun to join in on the festivities.

As you probably already know, the Greek letter “Pi” is a mathematical symbol used to represent a constant. One of the most well known mathematical constants is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. So, in keeping with the mathematical related theme, pie was served!

Several members of the faculty, staff and student body in the math department joined together on Pi Day to chow down on their favorite variety of that sweet, circular treat – PIE. As a matter of fact, a total of 12.14159 different selections of pie adorned a conference table in the math lounge for sampling.

Additionally, undergrad math majors were invited to participate in a very irrational game of Pi Bee. Here, students tested their memory by recording as many digits of pi they could remember – unassisted.

Many entries were submitted, but there could be only one winner. Eli DeWitt (General Mathematics major) provided a heaping total of 43 correct and consecutive digits. His sweet reward for such an outstanding memory was a gift card to the Campus Book Store.

We look forward to the infinite possibilities for future celebrations. Check out our Facebook page to see some of the other interesting events taking place in the department.

Xiaoqing Gao 3-Minute Thesis 2022

Xiaoqing Gao
Michigan Tech PhD student Xiaoqing Gao

We are honored in the Mathematical Sciences Department to have one of our PhD students Xiaoqing Gao compete in the 2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition. This is such awe-inspiring experience and accomplishment for our students.

What is 3MT?

The 3MT is an important international competition that aims at celebrating research conducted by doctoral and masters students. According to the University of Queensland, founder of the event, the 3MT “cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills”.

Participants have three minutes and a single static slide to effectively explain their research in a language that is appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Xiaoqing Gao Awarded 1st Place

I am a PhD student majoring in Biostatistics under the supervision of Dr. Kui Zhang. The current research is focused on ‘Using LSTM machine learning method to do HLA imputation.’

Presented research is about using viral genomic sequences to predict human-infecting viruses.

Abstract: Covid-19 pandemic results in crucial modification in our lives. To prevent outburst of a new virus, it is essential to understand if a virus is capable of infecting humans. As the technology of genomic sequence detection is getting mature, it is efficient and consequential if we could analyze the virus characteristics and perform the prediction based on the given sequences. The goal of her paper is to predict if a virus is a zoonotic virus and evaluate the extent of the zoonotic virus.

Also, I would like to appreciate my advisor Dr. Kui Zhang for the guidance of this paper and my career. It is a great pleasure to study in this department.

-Xiaoqing Gao

Xiaoqing was awarded First Place in the competition. Such an amazing experience and so very impressive to do this in just 3-minutes.

If you see Xiaoqing please join me in congratulating on such a huge accomplishment! We are so proud of you.

Michigan Tech Hosts Copper Country Workshop on Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Data Sciences

CAMS and the Department of Mathematics successfully organized the Copper Country Workshop on Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Data Sciences, July 5-7, 2022 at Michigan Technological University. The goal of the workshop is to bring leading researchers to discuss the recent developments in applied mathematics, statistics, and data science, and build collaborations among the participants from different areas.

The workshop attracted 47 participants including faculty and students. There were 30 speakers from 19 universities including:

  • Auburn University
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • The George Washington University
  • Iowa State University
  • Kansas State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Purdue University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of South Carolina
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • York University

Sessions of note included:

  • High-Performance Spectral Methods for Scalable Graph Embedding and Robust Machine Learning by Zhuo Feng of Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Coupling Learning With Classical Computational Inversion by Kui Ren of Columbia University
  • Deterministic-Statistical Approach for Moving Sources With Sparse Partial Data by Yanfang Liu of The George Washington University
  • Learning Dirichlet-to-Neumann Maps From Randomly Sampled Points: A Consistency Result by Yang Yang of Michigan Technological University
  • Bayesian Hierarchical Modelling for Process Optimization by Min Wang of the University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Visualization of Mixed-featured Datasets by Fan Dai of Michigan Technological University

Visit the workshop website to see a list of all the session titles and speakers. To learn more about the Copper Country Workshop, please contact Michigan Tech’s Mathematical Sciences department chairperson Jiguang Sun.

Parallel Time Integration Workshop to be Hosted by Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech’s Department of Mathematical Sciences will host the NSF-CBMS Summer Workshop on Parallel Time Integration from August 1 – 5th, 2022. The free workshop will feature ten lectures by Martin J. Gander, Université de Genève, an expert in parallel time integration. The primary focus of the proposed parallel-in-time workshop is to educate and inspire researchers and students in new and innovative numerical techniques for the parallel-in-time solution of large-scale evolution problems on modern supercomputing architectures, and to stimulate further studies in their analysis and applications. This workshop aligns with the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) objective: “increase coherence between technology for modeling/simulation and data analytics.”

Image of Professor Gander
Professor Martin J. Gander, Université de Genève

Register for the workshop today. Registration closes on July 1, 2022.

More on the parallel-in-time workshop.

Computational simulations are a key part of scientific research for government, industry, and academia, complementing laboratory experimentation and theory.  However, changes in computer architectures are leading to future supercomputers that will have billions of processors, as opposed to millions today. Further, each individual processor will be no faster than individual processors today.  Thus, these next-generation machines will no longer automatically provide a speedup to existing computational simulations. New mathematical algorithms must be developed and deployed that can utilize this unprecedented number of processors.

One such class of mathematical algorithms, parallel-in-time methods, is the subject of this workshop.  In particular, parallel-in-time methods add a new dimension (time) of parallelism and thus allow existing computer models to be extended to next-generation supercomputers. The range of potential applications for parallel-in-time to dramatically speed up is vast, e.g., computational molecular dynamics (e.g., protein and DNA folding), computational biology (e.g., heart modeling), computational fluid dynamics (e.g., combustion, climate, and weather), and machine learning.

Using appropriate mathematical methodologies from the theory of partial differential equations in a functional analytic setting, numerical discretizations, integration techniques, and convergence analyses of these iterative methods, conference participants will be exposed to the numerical analysis of parallel-in-time methodologies and their implementations. The proposed topics include multiple shooting type methods, waveform relaxation methods, time-multigrid methods, and direct time-parallel methods. These lectures will be accessible to a wide audience from various disciplines, including mathematics, computer science and engineering.

About your lecturer, Professor Martin J. Gander

Professor Martin J. Gander is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He is an internationally recognized expert in the area of Domain Decomposition Methods (DDM) and time-parallel integrators, among many other research interests. Professor Gander has published over 200 manuscripts and serves on the editorial boards of various journals, including SIAM Review, Computers and Mathematics with Applications, and the Electronic Transactions in Numerical Analysis. Professor Gander has also published two textbooks, Scientific Computing: an Introduction using Maple and MATLAB and Numerical Analysis of Partial Differential Equations using Maple and MATLAB.

Professor Gander is a highly accomplished and engaging lecturer, winning several teaching awards over his career. Professor Gander recently conducted a short course on Schwarz methods in August 2015, a short course on Time Parallel integration at the CEMRACS Summer School 2016: Numerical challenges in parallel scientific computing, and has given over 120 plenary lectures over his career. “In addition to being a leading researcher in the area of parallel time integrators, Professor Gander has influenced many lives through his commitment to training the next generation of scientists and engineers. We are so grateful that Professor Gander will be the principal lecturer at our NSF-CBMS summer school,” says Benjamin Ong, conference organizer and associate professor of mathematical sciences.

Thank you to our sponsors

The conference organizers, Professor Benjamin Ong (Michigan Technological University) and Professor Jacob Schroder (University of New Mexico) thank the sponsors for making this free conference with travel support possible: the National Science Foundation (NSF), Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Igor Kliakhandler, and the Time-X H2020 project.

Applied and Computational Mathematics Major Anthony Palmer Wins Best Poster at Computing [MTU] Showcase

Michigan Tech double major in applied and computational mathematics and physics, Anthony Palmer, along with computer science PhD candidate Elijah Cobb, won the best poster recently in the Computing [MTU] Showcase for “Universal Sensor Description Schema: An extensible metalanguage to support heterogenous, evolving sensor data.”

Learn more about their accomplishment.

Image of Anthony Palmer and Elijah Cobb with their poster at Michigan Tech’s Computing Showcase
Anthony Palmer (left) and Elijah Cobb present their poster at Michigan Tech’s Computing [MTU] Showcase