The ACMS Program
The Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences program is a multidisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program at the University of Washington. The aim of the program is to provide a solid foundation in both applied and computational mathematical science, combined with a focus on an area of application.
The ACMS program is now running at almost full capacity - at the end of the Spring quarter, 2003, there were 191 ACMS majors, 9 shy of the target enrollment of 200. This is up from the previous year and continues the steady growth of the ACMS major over the six years of the program's existence. ACMS's success is a testament to the vision and creativity of the mathematical sciences departments in the University. Since the program itself has no faculty, offers no courses, and has an annual budget of only $6000, its success entirely depends on the cooperative spirit of the four participating departments: Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, Mathematics, and Statistics. These departments work together to insure that the ACMS students receive core training in mathematics, statistics, modeling, and scientific computation. Students must also take advanced training in one of the following eight areas of specialization: Biological and Life Sciences, Discrete Mathematics and Algorithms, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Mathematical Economics, Operations Research, Scientific Computing, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Statistics. Consequently, the program also owes a great debt to the many departments in the Colleges of Arts and Science, Business, Engineering, Forest Resources, and Ocean and Fisheries Sciences that have opened up their junior and senior level courses to ACMS majors. It is a great credit to the University of Washington that in times of enormous financial stress and constrained resources, such a diverse interdisciplinary program can thrive with virtually no resources of its own. The program relies entirely on voluntary contributions from the four mathematical sciences departments and the spirit of cooperation and sense of common purpose within the University academic community at large. A concrete demonstration of this spirit of cooperation comes from the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences. This year CS&SS gave the ACMS program a much-needed boost by donating $2000 for an update to the ACMS website. The website is the main source of information on the ACMS program, so this update will have a huge impact on facilitating course planning for our majors, and publicizing the program both on and off campus.
The response and enthusiasm for the ACMS program across academic departments and colleges has been extremely encouraging: streamlined double major requirements have been established with numerous departments, many individual faculty have opened their majors-restricted classes to our students, and faculty across the University have mentored our students in undergraduate research projects. The ACMS Seminar has also acted as a focal point for interdisciplinary activity and to introduce students to the vast variety of mathematical research occurring at the cutting edge of science, business, engineering, and industry. The seminar has a theme for each quarter. Within the last year some of these have been ``The Top Ten Algorithms of the Twentieth Century,'' ``Mathematics in Industry,'' and ``Undergraduate Research Opportunities in the Mathematical Sciences.'' This Autumn the theme is ``Biology and the Mathematical Sciences.'' Speakers for the seminar come from all across campus and throughout the Puget Sound area. Not only do the ACMS students enjoy the seminar, but it is well attended by graduate students and faculty from a variety of disciplines. Indeed, on some occasions the audience overflows the room and we must move to a larger lecture hall. It is an exciting venue where students learn about the state of the art in current mathematical science research and applications at an accessible level. Perhaps this is why it is enjoyed by so many faculty and graduate students as well.
In the final analysis though, it is the commitment, talent, and creativity of the ACMS students themselves that have made the program a success. The program is sustained by their brilliant potential and hard work. Congratulations to this year's 57 ACMS graduates on a job well done!
Visit the ACMS web site for more information.