Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has announced a grant of $8 million from the Simons Foundation in support of a multi-institution effort focused on tackling fundamental questions in algebra and number theory.
Brown's Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) will lead the four-year effort, which is aimed at bringing new computational resources to research in the two fields, the study of which are at the heart of cryptography, error-correcting codes, and other useful algorithms. Institutions collaborating in the efforts include Boston University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The funding, which will be distributed among the participating institutions, will support the hiring of programmers and staff mathematicians who will perform sophisticated calculations and assemble new databases of mathematical objects.
"When we think of research in pure mathematics, we tend to think of people sitting in quiet rooms with dusty books proving theorems," said ICERM director Brendan Hassett. "The goal of this project is to make the research more collaborative and to take advantage of large-scale cloud computing, databases, and other computer experiments in tackling fundamental questions in arithmetic geometry and number theory."