Developing the Common Language of Computational Science

In October 2018, the Flatiron Institute established its fourth research center to strengthen its mathematical foundation: the Center for Computational Mathematics.

The 3-D structure of an 80S ribosome molecule from Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite responsible for around 50 percent of all malaria cases in humans. Researchers reconstructed the shape from electron microscopy measurements. Structures that vary little from molecule to molecule are shown in blue, whereas regions that vary a lot are shown in red and may need additional measurements and analysis to produce an accurate reconstruction. Image courtesy of Joakim Andén; data from W. Wong et al./eLife 2014

The universe has an inherent elegance illuminated by mathematics. A single class of equations can help describe how planets spin around a star, how blood cells flow through a vein, and how electrons travel along a wire.

In October 2018, the Flatiron Institute established its fourth research center to further the computational tools that play a crucial role in modern science and engineering and strengthen their mathematical foundations. The Center for Computational Mathematics (CCM) collaborates with the institute’s centers for astrophysics, biology and quantum physics and conducts its own research on problems faced by the scientific community at large.

“Like the other centers, CCM will be a place that builds software tools for the greater academic community,” says CCM director Leslie Greengard, who previously directed the Center for Computational Biology (CCB). “The difference is that the other centers typically have a particular application in mind, but the nice thing about mathematics is that often the solutions you develop apply to multiple fields.”


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