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Beyond Research Talks: Optimizing Your Time at the 2024 SIAM Annual Meeting

By Manuchehr Aminian and Kristin Kurianski

The SIAM Annual Meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet peers across the broad spectrum of applied and industrial mathematics. Many attendees focus primarily on minisymposia, contributed talks, and invited presentations, which are indeed valuable and important. However, a wealth of other unique, transformative events during the conference will allow participants—especially students and early-career professionals—to actively partake, learn, and engage with one another.

The in-person component of the 2024 SIAM Annual Meeting (AN24) will take place in Spokane, Wash., from July 8 to 12; it is being held concurrently with the 2024 SIAM Conference on Discrete Mathematics and the 2024 SIAM Conference on Applied Mathematics Education. If you have not yet registered for AN24 and its concurrent meetings, you can do so online. Here, we offer a brief overview of worthwhile happenings beyond the usual research presentations.

Student Days

This series of events occurs throughout the week and provides undergraduate and graduate students with the chance to meet peers and professionals in their fields, attend social gatherings, and network with members of other SIAM student chapters from around the world. The Student Days Orientation will take place from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, just before the AN24 Welcome Reception. A joint Graduate Student Reception and Industry Reception is scheduled for Monday, July 8, at 7:45 p.m.

Poster Session

Attendees enjoyed an interactive poster session at the 2022 SIAM Annual Meeting, which was held in Pittsburgh, Pa., in July 2022. During the 2024 SIAM Annual Meeting, which will take place in Spokane, Wash., this July, the Poster Session and Dessert Reception will allow conference-goers and presenters to mingle and discuss cutting-edge research across a wide variety of mathematical areas. SIAM photo.
Interacting with poster presenters is often a powerful way to meet new people, familiarize yourself with different fields, and learn about novel approaches to broad scientific challenges. As such, consider attending the Poster Session and Dessert Reception from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9. Poster sessions offer a valuable opportunity for attendees to fill personal knowledge gaps on topics with which they are unfamiliar. Listening to an oral presentation is a mostly passive activity, but discussing a poster can engender a more communicative, meaningful experience. In the long term, the mathematical tidbits that you absorb from posters may be just as important as your overall depth of knowledge in your own field.

Receptions

 Simply put, receptions are open events that loosely center around a theme (and provide light refreshments). These occasions are largely welcoming, rather than exclusionary. Even if you only have a mild interest in or connection to the theme, we encourage you to attend. Beyond the usual Welcome Reception on Sunday, the aforementioned Graduate Student Reception and Industry Reception on Monday, and the Poster Session and Dessert Reception on Tuesday, the SIAM Fellows Recognition and Reception will take place on Tuesday, July 9, at 7:45 p.m.; a Spectra Reception (hosted by Spectra, the Association for LGBTQ+ Mathematicians) will occur on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.; and the Community Reception will take place on Wednesday, July 10, at 7:15 p.m. after Caoimhe Rooney’s I.E. Block Community Lecture titled “Go Boldly Where No Math Has Gone Before” (which will be livestreamed and free for those who cannot attend in person). Finally, new this year is an invite-only Donor Appreciation Reception on Thursday, July 11, at 6:15 p.m. in honor of those who have made charitable gifts to SIAM. If you are a SIAM donor and plan to attend, please RSVP online.

Workshops

AN24 will feature multiple workshops in several different forms. The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) will hold minisymposium workshops on Wednesday, July 10, at 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; a panel about career advancement on Thursday, July 11, at 8:30 a.m.; and a minisymposterium (with posters by graduate students in AWM’s Women in Complex and Nonlinear Systems research network) that is concurrent with Tuesday evening’s poster session.

The Workshop Celebrating Diversity minisymposia will take place on Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, at 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. While both these and the AWM workshop sessions are technical talks, we highlight them because they represent communities that are especially welcoming and friendly. If you do not yet feel like you have found your community (many of us started out that way), you might be able to make friends at these events.

Panel Discussions

The panel format provides a chance to ask burning questions about your career trajectory, inquire about funding opportunities, and pose other queries that academic programs might not necessarily address. On Monday, July 8, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., the SIAM Education Committee will sponsor a panel discussion called Industrial Needs for Preparing Students. At 6:45 p.m. that same day, the SIAM Industry Committee will host an Industry Career Panel. Finally, the Panel on Career Advancement at All Stages on Thursday, July 11, at 8:30 a.m. is part of the aforementioned AWM workshop.

Lightning Talks

Another new element of AN24 is the Industry Lightning Symposium. This 30-minute session on Monday, July 8, at 6:15 p.m. will feature two TED-style talks by Gwen Spencer of Netflix and Wotao Yin of the Alibaba Group/Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook, both of whom will speak about their respective experiences in industry.

Minitutorials

The SIAM Education Committee traditionally organizes expert-led minitutorials that serve as introductory walkthroughs for trending topics. The minitutorials at AN24 will take place on Monday, July 8, and Tuesday, July 9, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and cover topics such as best practices for software development, which is important for employment in national laboratories and the corporate sector; automatic differentiation, which underlies data-driven scientific computing and machine learning; computational tools for the analysis of coupled oscillators, which are applicable in fields like neuroscience; and applied topological data analysis, which helps users detect topological structure in data.

AN24 also incorporates three additional 90-minute minitutorials: two related sessions about Mathematical Contributions to Weather and Climate Modeling on Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, at 8:30 a.m., and a tutorial about Optimal Transport and Applications on Thursday, July 11, at 8:30 a.m.

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The AN24 program is still evolving, so don’t forget to check back online for new updates, which will likely include a movie screening of Journeys of Black Mathematicians: Forging Resilience on Monday afternoon and various professional development activities on Thursday. And don’t forget that your AN24 registration grants you access to the meeting’s online component from July 18 to 20, where you will be able to watch any plenary, prize, or minitutorial talks that you may have missed on site — most of which will involve a live Q&A session with the presenter. Several minisymposia and contributed talks will only be available online, so be sure to review the program for topics that interest you.

Lastly, if you will be at AN24 for the entire week, consider allowing yourself some time to explore Spokane! Full conference days can be extremely exhausting, and it’s quite normal for attendees to take a day to engage in a bit of tourism. The walkability between the Spokane Convention Center and nearby sites allows you to maximize your time. Enjoy tastings at celebrated wineries, indulge in Spokane’s thriving food scene, and explore the many attractions of Riverfront Park.

We look forward to the myriad of exciting activities at AN24 and hope to see you there!


Manuchehr Aminian is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His research interests include mathematical modeling, partial differential equations, and mathematical methods in data science.

Kristin Kurianski is an assistant professor of mathematics at California State University, Fullerton. Her research interests include mathematical modeling and wave-type phenomena.
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