SIAM News Blog

On the Recent Growth and Future Paths of the Colombia Section of SIAM

By Andrés Rivera

For more than 12 years, the Colombia Section of SIAM (CoSIAM) has been promoting the application of mathematics within different branches of science and industry in Colombia. The section aims to facilitate the exchange of basic research and novel mathematical methods between applied mathematicians and other scientific and technical personnel.

CoSIAM hosts multiple events for its members throughout the year, such as an Annual Meeting, Math Modelling Challenge, Workshop and International Seminar on Complexity Sciences, and School of Applied and Industrial Mathematics. These and other activities bring together hundreds of students, academics, and industry professionals to improve their knowledge of mathematical theories and techniques in order to solve current industrial and social problems. Recent application areas include the implementation of artificial intelligence to develop a search facility for social networks that protects social leaders in Colombia, as well as sustainable and green supply chain management in the Colombian industrial energy and transport sectors.

The most recent Workshop and International Seminar on Complexity Sciences, which took place in December 2022, focused on Social Transitions — a field of research with exciting emerging applications in the circular economy and sustainability theory. CoSIAM’s Board of Directors and Advisory Committee selected this topic based on members’ research activities and knowledge of mathematical studies in the academic and private spheres within Colombia and around the world. During the seminar—which addressed climate change, governance, sustainable development, food security, new energy, and resilience—researchers from across the nation spoke about their respective projects, discussed the scope and limitations of their approaches, and emphasized the necessity of collaboration for successful implementation.

One strategic tool that increases CoSIAM’s visibility amongst academics and professionals within Colombia and abroad is its YouTube channel. We created the CoSIAM YouTube channel in 2020 in response to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that prevented in-person meetings; though it began modestly, with just three online training courses and one massive open online course (MOOC), the number of subscribers steadily increased. More than 90 videos with over 14,000 total views now populate the channel, which is slowly becoming one of the more popular channels devoted to mathematics on YouTube in Colombia (see Figure 1). Some of our most-viewed lessons include introductions to mathematical modeling, systems dynamics, blockchains, machine learning, data science, optimization theory, and population dynamics. CoSIAM’s Board of Directors has used the channel’s analytics to better understand mathematical trends in Colombia and more precisely and effectively propose CoSIAM courses, mathematical challenges, and MOOCs each year.

Figure 1. Example playlists from the Colombia Section of SIAM’s (CoSIAM) YouTube Channel.

The YouTube channel also provides an avenue through which we can imagine a future for CoSIAM beyond Colombia. For example, CoSIAM training courses receive hundreds of views in Latin American countries like Chile, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. When we discovered that just 10 percent of viewers are women, we implemented a policy that requires at least one of the training course speakers in the School of Applied and Industrial Mathematics to be female. This policy went into effect two years ago, with excellent results for course quality and audience reception.

Additionally, CoSIAM is actively working to increase and strengthen its connections to other SIAM sections. For instance, several CoSIAM members participated in the Annual Meeting of the Mexico Section of SIAM by creating a program of presentations on recent advances in celestial mechanics and optimization theory. Utilizing this platform enables Colombian mathematicians and private sector professionals to showcase their research to SIAM members in other countries. This strategy is naturally reciprocal in nature, and we expect to share a complete event with other SIAM sections in the coming years.

CoSIAM’s next goal is to increase the number of members and subscribers to its YouTube channel by adding content from the aforementioned series of four main annual events, as well as short videos of experts (mathematicians, physicists, engineers, economists, and general scientists and professionals) who explain unique mathematical techniques and their applications in the industrial sector. The Board of Directors invites you to join us on this new venture and reach out with ideas for future events and materials.

Andrés Rivera is an associate professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematical sciences from Universidad de Granada in 2012, and his research interests pertain to the qualitative theory of differential equations; celestial mechanics; and nonlinear dynamics of physical, economic, and biological models. Rivera is the current president of the Colombia Section of SIAM. 
blog comments powered by Disqus