National Science Foundation Awards $5 Million Grant To Silicon Valley's American Institute of Mathematics

Funds Earmarked for Creation of New US Math Research Conference Center; Scenic Morgan Hill To Become World-Class Math Destination Visited By Hundreds of Mathematicians Each Year

PALO ALTO, CA--July 12, 2002--The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) today announced that it has been awarded a grant of $5 million by the National Science Foundation. The award is the result of a proposal submitted by AIM as part of a national competition. The funds will be used to support top mathematicians and scientists to attend focused workshops at a new conference center planned for Morgan Hill. AIM, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1994 by local businessmen John Fry and Steve Sorenson, longtime supporters of mathematical research.

The AIM Research Conference Center (ARCC) will be one of only a handful of its kind world wide, and is expected to become a stimulating retreat for some of today's brightest minds as they collaborate to solve important mathematical problems.

"We are extremely gratified to have been awarded this grant," said Brian Conrey, Director of the AIM. "Over the last few years, the American Institute of Mathematics has been a pioneer in the development of groundbreaking collaborations that have led to remarkable mathematical results. The atmosphere of active collaboration at these workshops will lead to novel ways of thinking about--and solving--the critical mathematical problems that are essential for future scientific breakthroughs. Our plans are ambitious, but they are in keeping with the pressing need to address the numerous challenges that confront us."

A new mathematics center
The AIM Research Conference Center is planned for a 190-acre site, located 25 miles south of San Jose in Morgan Hill, CA. Plans proposed by AIM include the use of two existing buildings and the renovation of another large building on the site. The architectural style for the new research center is modeled on the famous "Alhambra," the Moorish palace in Granada, Spain, which is renowned for its fascinating geometric proportions and mathematically intricate patterns.

Once completed, ARCC will have a main lecture hall that seats 100, a dining hall, an extensive library, several additional meeting rooms, and visitor accommodations. Twenty-four weeklong workshops are planned each year, on a diverse range of topics. Up to 32 mathematicians will be housed on-site during each workshop, so that they can focus, as a group, on developing advanced mathematical tools. Sketches of the new ARCC facility can be viewed at the ARCC homepage.

Local reaction very positive
Commenting on the NSF grant, Congressman Mike Honda said, "I congratulate the American Institute of Mathematics on being awarded this significant grant from the National Science Foundation. Mathematics research has contributed to many innovations, such as artificial heart valves, encryption algorithms, and image processing and reconstruction. Ongoing research in fields such as bioinformatics, decryption, and modeling of infectious diseases will contribute greatly to the fight against terrorism, as well as to the health of our economy."

"The city council of Morgan Hill recognizes this unprecedented award for the region," said Dennis Kennedy, Mayor of Morgan Hill. "I applaud John Fry and the American Institute of Mathematics for their success in winning this prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation. I am thrilled that AIM plans to locate to our city, and I am looking forward to the impact that AIM's community outreach will have within our schools and on the culture of Morgan Hill."

The need for a collaborative approach to mathematics
Currently, mathematics is flourishing because of a growing need to model complex phenomena, and increased public awareness of its importance as the foundation for our technology-driven world. Hundreds of mathematicians at dozens of geographically distributed universities are making seminal contributions to the subject. Whereas fifty years ago mathematical collaboration was relatively rare, today approximately half of all mathematical papers are written by multiple authors, with rich results for the field. Mathematics conferences, traditionally important in the development of mathematics, are emerging as crucial to continuing and extending this increased level of collaboration.

Recently, a New York conference orchestrated by AIM was attended by more than 100 of the world's leading mathematicians, who focused their attention on the Riemann hypothesis, a 143 year-old problem which is considered one of the central unsolved problems in mathematics. The conference was featured extensively in the July 2 edition of the New York Times.

"Progress in mathematics is pivotal to progress in all of the sciences," added Conrey. "The ARCC facility will be spectacular - to inspire spectacular mathematics."

About the American Institute of Mathematics
The American Institute of Mathematics is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the frontiers of mathematical knowledge through focused research projects, sponsored conferences, and the development of a wide range of research tools made freely available over the internet. AIM is also involved in educational and outreach activities, especially those that further the integration of young people into mathematical research. AIM is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and is almost entirely funded by private donations. For more information, visit the AIM homepage.