Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Arts and
Faculty of Pure and Applied Science
M E M O R A N D U M
Dean R. Drummond, Dean G. Wu
Neal Madras, Chair
Hiring priorities for the coming year
During the past Winter term, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics embarked on a series of discussions about its future directions, in the short and medium term, which included aspects of research goals, undergraduate programs, and governance issues.
As one result of these discussions, the Department Council approved a set of short-term hiring priorities, which is the purpose of this memo. Our requests for ITEC positions in Arts have been formulated and forwarded separately.
We are faced with several retirements in the summer of
2004: Mort Abramson, Julia Brown, Martin
Muldoon, and David Promislow in Arts; and Jim Laframboise and Al Stauffer in FPAS (both cross-appointed
with Physics and Astronomy). In
To summarize, our hiring priorities for the short term are positions are in the following areas:
(i) Computational Mathematics or Mathematical Modelling
(ii) Bioinformatics (not necessarily in the Math & Stats department; rank open)
(iii) Statistics (rank open)
(iv) Computational Mathematics or Mathematical Modelling, again
(i) Foundations of Computation, Mathematical Analysis, and either Financial Mathematics or Operations Research
Here are more details on the above items.
1. Faculty of Pure and Applied Science:
Retirements in FPAS are a serious concern for the near future. Besides Al Stauffer and Jim Laframboise, who are both cross-appointed to our department and to Physics and Astronomy, there are other faculty members entirely in Physics and Astronomy who have been frequent teachers of MATH courses and will be retiring soon: Jurij Darewych and Helen Freedhoff. In addition to the strain that this puts on our staffing of specialized upper-level courses (see below), this also makes it harder to fully staff our large 1000- and 2000-level courses (including MATH 1013, 1014, 1025, and 2015) with full-time faculty members. In light of this situation, we feel justified in asking that the replacements of Stauffer and Laframboise both be 100% in Mathematics and Statistics, rather than joint with other departments in FPAS. Our teaching needs amply justify this.
1. (i,iv): Computational Mathematics or Mathematical Modeling
It will continue to be a challenge to staff our courses in
Numerical Analysis and Computational Mathematics (MATH 3090, 3241, 3242, 4141,
6652, 6911, as well as a new 4000 level course in numerical financial
mathematics that will be introduced for FW05), with the retirement of J. Laframboise, M. Muldoon, and A. Stauffer. The main people remaining who are primarily
in this area are H. Huang and D. Liang. Our new
1. (ii): Bioinformatics
A hiring for one position in Bioinformatics was approved in FPAS for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in Winter 2004. At the time of this writing, that search is still in progress, but we are optimistic about the likelihood of a successful conclusion to this search. This search was part of an initiative in FPAS to promote the field of Bioinformatics at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as at the research level. Curricular discussions continue, but it is clear that at least one more appointment targeted to Bioinformatics would be needed to support this initiative. The current search was based in Math & Stats, but it was essentially interdisciplinary. The search committee included a faculty member from Computer Science and another from Biology, and we did not restrict our search to candidates who were primarily mathematicians or statisticians. Further searches in Bioinformatics should retain this character, whichever department they are based in. Hiring is competitive in this area, and we should have the option of seeking more experienced researchers to provide the needed leadership for this interdisciplinary field. For these reasons, we request at least one more position in Bioinformatics, preferably Rank Open, in any of the three departments of Biology, Computer Science, or Mathematics & Statistics.
1. (iii): Statistics
There are currently 10 core faculty members in Statistics in
Arts (S. Chamberlin, G. Denzel, X. Gao, H. Massam, G. Monette, P. Peskun, P. Song, S.
Wang, Y. Wu, and also Y. Fu who was just hired and will begin on
2. Faculty of Arts:
In Arts, our concern is to maintain our complement in light of the 2004 retirements, and to solidify certain crucial areas. In each of these areas, searches at the Assistant Professor level should be appropriate.
2.(i) Our three main priority areas are (a) Foundations of Computation, (b) MathematicalAnalysis, and (c) Financial Mathematics or Operations Research. At the time that our discussions took place within the department, we felt that these three areas were of approximately equal importance and we chose not to rank one over another at that time.
2.(i)(a) Foundations of Computation:
Foundations of Computation includes
fields such as Category Theory, Complexity, and Logic. These are all parts of mathematics that are
of particular interest to areas of theoretical computer science, and we expect
that such an appointment will promote links with the Department of Computer
Science and Engineering. The Category
Theory group, which has been very active at
2.(i)(b) Mathematical Analysis:
Current members of the Mathematical Analysis group are M. Muldoon, D. Promislow, and M.W. Wong. Of these, Muldoon and Promislow retire in 2004. This loss is partly offset by the hiring of P. Gibson to start in July 2004, but we feel that another hire in this area is important. Mathematical Analysis is one of the central areas of mathematics, and interacts directly with other areas in the department such as set theory, topology, algebra, probability, and applied mathematics. Some members of our Applied Math group (J. Wu, HP Zhu) could be classified as working in “Applied Analysis”, but this is quite different from having people whose focus is on the Pure Math side of Analysis. It is also a core area of our undergraduate and undergraduate curriculum, with the required courses 1000, 1010, 3010, 3110, 3210, 4010, 6280, and 6461; in addition, we have various required Differential Equations courses, which could be classified as either Pure or Applied Analysis (2270, 3271, 6340, 6350). In the long run, we hope to have four active researchers in pure Mathematical Analysis, but for now we request one appointment in Mathematical Analysis.
2.(i)(c) Financial Mathematics or Operations Research:
The areas of Financial Mathematics and Operations Research
are important to our department in many ways.
They are directly relevant to the largest program in Mathematics and
Statistics, which is Mathematics for Commerce.
Besides a 3-year degree, Math for Commerce also has Honours
streams in Actuarial Science and in Operations Research, which continue to
attract strong students. The enrolments
in the 3-year degree have been declining in recent years, but this seems to be
offset by the steady enrolments in related streams of Business & Society
(Operations Research, Applied Statistics).
In cooperation with the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS), we
continue to offer our students the opportunity to earn the CORS Diploma by
completing a prescribed set of courses en route to their Honours
degree, and we have several students each year who do this. (We note that the natural home for this
The area of Financial Mathematics has some overlap with Math for Commerce (in particular, courses in Math of Investment and Business Math, as well as some Actuarial courses), but it is more directly essential to our popular Graduate Diploma in Financial Engineering and to our recent Computational Mathematics B.Sc. degree, which has a stream in Financial Mathematics (as well as a stream in Actuarial Math). Also, Financial Mathematics is an increasingly popular area of Ph.D. research, and we have to turn down many strong applicants for lack of supervisor. H. Ku (hired in 2002) is the only person in the department whose main research is in Financial Math. T. Salisbury and D. Promislow have also been active in this area, but they both have other primary areas of research (and Promislow retires in 2004). M. Morales (hired in 2004 for our Actuarial position) will lend some additional support to this area. However, the supervisory needs for the Financial Engineering projects will be more pressing once Promislow retires.
Finally, in the near future, there will be several retirements of people who have been mainstays of the Math for Commerce program at the undergraduate level: M. Abramson, P. Olin, D. Pelletier. We hope that future leadership in this program will come from the young people that we have recently hired (J. Ho, H. Ku, M. Morales), as well as one more person in Operations Research and one more in Financial Math. Accordingly, for the present, we request one position in either Financial Mathematics or Operations Research.
2. (ii) Algebra:
Algebra is one of the two central area
of mathematics (analysis being the other).
Our current researchers in core algebra are
3. Mathematics Education:
The joint appointment in Math Education would support our
successful M.A. for Teachers program (designed for in-service high school math
teachers), our undergraduate courses that are of interest to future teachers
(MATH 1580, 1590, and 4100A; note that 1580 will soon be cross-listed with
Education), and more generally to support the large number of our majors who
are seriously considering a career in teaching.
This position can be considered as a replacement for Pat Rogers, who was
cross-appointed between our department and Education, and took early retirement
to become Dean of Education at