June 22-July 31, 2020
This was the final week of the summer school. The pressure was on: presentations were to be given on Thursday afternoon, and final reports from the subgroups were due on Friday, 1 p.m.
Most of the early part of the week was devoted to group discussions and preparations for the presentations. Presentations were scheduled for Thursday afternoon, each presentation was to take 45 minutes, including Q&A time and a short break.
On Wednesday, several groups held a dry run with their leader. Steve Schecter and I had worked with the two subgroups on “Impact of Behavior.” I was treated to a preview of the talk by Carl and John Michael, who had implemented an SIS model on an adaptive network, and the talk by Alanna, Anna, Anne, and Sydney on a model proposed by Poletti et al., which incorporated game-theoretic concepts including an assessment of the cost of switching from “normal” to “adjusted” behavior in an SEIR model. Both groups had prepared an impressive show, which needed only minor adjustments.
The presentations on Thursday afternoon were given in five parallel sessions. The audience of each session consisted of three leaders and/or mentors, who heard five presentations by groups other than the ones they had worked with. Some of the experts also listened in during presentations of their choice. With Punit (one of our mentors), I heard presentations on Disease and Environment (Umbrella group: Climate), Age-structured Populations (Umbrella group: Social Justice), and Pop-up Testing (Umbrella group: Resource Allocation). They were well prepared and informative, with potential for further research.
Friday morning was crush time to get the reports in by the deadline of 1 p.m. These reports had to be done in LaTeX; the text was supposed to be no more than three pages, with two more pages allowed for figures and references. Chris had prepared a template in Overleaf to guide the process and facilitate the transfer of information to the final report that will be submitted to AIM.
At the same time, we entertained several visitors during the morning session. Estelle gave an overview of the origin and research opportunities offered by the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM), the NSF-supported mathematics research institute that provided the funds for the summer school. At the invitation of Brian Conley, the director of AIM, Juan Meza, director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) at the NSF, paid a virtual visit to the summer school; Juan was shown around the Sococo workspace and met with a group of students.
Chris had prepared a discussion on diversity, which included several interactive polls, showing the danger of linear thinking with regards to intellectual curiosity, creativity and other factors that affect our approach to diversity in practice.
The afternoon was spent in groups again, mostly to discuss future plans. Since our Sococo space will remain live after the summer school, we can continue to interact via Sococo. Mary Lou proposed that we meet for tea on Wednesday afternoons from 4-4:30 p.m. A musical farewell orchestrated by Chris concluded the summer school.