Major sum adds up to even better maths thinking

1 February 2021

A $785,000 donation from the US-based Simons Foundation will go to Australia's only maths research in residence program, MATRIX.

MATRIX is a national partnership between ANU, the University of Melbourne and Monash University, which sees maths researchers from across the nation spend time at a dedicated research residence in Victoria.

The residence serves as the main base for mathematical sciences research collaboration for both Australia and the Asia Pacific.

The funding will bolster a range of mathematical sciences research that is helping re-shape modern society, our economy and everyday life, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Interim Director of the ANU Mathematical Science Institute, Professor Stephen Roberts, said MATRIX was an "invaluable" resource for researchers and the funding would have major benefits for researchers and the nation.

"MATRIX is a residential research institute for the mathematical sciences which allows researchers to come together to initiate collaborations and stimulate innovative thinking," he said.

"The workshops are designed to stimulate discussions and out-of-the-box thinking to further develop knowledge in the mathematical sciences as well as on specific questions that mathematics can help resolve.

"MATRIX has hosted research programs in a wide range of pure and applied research areas including infectious diseases; data science; quantum systems; geometry; probability; discrete mathematics; representation theory; mathematics of risk; and high dimensional computing."

MATRIX Director Professor Jan de Gier said: "Advances in mathematics and statistics drive progress and change the way we see the world.

"This international award is a recognition of the quality of mathematical sciences research in Australia and the value that MATRIX adds by facilitating collaborations that contribute to solutions for global problems.

"By its very nature, the impact of mathematical problem solving tends to be long-term. Bringing brilliant and creative minds from across the globe together through residential research institutes is internationally-recognised as the optimal way to deepen mathematical knowledge and stimulate innovative thinking on specific problems.

"One can only image what may evolve by bringing world-leading mathematicians into the room with Australian students and innovators.

"The new alliance with the Simons Foundation is an enormous opportunity for Australia."