The Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI) is a mathematical sciences research institute funded by the National Science Foundation. It is managed by the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is hosted at the University of Chicago.
The essential mission of IMSI is to apply rigorous mathematics and statistics to urgent, complex scientific and societal problems, and to spur transformational change in the mathematical sciences and the mathematical sciences community. This mission is based on a vision with three fundamental elements: innovation, communication, and diversity.
IMSI is animated by a commitment to furthering innovation in the mathematical sciences. This commitment is rooted in a recognition of the pervasive role of the mathematical sciences in the wider enterprise of research, science, and technology, and the influence of that enterprise on the society we live in. Insights which arise in the abstract precincts of the mathematical sciences can have profound effects on society. IMSI aims to facilitate innovation in the mathematical sciences with awareness of and responsiveness to this interdependence. Scientific activity at IMSI is focused on applications of the mathematical sciences, with an emphasis on questions of importance to society at large. Much of the activity at IMSI aligns with a set of scientific themes which have been chosen as focal points for research at IMSI. These themes will evolve over time; current IMSI themes are described here.
The second element of the vision for IMSI is a focus on effective communication about the mathematical sciences. Research in the mathematical sciences is generally couched in the precise and technical language developed by experts to communicate among themselves. This form of communication is essential to advancing research in the mathematical sciences, but it is often a barrier to the dissemination of ideas across disciplinary boundaries, as well as to audiences outside of the mathematical sciences. IMSI will work to help participants in its programs improve their skill at communicating with new audiences as well as with potential collaborators in other disciplines. Organizing committees for long programs will be expected to formulate and implement plans for facilitating communication among members of the typically interdisciplinary groups of researchers they assemble.
The third element of the vision is a focus on diversity. Research in the mathematical sciences is an activity that has the potential to bring meaning and fulfillment into the lives of those who participate in it. It achieves this through the satisfactions available through curiosity-driven research in theoretical mathematical sciences, through the interplay of the mathematical sciences with other disciplines and domains of inquiry, and through beneficial contributions to society at large. This potential is most likely to be realized through the participation of people with a variety of insights, experiences, and perspectives. One of the fundamental intentions behind IMSI is to offer broad and equitable avenues of access to its programming and to create an environment that promotes the fullest possible flourishing of science and the human beings who engage in it.