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The Summer Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics Accelerator (SUMSA) is an eight week mathematics and statistics summer bootcamp for undergraduates at U.S. colleges and universities which will be hosted by IMSI on the campus of the University of Chicago. The aim of the program is to help prepare students for the rigors of graduate school in a mathematical science with lecture series and problems sessions. The primary focus of this bootcamp is basic coursework; in particular, the program is not an REU, which tends to be more project-oriented.

The bootcamp offers an avenue for “standardizing” the backgrounds of undergraduates to help them develop competitive candidacies for graduate school. The topics likely to be covered will include:

  • Linear algebra: real and complex vector spaces (including infinite-dimensional ones) linear transformations, bases and dimension, algebra of linear transformations, invertibility of linear transformations and isomorphism of vector spaces, determinants, positive-definite inner products, symmetric and orthogonal linear transformations and projections, singular value decompositions
  • Topology of metric spaces: continuous functions, open, closed, compact, and connected sets, convergence of sequences, completeness, Heine-Borel, Bolzano Weierstrass, Banach Fixed Point Theorem
  • Advanced calculus: differentiability of functions in R^n, critical points and constrained extrema, vector fields and flows, Inverse and Implicit Function Theorems. Integration in several variables, Fubini’s Theorem, Change of Variables Formula, Stokes’ Theorem with special cases in low dimensions
  • Probability: Overview of probability models for random phenomena, independence and dependence, distribution theory, probability inequalities and limit theorems, probabilistic foundations of statistical inference, Bayes rule and diagnostic testing
  • Statistical modeling: Linear and non-linear models, regression analysis, categorical data analysis, basics of inference
  • Data science: Data structures, missing and irregular data, regression analysis and supervised learning, training, testing and cross validation for performance evaluation, optimization

The bootcamp will be an intensive experience; participants will be expected to invest a substantial amount of time working through the material outside lectures and problem sessions.

Accepted applicants will be offered travel support and housing on the University of Chicago campus, as well as a stipend. The bootcamp is only available to participants who are able to attend in person. Participants are expected to spend the full eight weeks in residence during the program.


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This program is open to students who will be rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors at U.S. colleges and universities and will be at least 18 years old at the time the program begins. Participants must be able to spend the full eight weeks in residence during the program.

Participants should have had a full year of calculus (or equivalent experience), gained some familiarity with computational linear algebra (including representation of linear transformations by matrices, matrix algebra, and determinants), and had some experience with mathematical proofs by the time the program begins. Students who have already taken theoretically rigorous courses in both linear algebra and analysis are most likely not a good fit for this program.

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The deadline for applications was February 16, 2024.


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  1. Does the recommendation need to come from a faculty member as stated online?
    1. A Faculty member and/or an instructor of a mathematics or statistics course is allowed. 
  2. Is this intended for undergraduates studying in the field of the sciences (physics, computer science, chemistry), or for specifically math students?
    1. SUMSA is intended for students who want to obtain a PhD in the mathematical sciences. So, for example, a Physics undergrad major would be eligible if they want to get a PhD in Statistics, but they are ineligible if they want to get a PhD in Physics.
  3. What is the funding for SUMSA?
    1. Stipend: Last year, the stipend was $5400 for the entire program; it is paid out roughly monthly. We expect that the stipend amount will stay the same this year, or possibly go higher.
    2. Meal plan (breakfast)
    3. Reimbursements for airfare
    4. Reimbursement for taxis to and from airport
    5. Lodging is provided on campus at no cost to the student
  4. Will the classes be counted as college credit?
    1. No
  5. Do I have to be a US citizen apply?
    1. You must be enrolled at a U.S. institution, and either be in the US on a valid student visa, or be a US permanent resident or citizen
  6. Is it possible for recent graduates to apply for this program?
    1. Yes
  7. Can SUMSA possibly lead to/connect me with the grad program offered at U of Chicago?
    1. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with grad students in UChicago Math department. However, SUMSA is not intended as a pipeline into graduate programs specifically at UChicago.
  8. When will decisions be made?
    1. By mid-March
  9. I am at a non-US institution. Can I apply?
    1. No, you are not eligible for SUMSA