Mathematical Tools Improve Theory, Prediction in Psychiatry

With the recent emergence of mathematical models to integrate insights emerging from studies of the brain and behavior, this approach has been used to develop new theoretical perspectives that can enrich data analysis to help explain mechanisms behind complex psychiatric diseases improved psychiatric treatment. The issue was organized by guest editors Dr. Tiago Maia of University of Lisbon, Dr. Michael Frank of Brown University, and Dr. Quentin Huys of University of Zurich and ETH Zurich.

“The state-of-the-art in research in psychiatry involves a bewildering variety of approaches and findings that often do not combine into a coherent whole,” said Dr. Maia.

But advancements in mathematical theory-based approaches are now making it possible to provide a more unified explanation with the power to predict phenomena.

“This approach has been a cornerstone of monumental achievements in theoretical physics that have had tremendous practical impact,” said Dr. Maia.

“I see theory-based computational psychiatry as a long-overdue effort to finally bring to psychiatry the same rigorous mathematical tools that have so successfully shaped fields such as physics — enriched now with the capacity for computational simulations, which vastly expand the range of problems that can be addressed mathematically.”

According to Dr. Huys, although the clinical utility of mathematical models in mental health remains to be proven, great excitement around computational psychiatry reflects the belief in its potential.

“The studies included in this issue of Biological Psychiatry showcase the utility of this formal approach and that it can enrich understanding and guide principled questions in need of further investigation, spanning a range of issues of central importance,” said Dr. Frank.



New Math Models to Pick Up Where Computers Fail

With the great advances in computer in the recent years, many real-world processes are still so complex that defy the capability of even the most advanced supercomputers that’s why a call is being made to help.

As part of that effort, Us department of Energy has given a grant of $ 647,000 to Oregon State University to have advanced mathematics pick up where sheer computing power is inadequate.

The OSU mathematicians will be trying to model the flow of fluid through a porous medium, such as water through soil. It may sound simple, but in practice this can be so extraordinarily complex that there are still more questions than answers.

The program tackles problems of “multi-scale mathematics” – questions that span time scales from fractions of a second to years, and the atomic level to whole watersheds. The problems are so vast they cannot easily be broken down into simpler questions that could be solved using traditional mathematical techniques and models.

Even in the study of something as basic as water moving through soil, what you see depends on what window you look through, Showalter said.

Showalter said that conceptually, it’s similar to trying to describe the path of a butterfly on a long migration, rather than the up-and-down motion of its body with each cycle of its wings. Existing mathematics is able to do this averaging or “upscaling” in many cases.

Primary investigators on the OSU research will try to create new mathematical models that are able to tackle these topics, and then do analysis and simulation to study their accuracy.

With success, they said, someday the problems may be simplified enough that a supercomputer can handle them.





Indiana Public School set to Introduce Computer Science by 2021

Public school districts across Indiana are required to include computer science in their curriculum for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade by 2021. Monroe County Community School Corp, as of 2017, had introduced introductory computer science courses for its middle class and high school students.

Elementary schools only had numerous coding and robotics clubs but lacked a computer science curriculum. This is where people like Katy Sparks, the district’s STEM, and computer science coach and a member of the MCCSS.

The MCCSS team spent much of the summer creating a computer science curriculum for the K-6 students in the district. They come up with easy-to-grasp lessons that teachers would easily teach in classrooms.

Since September, Spark and her team have created numerous lessons and come up with classes whereby they teach computer science standards. Ideally, the lesson id taught in pairs. The coach leads one while the teacher takes on the other in such a way the teacher is not overburdened.

Meanwhile, the standards include but not limited to coding. Additionally, the standards also enlighten the students on the effects of technology and equip them with necessary online ethics. Some ethics include how to use technology positively.

In elementary school, students work with block-based coding platforms, in middle school, they are introduced to a written code while in high school the actual coding takes place.

Children at elementary level do not use computers to code. Basically, the lessons are related to math and languages. Sparks refers to the lessons as “unplugged.”

In the meantime, teachers are gradually integrating the curriculum into their teachings and coaches are hopeful that they will soon feel comfortable teaching most of the lessons on their own.



Top Mathematics and Computer Science Jobs

The following are the most lucrative jobs for mathematics and computer science majors

  1. Software Engineer

Job description: as a software engineer you are tasked with creating the actual programs that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer and other devices. Additionally, software engineers create underlying systems that control networks or run these devices.

  1. Programmer Analyst

Job description: Basically, computer systems analysts study organization’s current computer systems and procedures and come up with solutions that let the organization’s system carry out tasks more efficiently and effectively.

  1. Programmer

Job description: computer programmers ideally write and test codes that run computer programs and applications. They turn the program designs created by software engineers into instructions that programs can execute.

  1. Consultant

Job description: management analysts study an organization and propose ways that can improve the efficiency and productivity of an organization. Ideally, they look for ways to reduce expenses while increasing returns.

  1. Systems Administrator

Job description: they regularly monitor a company’s network and computer systems which are a vital component of any organization.

  1. Computer Hardware Engineer

Job description: Ideally, they design, develop and test computer components such as circuit boards. They need to stay abreast of current trends in order to develop hardware that can accommodate the latest application.

  1. Web Developer

Job description: they basically create the technical structure for websites and make sure they are working accordingly and accessible through various devices. They create sites to maximize the number of visitors through SEO.

  1. Computer Network Architect

Job description: they design, implement and maintain network systems. They can include local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranet and extranet.