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A Gift of Numeric Proportions

What do oceans, tectonic plates, solar energy, and genetic research studies all have in common? They require tools that allow scientists to simulate reality, test theories, and predict behavior. And thanks to a $3.9 million investment by alumnus Fariborz Maseeh, Portland State will become one of the go-to universities for computational mathematics and statistics research, expertise, and education.

“Portland is an extraordinary city and deserves an extraordinary educational institution,” said Fariborz Maseeh. “I am glad to help.”

"Extraordinary" appropriately describes the field of computational science. Essentially, computational mathematics and statistics help other scientists to model complex systems such as freeways, the human brain, molecules, and even climate change. This enables scientists to predict behavior, build proteins, and design safer highways. Research in computational science is not an end in itself, it is the beginning of research yet to be done in health sciences, finance, engineering, sustainability, and more.

Maseeh envisions that this investment will accelerate PSU's reputation as a research institution that draws internationally renowned faculty and outstanding students.

“The main purpose for this investment is to position the Mathematics and Statistics Department to not only serve all of PSU's needs for research,” said Maseeh, “but also to meet Portland industries' needs for academic collaborations and facilitate breakthroughs.”

Life is a numbers game, and thanks to Maseeh, PSU will be a leader in studying it.

Computational Science in our Lives
Weather Map Forecasting air quality, pollution, and the weather – With support from the National Science Foundation and NASA, PSU's computational scientists conduct climate modeling, air quality forecasting, and weather prediction.
Solar Panels Creating more efficient solar cells – PSU computational science faculty have teamed up with members of the Physics Department to develop a breakthrough anti-reflective coating that helps solar cells absorb more energy from the sun.
Freeways Promoting markets to reduce carbon emissions – PSU's mathematicians use computational science to create tools to optimize emerging carbon markets and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere.
Glacier Predicting the impacts of climate change – PSU computational science and Department of Geology faculty are investigating how and why ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica are changing and what that might mean for Earth's climate.
Neuron Uncovering the deepest aspects of how we learn - Working with neuroscientists at Oregon Health & Science University, computational scientists at PSU are researching how our brains function and how our neurons learn.
School of fish Improving coordination of cars, planes, and satellites – To better coordinate vehicular movement, PSU's computational scientists have uncovered mathematical principles by which birds create flocks and fish create schools without colliding with each other.