Call for Participation
Autumn Residency in Mathematics, Computation, & Biology
September 2015 – December 2015
The Topos Residency is a four-month nonprofit boarding program designed to forge lasting social connections across research fields that deserve to be brought closer together. In particular, it aims to cultivate deep understanding and friendship between researchers in different fields by housing them together in an environment carefully optimized for supportive social dynamics, efficient group learning, and spirited intellectual creativity.
Specific objectives are:
- To maintain a thriving culture wherein people not only like each other, but are consistently present to support each other in doing their best work;
- To ensure that everyone comes away with a basic understanding of everyone else’s field;
- To abstract away the pedestrian details of running a group house and associated events, so that people are free to devote themselves to the things most meaningful to them;
- To complement rather than conflict with the tenure of a full-time position elsewhere;
- To produce interesting and useful output, whether new results or new resources;
- To form a strong alumni network spanning every field of scientific research.
A small group of researchers representing different fields, whose interests relate to a common theme, will be invited to live for four months in a house in San Francisco. Thematic events — workshops, invited talks, dinners, etc. — will be held regularly, totaling about 10 hours per week, mostly during evenings and weekends. Among the first of these will be a series of expository lectures by the participants themselves on a topic of their expertise.
The theme of this trimester is:
Mathematics and computation applied to and inspired by biology.
We invite anyone to apply who is interested in problems relating to the following:
- Biology is extraordinarily complex, yet our two best tools for controlling complexity, namely mathematics and computation, are largely unemployed by biologists.
- Powerful computational techniques such as deep neural networks are maturing quickly, yet are not finding applications nearly as quickly in areas far removed from the imaginations of their inventors.
- Mathematics has flourished around problems in physics but not nearly as much around problems in biology, ecology, etc.
The exact cost of attendance will depend on the supply of and demand for the various room types, but will comprise four months’ rent at approximately the following monthly rates:
- $900 — hostel-style room
- $1,400 — partitioned room
- $2,400 — private room
(If cost is a serious issue, let us know and we will do our best to accomodate.)
The program start and end dates are September 12 and December 20, however participants are more than welcome to stay at the house from September 1 to December 31. (This is to provide flexibility for holiday travel.)
If interested, please contact the organizers.
- Is this full-time?
- Optionally. We are more than happy to include participants with other daytime engagements. Events will be held mostly during evenings and weekends for this reason.
- What are the expectations?
- There is no obligation to work on any specific project or commit any specific amount of time; we only ask that if you attend, you do your part to help us achieve the objectives listed above as best you can. Ways to do this include: notifying in advance of missing an event, being mindful of calm and cleanliness, dealing with any interpersonal issues promptly and respectfully, having a positive attitude in general, and, perhaps most importantly, giving us your honest critical feedback so that we can improve over time.
Please feel free to email the organizers with any questions, comments, or concerns. Critical feedback regarding the program is especially welcome.