2018 MPE2013+ Workshop – June 10 – 14, 2018

The Reconnect 2013 workshop was held at Morgan State University on water infrastructure and risk analysis. The Reconnect 2013 workshop was held at Morgan State University on water infrastructure and risk analysis.

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013+ (MPE2013+) Workshop: Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) 2018: Mathematical and Computational tools for Decision Making


Where: Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania

When: June 10 – 14, 2018

Sponsorship: This 2018 Workshop is presented under the auspices of the National Science Foundation grant for Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013+ awarded to DIMACS.

About this workshop:

This Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013+ (MPE2013+) workshop will expose faculty teaching undergraduates to current applications of mathematical and computational sciences and provide an opportunity for government or industry professionals to learn about recent research in related areas. The topic will be presented over the course of 3.5 days in series of lectures and activities; participants will be involved in research activities that they and their students can continue with after the workshop.

2018 Topic:

Not in My Backyard explores how mathematical tools can be used to consider social and environmental justice when making decisions like where to put a toxic waste dump. Often such facilities are located in economically depressed areas, based on priorities that further disadvantage those who are already disadvantaged.

Similar to issues of toxic waste are issues of destruction of views such as the building of dunes along the Atlantic Ocean and others. For example, some residents and businesses of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard have opposed the construction of Cape Wind, a proposed offshore Wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Proponents cite the environmental, economic, and energy security, the benefits of clean renewable energy, while opponents are against any obstruction to the views from oceanfront vacation homes and tourist destinations based in the region. Similar to the situation in Nantucket Sound, Mass., a minority of residents in St. Lucie County, Florida have vehemently opposed the construction of wind turbines in the county. The construction of the wind turbines is strongly supported by over 80% of county residents according to a 2008 Florida Power and Light poll. Additionally, the power company proposed building the turbines in a location on a beach near a prior existing nuclear power plant owned by the company.

The workshop will provide background in decision theory and discuss recent developments that emphasize the role of discrete mathematics in decision theory. It focuses on three topics which directly apply to NIMBY issues. The first is the transitive simple majorities problem of determining the maximum number of linear orders on n candidates that prevent the occurrence of cyclic majorities when voters’ preferences are confined to those orders. The second involves the varieties of unique solutions to simple systems of n — 1 linearly independent homogeneous linear equations in n variables of types that arise from qualitative equivalence comparisons in the measurement of subjective probabilities and utility differences. The third topic describes a computer-efficient hierarchy of stochastic-dominance relations for comparisons of risky alternatives whose outcomes lie in a unidimensional set of evenly spaced points.

MPE 2018 Flyer

Fees: Registration fees, lodging, meals and travel: Accepted participants from US academic institutions: registration, lodging in a single room, and meals will be provided at no charge. Limited funds are expected to be available to provide partial support for travel.

Apply to become a Participant

Hotel & Workshop Locations

Speakers & Organizers


Reimbursement Information (Only for participants who were approved for a travel award)


  • Dr. Ralph Keeney, Author, Consultant, Professor at Duke University and University of Southern California
  • Dr. Michael Heiman, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies, Dickinson College


  • Dr. Midge Cozzens, Distinguished Professor / Associate Director, DIMACS Center, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Gene Fiorini, Truman L. Koehler Professor of Mathematics, Muhlenberg College

Travel to the program

We ask that you fly into either Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

You should fly in so you can arrive at the hotel with enough time to attend dinner on June 10th at 7 pm at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Departure on June 14th should be no earlier than 3 pm, and should give you enough travel/check-in time between Allentown, PA and the airport.

Parking your car at your home airport will be reimbursed.

And, we will try to also arrange for shuttles to/from the airport based on the itineraries, grouped together as best as we can.

Hotel Location

Seegers Union and Campus Events
Muhlenberg College
2400 W Chew St
Allentown, PA 18104
Phone: 484-664-3810

Hotel reservations will be made all participants based on travel itineraries. Please send us your travel itineraries (or, if you are driving) as soon as possible so we can work on the housing accommodations. We will send confirmation numbers for housing once the rooming list is submitted.

Please contact Christine Spassione (spassion@dimacs.rutgers.edu) for reservation questions.

Workshop Location

Muhlenberg College
 2400 W Chew St
Allentown, PA 18104

Directions can be found here: https://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/directions-to-muhlenberg

Apply to Become a Participant: Application deadline is extended to April 2, 2018, or until all slots are filled. Applications must be submitted online and will be reviewed as they are received.

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013+ (MPE2013+) Workshop Application

Who may apply?

Anyone may apply. Preference will be given to faculty whose primary job is undergraduate teaching and those working at government labs. Two-year college faculty are welcome to apply. Teachers from groups not well represented in mathematics are especially encouraged to apply.

Deadline for Applications: Deadline is extended to April 2, 2018. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Applicants who are selected to attend are expected to stay for the entire 5-day program. They are also expected to complete their written classroom materials by the end of the year (December 31, 2018) in which this workshop is held.

Application Instructions

To complete this application, you must:

1) Complete all required fields, which are marked with an asterisk*
2) Click on “Send” at the end

Personal Information

First Name*:

Last Name*:




Street Address*:

Address 2:



Postal Code*:

Country (if not USA):

Primary Phone*:

Alternate Phone:

Email address*:

Re-enter Email Address*:

Citizenship? US citizenDual citizenNon-US citizen
If dual or non-US, of what country?

Affirmative Action Information (optional)

Gender: MaleFemale

Race or Ethnic Background:


Undergraduate Degree:*

Year Received:*


Graduate Degree(s) or Certification


About Your Interest in This Program

Why do you want to attend the Reconnect Program and how do you think you will benefit from it?*

(For faculty applicants only)
What courses have you taught in the last two years?*

What courses do you expect to teach in the next academic year?*

Please describe any experience or background that you have with Decision Theory. For example, have you taken a formal or self-taught course in the area? If so, please describe it in a sentence or two. Have you written relevant papers or followed developments in the area?* (Previous experience is not a prerequisite, but knowing participants' backgrounds helps our planning.)

What is your mathematics background, if any?*

What is your science background, if any?*

Have you had any experience with computer science?*

When did you last do research and what was it about? (A sentence or two about the topic will suffice.) We recognize that many applicants may not have done any research since their graduate school days.*

Do you expect you will have an opportunity to use ideas from this conference in one or more of the following follow up activities?* (check all that apply)

If in a course, which one(s)?

If you checked Other, explain:

Applicants who are selected to attend this program are expected to attend for the entire program. If selected, will you be able to commit to participating for the entire program?


Applicants who are selected are expected to complete their written classroom materials by the following January after leaving the program.
Do you make this commitment?


Travel Expense Award

I would like to apply for help with transportation costs in the amount of $

Please explain in a few sentences why you need the support, what other sources of support you might have, and how you would cover the transportation costs without this award.

For more information, contact: Christine Spassione (spassion@dimacs.rutgers.edu) or Midge Cozzens (midge6930@comcast.net).

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