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Ki-Net outcomes 2012–2020

Ki-Net — an NSF supported Research Network in Mathematical Sciences was established in 3/2012, with the principle objective of research and training focused on development, analysis and computation of kinetic descriptions of emerging challenges in multiscale problems in natural sciences. These include applications to chemistry, to social sciences and to biological processes, and beyond their traditional central role in many areas of mathematical physics.

INTELLECTUAL MERIT: hubs, nodes and core participants. During the eight-year period of 3/2012-2/2020, Ki-Net fostered an array of research and training activities outlined on the network website. Ki-Net offered a unique platform to carry out its mission, centered around three hubs: its main hub at the Center for Scientific Computation and Math Modeling (CSCAMM) in the University of Maryland, and the two additional hubs at the Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences (ICES) in UT-Austin and the Department of Mathematics in UW-Madison. Ki-Net engaged 21 nodes linked to one of the three hubs, and inter-connected through a series of edges involving 60 core participants and 20 core students/post-docs. Ki-Net nodes were distributed throughout the US with additional international nodes.

BROADER IMPACT: The scientific output of Ki-Net includes synergistic activities in the form of 5-8 annual conferences/workshops – a total of 57 conferences and workshops. Ki-Net hubs and nodes also hosted a total of 6 summer/winter schools, 80+ Kinetic Interaction Teams (KITs) which were topic-wise focused collaborations, and 13 Research Interaction Weekend (RIWs) which were geographically-localized collaborations. All together, these Ki-Net activities involved 1400 different senior and junior researchers (many of whom were returning ‘customers’), including 500+ post-docs and 600+ reported graduate students. Notably during that period, Ki-Net held an annual Young Research Workshop (YRW) dedicated exclusively to junior, pre-tenure track researchers. Judging by their post-activity evaluations, the resulting 8 YRWs were among the most effective outcomes of Ki-Net.
Ki-Net activities also included 230 ‘old fashioned’ 1-1 collaborations and 140 seminars, many documented on Ki-Net activities site. These activities led to hundreds of publications (including two books on “Active Particles”), a fraction of which can be found on Ki-Net preprint server. This rich spectrum of activities was managed through a dedicated database, designed, built and managed by the Ki-Net team at CSCAMM. Ki-Net database handled all aspects of Ki-Net activities — from self-registration of participants through approval process by Ki-hubs and nodes, to monitoring financial aspects and accumulating data for reporting purposes. The Ki- base also automated public dissemination of Ki-Net activities.

We mention a few unsolicited notable quotations from participants of Ki-Net activities over the years.
Jacob Bedrossian, currently a Professor at University of Maryland wrote (2014) "My first direct experience with KI-Net was my visit to CSCAMM for the 2013 Young Researchers Workshop. The conference itself was scientifically excellent and filled with energetic and friendly like- minded young researchers. At this conference I met Eitan and was later invited for an interview at Maryland, where I was subsequently hired as tenure-track.”
Sebastien Motsch, currently an Associate Professor at Arizona State University, wrote (2014) “I first benefit from the KI-Net network during Fall 2012 where I was a visitor in the University of Texas (Austin) .... I also extended my collaborative networks, e.g. California (UCLA, USC), Arizona (ASU), Houston (UH). This experience helped me tremendously to obtain my position as an Assistant Professor at ASU the year after..."
Albert Cohen, from Paris UPMC campus wrote about the 2014 Ki-Net conference on “Modern Perspectives in Applied Mathematics” that “This was one the very best conference that I attended in my academic life.”
Jianfeng Lu, currently a Professor at Duke wrote (2014) “I am taking the liberty of sending you a recent preprint with Qin Li and Weiran Sun on linear half-space kinetic equations.... This work was actually initiated during a workshop funded by KI-Net. Our collaboration would not be possible without the activities of KI-Net.”
A special 2015 NHM issue 10(3) was based on research presented at the Workshop “Modeling and Control of Social Dynamics", hosted by Ki-Net node at Rutgers-Camden.
Michael Herty, from Aachen wrote about his participation at 2017 Ki-Net meeting held in Ki- Net node Iowa State U. "I had wonderful discussions with several colleagues .... The mixture of young and more senior people and the different topics were interesting and stimulating.”
Di Fang, currently at UC Berkeley wrote in her 2019 thesis dedication “The conferences and various opportunities provided by KI-Net exposed me to diverse research topics and introduced me to talented peers and collaborators. Though this wonderful network is coming to an end, its huge impacts on our generation will persist.”

In summary, Ki-Net main “output” was the formation of a community of researchers engaged in emerging challenges in multiscale problems. We hope it to be Ki-Net long-term legacy.

Eitan Tadmor
Ki-Net Director 2012-2020