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Department of Mathematics
The City College of New York
NAC 8/133
Convent Ave at 138th Street
New York, NY 10031

Phone: (212) 650-5346
Fax: (212) 650-6294

CCNY :: Division of Science :: Mathematics

Department of Mathematics

Meet Minwoo Bae!

Meet one of our graduate students and summer research interns, Minwoo Bae!

This Summer I am going to continue the work on developing algorithms to solve computational problems in the field of Mathematical Neuroscience under the supervision of Professor Amarasingham. His laboratory is currently engaged in the development and application of tools for inferring neuronal connectivity maps from extracellular spike data obtained from electrophysiological brain recordings in in vivo conditions. This is in collaboration with G. Buzsaki’s experimental lab at NYU. There are many mathematical challenges, ranging from the development of biophysical models to the development of nonparametric spike train analysis tools. Regarding the latter, some of the major obstacles are computational. A theory is in place for performing connectivity inference, drawing from previous tools developed in the laboratory, but at current data scales the computational costs are prohibitive. My summer research aims for developing algorithms to accelerate these computations. There are two principal approaches I will pursue. The first will involve accelerating the computation of distributions  of sums of random variables, in the style of the fast Fourier transform (FFT), and related tools. The challenge is accommodating nontrivial dependency structures (expressed as graphs; so-called “graphical models”) among these random variables. I will research approaches to handling these elaborations. A second approach is to use asymptotic approximations. I will research the literature to see what bounds are available, adapting them as necessary, to justify and combine asymptotic approximations. I will apply the ideas developed in these investigations to in vivo neurophysiology data, in the context of the laboratory’s other work.

Since 2011, I had been working as a software developer in Manhattan. Since I designed and developed several web applications for a HIV research team, I naturally gained interest in how a disease is transmitted though a network. In 2014, I had the honor of being selected as Young Talent in the Field of Software by the South Korean government, which provided me with a fund for advanced study of mathematics and computer science. I used the fund for some graduate-level coursework in computer science to study random processes on a network. During this part-time student experience, I realized that without the advanced mathematical foundation, it would be very difficult to proceed much further in this kind of studies. This led to my decision to fully return to school to pursue studying Mathematics since 2015. Now in 2017, I am very excited by the fact that it is possible to tackle many technical challenges ranging from biology to artificial intelligence by using Mathematical concepts and techniques. This why I am passionate about Mathematics.

Posted 06/21/2017; expires 07/21/2018; visible to public