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**Primary objective**: The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
of the University of South Florida (USF) proposes to establish a **scholarly focus
area in Computation Theory and Practice**. Researchers and scholars
will develop both fundamental algorithms and the theory of fundamental algorithms,
in addition to applications for other disciplines and for educational purposes at
various levels.

Significant scientific advances depend on computational power and skill. Establish
a research “cluster area” in Computation Theory and Practice within the new USF
School of Sciences and Mathematics, through hires targeting research faculty with
expertise in computing and its applications. These new faculty hires will
complement existing expertise in Computer Science and the School of Sciences and
Mathematics, and articulate with researchers throughout USF on interdisciplinary
projects requiring novel computational support and assistance. Hiring in this core
area will allow the Sciences and Mathematics to formalize cross-disciplinary training
of graduate students in scientific computing, greatly enhancing our competitiveness,
and the competitiveness of our graduates as they seek positions in academia and
industry.

**Why is this cluster important now?** Scientific computation and data
mining are pivotal features of 21st century science. As evidenced by the completion
of the GENOME project, scientific computation unifies modern science now more than
ever before. The definition of “computation” is currently expanding from its traditional
meaning to comprise “smart” devices, algorithmic approaches to problem solving and
a wide variety of related computational resources. For the next generation of successful
natural scientists and mathematicians, mastery of computational methods will not
be an option. Rather, advanced understanding of computational methods will be absolutely
critical to research success in virtually every area of the natural sciences and
mathematics. For example, analyzing information collected by the many sensors
used to gather environmental data remains a challenge and predicting impacts of
global change will require increased sophistication in computational skills.

Why is this cluster important? As USF has reached international prominence
in a variety of scientific disciplines there has been a tremendous increase in the
need for analysis and design of new theoretical structures and computational models,
from models of materials and drug behaviors to declining fisheries. As increasingly
complex problems (from climate to www??? behavior) require increasingly sophisticated
computer work, this demand is not for off-the-shelf technology, but also for novel
algorithms. USF’s centrality in fields with heavy computational demands
depends on continued development of a faculty with expertise in the applications,
limits, and capabilities in scientific and other computation. Such centrality is
essential for USF to be competitive for federal funding. New faculty members hired
in this cluster will meet these challenges through their own research, by providing
exceptionally strong support to a wide variety of research proposals, and will train
cross-disciplinary cohorts of graduate students in the Sciences and Mathematics
in computational methods. Development of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
offers a tremendous opportunity to meet these societal need in a coordinated manner.

**Why USF?** USF already has a tradition of remarkable cross-disciplinary
commitment to high-end computational science, in areas as diverse as biological
information processing, computational physics and chemistry, computational fluid
dynamics of pharmaceuticals processing, stochastic modeling of natural disasters,
and theory and heuristics of fundamental algorithms. These research interests have
resulted in the development of core facilities including a computer cluster, CIRCE,
that is among the world’s 500 fastest computers. Such centrality and depth of facilities
should be used to attract very high caliber faculty to USF. Similarly, our goal
is to enhance USF’s reputation in these fields in order to attract the highest caliber
doctoral students and train them for success in the future work force.

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