Evan Scope Crafts is 25 years old and a third-year PhD student at the Oden Institute. He is this year’s recipient of the 2022 SIAM Student Chapter Certificate, awarded in recognition of a student's service and contributions to SIAM Student Chapters. Over the last two years, Crafts has been the event coordinator for SIAM-UT.
“I have been fortunate to work with an executive board of fellow students who have been supportive of my projects and ideas for the chapter,” he said. Scope Crafts is particularly proud of a reading group he founded, MLxEthics, that specializes in topics at the intersection of machine learning and ethics. He also co-organized a seminar where Iranian philosopher and engineer, Reza Negerestani, discussed connections between the two subjects.
This has been but one highlight among many for Scope Crafts thus far, attending and co-organizing numerous other notable SIAM-UT events since taking over as event coordinator. “I've been very fortunate to be a part of all of them.”
UT Austin’s SIAM Student Chapter is relatively new but Scope Crafts believes it is important for the university to have its own SIAM student chapter so that young students, new to computational methods have a place to make sense of what can frequently be perceived as an “opaque” branch of science and mathematics.
“Applied and computational mathematics is necessarily an interdisciplinary field that brings together students and researchers from diverse backgrounds in the engineering disciplines and the sciences in order to solve problems that push science forward,” he said. “Further, for many young students, it is an opaque field, as the essential nature of the discipline, as well as the myriad opportunities to be found within, are not as readily apparent as they might be in biology, chemistry, and various other engineering and science disciplines. It is therefore imperative to have a space to bring together this community and introduce young students to the field.”
Scope Crafts is a third-year PhD student working under the supervision of Bo Zhao. “My research so far has focused on optimal experimental design, and, in particular, various ways that prior knowledge and control-theoretic perspectives can be utilized in optimal experimental design, with applications in the design of medical imaging experiments.”
Scope Crafts is interested in applying the skillset and experience he has gained at the Oden Institute not simply in pursuit of attaining one career or another. “I’m more interested in controlling, understanding, and "breaking" complex dynamic systems, especially in the context of returning cybernetics to its rightful place at the intersection of political economy, engineering, and mathematics,” he said.