Mass Select a A BRIE F DESCRIPTIO N O F MAS S P R O G R A M Svetlana Kato k an d Serg e Tabachniko v (The Pennsylvani a Stat e University ) The MASS program—Mathematics Advance d Study Semesters—is an intensive program fo r undergraduat e student s recruite d ever y yea r fro m aroun d th e US A and brough t t o Pen n State' s campu s fo r on e semester . Th e progra m i s uniqu e i n the USA . I t bear s some , albei t superficial , resemblanc e t o tw o othe r semester-lon g mathematical program s fo r America n undergraduates , base d abroad : Budapes t Semesters i n Mathematic s an d Mathematic s i n Mosco w (th e forme r i s i n it s "lat e teens", started i n 1985, and the latter is just tw o years old). Mathematic s Advance d Study Semester s a t Pen n Stat e ha s turne d seven , i t starte d i n 1996. Th e thre e founders o f th e progra m wer e A . Katok , S . Kato k an d A . Kouchnirenko , it s first director. A significant rol e i n gettin g th e progra m of f th e groun d wa s als o playe d by G . Andrews . This volume represents various aspects of the MASS and related REU program : core courses , summe r courses , students ' research , colloquiu m talks . The editor s expres s thei r gratitud e t o Hi e Ugarcovici fo r technica l editin g an d final preparatio n o f the volume . Program description . Th e mai n component s o f MAS S are : • Thre e core courses o n topic s chose n fro m th e area s o f Analysis , Alge - bra/Number Theory , an d Geometry/Topolog y correspondingly . Eac h course feature s three , 1 hou r lecture s pe r week , a weekl y meetin g con - ducted b y a MAS S Teachin g Assistant , weekl y homewor k assignments , a written midter m exam , an d a n ora l final examination/presentation . • Individua l studen t research projects ranging from theoretica l mathematic s to computer implementation . Mos t o f the project s ar e related t o the cor e courses while some are developed independentl y accordin g to the interest s and abilitie s o f the student . • A weekly 2 hour interdisciplinary seminar ru n by the director of the MASS program (th e second autho r o f this preface), whic h helps to unify al l other activities. • Th e MASS colloquium, a weekl y lectur e serie s b y distinguishe d mathe - maticians, visitor s o r Pen n Stat e researc h faculty . A complet e lis t o f MAS S course s i s give n i n Appendi x 1, an d a lis t o f collo - quia talk s i n Appendi x 2 . W e say mor e abou t th e MAS S colloquiu m serie s i n th e introduction t o th e respectiv e par t o f this volume . © 200 3 America n Mathematica l Societ y 1

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