PIMS Virtual Experimental Mathematics Lab (VXML)

The PIMS Virtual Experimental Math Lab (VXML) program brings together world-leading faculty members, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduate students to work on exciting research problems in mathematics. Project teams from throughout the PIMS network work together to tackle challenging research problems through experimental, computational and visual mathematics, showcasing mathematics as a creative discipline.




New projects are accepted from faculty in the PIMS Network at the beginning of each academic year (a call is typically made in PIMS Connection). Accepted projects are then available for applications from graduate students and undergraduate students (links will appear on this page). Selected students are notified and projects typically begin in November. At the end of the academic year (typically in April) the groups report back at a gala meeting where reports are presented to the PIMS community.


How it works…

Research problems are proposed by a faculty member or postdoc at a PIMS member (or affiliate member) university, and a project team consisting of the mentor, a graduate student and 2-4 undergraduate students are formed to work on the problem (we encourage teams that integrate members from multiple PIMS sites). Teams commit 6-8 hours per week to work on the project and to meet to discuss their discoveries. Students will use a mixture of computational tools such as CoCalc (Sage Math Cloud), to work and collaborate.

At the end of the year there is an open-house event where discoveries can be showcased and any results presented. The laboratory is virtual so participants can join from anywhere in the PIMS network of universities and the projects focus on experimentation and discovery.

About XML

The PIMS Virtual Experimental Mathematics Lab (VXML) builds on the success of the Washington eXperimental Mathematical Laboratory (WXML) and similar initiatives at other universities. In addition, the PIMS VXML leverages the distributed structure of PIMS to bring together more dispersed and diverse teams to contribute and work on the projects.

The Axioms of VXML

The VXML strongly believes in Federico Ardila-Mantilla’s axioms:

  • Axiom 1: Mathematical talent is distributed equally among different groups, irrespective of geographic, demographic, and economic boundaries.
  • Axiom 2: Everyone can have joyful, meaningful, and empowering mathematical experiences.
  • Axiom 3: Mathematics is a powerful, malleable tool that can be shaped and used differently by various communities to serve their needs.
  • Axiom 4: Every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.