This volume contains the proceedings of the AMS Special Session on Algebraic and Geometric Methods in Applied Discrete Mathematics, held on January 11, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas. The papers present connections between techniques from "pure" mathematics and various applications amenable to the analysis of discrete models, encompassing applications of combinatorics, topology, algebra, geometry, optimization, and representation theory. Papers not only present novel results, but also survey the current state of knowledge of important topics in applied discrete mathematics. Particular highlights include: a new computational framework, based on geometric combinatorics, for structure prediction from RNA sequences; a new method for approximating the optimal solution of a sum of squares problem; a survey of recent Helly-type geometric theorems; applications of representation theory to voting theory and game theory; a study of fixed points of tensors; and exponential random graph models from the perspective of algebraic statistics with applications to networks. This volume was written for those trained in areas such as algebra, topology, geometry, and combinatorics who are interested in tackling problems in fields such as biology, the social sciences, data analysis, and optimization. It may be useful not only for experts, but also for students who wish to gain an applied or interdisciplinary perspective.