2004-2005 Academic Year Colloquium Schedule

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(Faculty/Staff Only)

August 26, 2004

Title:Hippocrates and the Quadrature of the Lune
Speaker:John Stoughton
Professor of Mathematics
Hope College
Holland, MI

Abstract:The problem of squaring the circle (i.e., given a circle, can we construct, withstraightedge and compass alone, a square with EXACTLY the same area?) is one ofthe oldest in mathematics. It was proposed sometime before 440 BC (the time ofHippocrates) and was not solved until 1882. Hippocrates came very close toshowing that it could be done and his work led some of the world's bestmathematicians to believe that it could. (It can't.) In this talk, we examineHippocrates' work and discuss why it took over 2300 years from his time for theproblem to be solved.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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September 2, 2004

Title:Time's Arrows
Speaker:Ronald Fintushel
University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics
Michigan State University
Lansing, MI

Abstract:I will discuss a simple combinatorial problem related toclocks and describe how to solve it by using the topology of Riemannsurfaces. This talk should be accessible to any student who has hadcalculus.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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September 9, 2004

Title:Do Dogs Know Calculus?
Speaker:Tim Pennings
Professor of Mathematics
Hope College
Holland, MI

Abstract:A standard calculus modeling problem is to find the quickest path from a point on shore to a point in a lake, given that running speed is greater than swimming speed. Elvis, my Welsh Corgi, has never had a calculus course. But when we play "fetch" on the shore of Lake Michigan, he appears to choose paths close to the optimal one. In this talk we reveal what was found when we experimentally tested this ability. Elvis will be available for follow-up questions.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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September 16, 2004

Title:Study Abroad Opportunities in Russia
Speaker:Darren E. Mason
 Assistant Professor of Mathematics
 Albion College
 Albion, MI

Abstract:
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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September 23, 2004

Title:Mathematics and Materials Science
Speaker:Peter Bates
Professor and Chair of Mathematics
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Abstract:Startingwith some fundamental assumptions about the nature of materials, we willformulate laws governing the evolution of material states (such as differingphases, local magnetic orientation, etc.).  These laws become equations ofevolution.  We will then try to determine the qualitative behavior of solutionsor look at special wave-like solutions and in so doing generate good mathematicsand (I hope) good science.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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September 30, 2004

Title:The Oak Ridge Science Semester Program
Speaker:Daniel Gibson
Professor of Physics and
Director of the Oak Ridge Science Semester
Denison University
Granville, OH

Abstract:The Oak Ridge Science Semester is an undergraduate studyand research program based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN.This nationally recognized fall-semester program directly involves undergraduate students in the ongoing research projects of practicing biologists, chemists, computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists. Recent student research areas include complex biological systems, engineering, environmental science, high performance computing, physical and chemical sciences, and national security. Participating students receive academic credit in their field. To offset costs, studentsalso receive a monthly stipend and housing allowance.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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October 7, 2004

Title:It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to (you would cry too if you missed this introduction to Ramsey Theory...)
Speaker:Giovanni Dimatteo
Junior Mathematics Major - Track I
Deparment of Mathematics and Computer ScienceAlbion College
Albion, MI

Abstract:Ramsey theory is the study of the structures on a mathematical object that are preserved under partitions. In this talk, we'll examine the Party problem, solve it, and discuss generalizations, closing up with Ramsey's theorem. An example of the party problem asks, `how many people must you invite to your party to ensure that there exists a group of 4 mutual friends or a group of 4 mutual strangers.' Applications to computer science and other fields will be discussed, along with the statement of several research problems on which undergraduates are capable of making progress.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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October 15, 2004

Title:Phosphorus Contamination in Lake Sediments: Model and Solution
Speaker:Gilbert N. Lewis
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI

Abstract:Phosphorus is a contaminant that can enter a lake due to natural or human activity (effluent from a wastewater treatment plant, non-point runoff from farmlands, etc.). Once in the lake, it may enter the sediments at the bottom of the lake, where it is stored and becomes availableas a further source of contamination to the lake waters. In this study, wemodel the deposition of phosphorus in the solid phase to lake sediments, the subsequent conversion (diagenesis) to a liquid form, and the diffusion of the liquid phase phosphorus back into the lake water. We develop a system of twopartial differential equations involving two dependent variables (solid and liquid phosphorus concentrations) and two independent variables (time and depth in the sediment). We then show the numerical solution of the system and compare it with observed data. The ultimate goal is to be able to accurately predict future rates of release of phosphorus from the lake sediments if restrictions are placed on the level of human input to the system.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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October 21, 2004

Title:Transformations in Software Development
Speaker:Erik Eid
Systems Architect
NSF International
B.A. in Computational Mathematics - 1995
Albion College

Abstract:An Albion College alum returns to present an overview of his almost-nine-year career in software development and how both his concept of programming and he as a whole has been changed. He will then discuss two challenges encountered during that career, one regarding rewriting an application for multiple languages and platforms, and one regarding the conversion of data from legacy systems.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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October 28, 2004

Title:Beauty at the Extreme: The Hunt for Extremal Graphs
Speaker:Jason Williford
Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Albion College

Abstract:In this talk we will explore the relatively young field of Extremal Graph Theory. One of the first results in this field answers the following question: how many edges can a graph with n vertices have if it has no complete graph of size k as a subgraph? Since the solution of this problem in the 1940's there have been many generalizations; however overall little is known. One of the main reasons for the lack of knowledge stems from the fact that graphs with certain properties are often hard to construct. Examples of certain known constructions will be given, and possibilities for undergraduate research projects will be discussed.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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November 4, 2004

Title:Eine Kleine Bottle Musing
Speaker:Robert Messer
Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan

Abstract:
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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November 11, 2004

Title:Face Detection / Recognition
Speaker:George Stockman
Professor of Computer Science
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Abstract:
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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November 18, 2004

Title:Material Surface Energy and the Kaczmarz Algorithm
Speaker:Darren E. Mason
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Albion College
Albion, MI

Abstract:
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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December 2, 2004

Title:Three Cool Linear Algebra Applications from the Sciences
Speaker:Mark Hanisch
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Calvin College
Grand Rapids, MI

Abstract:Polling recent mathematics graduates might lead oneto conclude that Markov processes, curve fitting, andsystems of ODEs are the main applications for linearalgebra. But thanks to the simplicity of linear models,one does not have to look hard to find solutions to manyother applied problems that employ linear algebra in asignificant way. In this talk I will outline three morescience problems, the physics of spinning objects,"dimensional analysis", and the spectroscopic examinationof chemical solutions, for which fundamental ideas fromlinear algebra provide amazing clarity.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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December 9, 2004

Title:Sharing Work is a Full-Time Job
Speaker:Quentin F. Stout
Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
Director - Center for Parallel Computing
Co-Director - Center for Space Environment Modeling
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Abstract:
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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January 11, 2005

Title:1, 2, 3...  Counting Integer Partitions
Speaker:Tina Garrett
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Carleton College
Northfield, MN

Abstract:Everyone knows how to factor a positive integer intoprimes. But how many ways can we break up a positive integer into a sumof smaller integers? This is one of the most basic questions in PartitionTheory. In this talk we will cover the basics of partition theory,examine some of the classical theorems and proofs using ferrers shapes andgenerating functions and discuss some interesting open problems.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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January 13, 2005

Title:Group Actions on Curves
Speaker:Darren B. Glass
VIGRE/Ritt Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics
Columbia University
New York, NY

Abstract:Algebraic Geometry is the study of curves which are defined by polynomial equations. Some of these curves have special properties, such as the existence of a group action on the curve. These group actions correspond to nice symmetries in the curve, and are useful in calculating certain invariants. This talk will define all of these terms, and give many examples of such actions. In particular, we will look at the elliptic curves which were recently made famous in the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, and generalizations such as the hyperelliptic and superelliptic curves.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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January 14, 2005

Title:Partitions of Graphs by Complete Bipartite Subgraphs
Speaker:
Abstract:
Location:
Time:
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January 20, 2005

Title:Anonymous Credentials with Biometrically-Enforced Non-Transferability: Designing Hand Stamps for the Digital World
Speaker:Sara Miner More
Faculty Fellow Professor
School of Computer Science and Engineering
University of California - San Diego

Abstract:Digital non-transferable anonymous credentials allow individuals in aparticular group to remain anonymous while demonstrating group membership.An analogous credential in the real world is a hand stamp one mightobtain upon entering an establishment that serves alcohol, afterdemonstrating that he is of legal drinking age. The individual later useshis stamp to prove to the bartender that he is old enough to purchasealcohol, but the stamp alone does not reveal the individual's identity.Furthermore, this credential cannot be transferred to a differentindividual. In this talk, we address the challenges of achieving this type ofcredential in the digital world, and present a solution based oncryptography and secure hardware. No prior knowledge of cryptography orsecurity is required. This talk describes joint work with RussellImpagliazzo from UCSD.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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January 31, 2005

Title:The Physics of Hard Problems
Speaker:Harold Connamacher
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto

Abstract:A large number of problems we deal with in computer science are considered hard. One such problem is the Satisfiability Problem (SAT). Despite years of work, no one has developed algorithms for SAT that can solve all possible instances in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, most researchers do not believe any such algorithm exists. In practice, SAT-solvers are either complete solvers that always solve the problem and sometimes run in a reasonable amount of time or incomplete solvers that always run in a reasonable amount of time and sometimes solve the problem.

Recently, a group of physicists have applied techniques of statistical mechanics to problems such as SAT to gain more insight into why the problems are hard. As part of their work, they have proposed a new algorithm called Survey Propagation that seems to work better than other current incomplete solvers.

This talk will highlight the current state of the research and expose reasons why this new algorithm works well and reasons why it may fail in some important situations.

Location:Norris 109
Time:5:10 PM
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February 3, 2005

Title:Off-Campus Programs in Mathematics and Computer Science
Speaker:David Reimann
Associate Professor
and
Darren E. Mason
Assistant Professor
and
Mr. William Green
Senior Mathematics and Physics Major

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, MI

Abstract:Have you ever wondered if you can study mathematics and/or computer science off-campus? Either during the summer or during the academic year? Each year a number of high-quality academic opportunities are availableto Albion College students. Options include research/study internships at
  • academic institutions both within the United States (Mount Holyoke College, Williams College, University of Minnesota - Duluth, etc.) and abroad (England, Hungary, etc.)
  • numerous federal governmentagencies (NASA, NSA, etc.)
  • a number of government scientific laboratories (Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, etc.).
In this presentation we will tour a new portion of the Albion College Math/CS website that illustrates these various opportunities as well as provide adviceon how to apply, deadlines, etc. Our own Will Green will also talk about his recentoff-campus experience at Argonne National Laboratory as well as his experience in applying for graduate school.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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February 10, 2005

Title:Sums-of-Squares Formulas
Speaker:Daniel Isaksen
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Abstract:Consider the polynomial identity

(x12 +x22 )(y12 + y22) = (x1y1 - x2y2)2+ (x1y2 + x2y1)2

This formula might be generalized as

(x12 + ... + xr2)(y12 + ... + ys2) = z12 + ... + zn2

where each zi  is "bilinear" in the x's and y's in the sense that it is a sum of monomials of the form c (xi yk).  These identities are relevant to questions about normed algebras, embeddings of topological spaces, and linear algebra.

We'll find a few examples of such identities, but the problem of finding this type of identity is extremely difficult.  It turns out to be easier to show that identities cannot exist under certain circumstances.

Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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February 17, 2005

Title:The Millennium Problems - Part I
Speaker:John Torrence Tate, Jr. (Virtual)
Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair
Department of Mathematics
University of Texas
Austin, TX

Abstract:At the beginning of the new millennium the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, named seven Millennium Prize Problems which, if solved, would earn the solver $1,000,000! To officially present these problems to the world, on May 24, 2000, the CMI held the Millennium Meeting at the College de France in Paris. The timing and location of this conference was influenced by David Hilbert's address on August 8, 1900, to the 2nd International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris, which resulted in the now famous Hilbert Problems.

In this colloquium we will show a video presentation of a lecture given by Professor John Torrence Tate, Jr., (a student of the famous algebraist Emil Artin) at the Millennium Meeting. The problems discussed by Dr. Tate are the Riemann Hypothesis, the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture, and the P vs. NP problem.

A question and answer period with Albion College faculty will follow the video presentation.

Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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February 24, 2005

Title:The Millennium Problems - Part II
Speaker:Sir Michael Atiyah (Virtual)
Honorary Professor of Mathematics
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland

Abstract:At the beginning of the new millennium the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, named seven Millennium Prize Problems which, if solved, would earn the solver $1,000,000! To officially present these problems to the world, on May 24, 2000, the CMI held the Millennium Meeting at the College de France in Paris. The timing and location of this conference was influenced by David Hilbert's address on August 8, 1900, to the 2nd International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris, which resulted in the now famous Hilbert Problems.

In this colloquium we will show a video presentation of a lecture given by Sir Michael Atiyah (a recipient of theFields Medal in 1966) at the Millennium Meeting. The problems discussed by Professor Atiyah are the Poincare Conjecture, the Hodge Conjecture, the Quantum Yang-Mills Problem, and the Navier-Stokes Problem.

A question and answer period with Albion College faculty will follow the video presentation.

Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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March 3, 2005

Title:Game Theory: The Nobel Prizes
Speaker:Daniel Christiansen
Professor and Chair of Economics and Management
Albion College
Albion, MI

Abstract: An outline of the study of game theory, focusing on the contributions of the winners of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics -- John Nash, Reinhard Selton, and John Harsanyi. In particular, we look at the concepts of Nash equilibrium, subgame-perfect Nash equilbrium, and Bayesian Nash equilibrium.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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March 17, 2005

Title:Using Electronic Textbooks to Foster Active Reading Habits
Speaker:Ryan McFall
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Hope College
Holland, MI

Abstract:Electronic textbooks are an enticing idea. Most publishers tout digitalmedia as a cheaper and more portable textbook. Unfortunately, theelectronic textbook models that have been proposed too often seek to mimicthe paper textbook, perhaps adding search capabilities or touting thepossibility of interactive animations and activities. These electronictextbooks fail to take full advantage of the pedagogical opportunities thata digital medium provides.

This talk will outline the design goals and features of an electronictextbook application designed at Hope College with the goal of extending,rather than simply mimicking, a traditional textbook. In particular, wewill discuss how an electronic textbook can be used to bring the idea ofcollaborative learning into the textbook reading experience, and how such atextbook can be used to facilitate change in the way the classroomexperience is conducted.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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March 24, 2005

Title:Patent Citation Networks
Speaker:Jan Tobochnik
Professor of Physics and Computer Science
Dow Distinguished Professor of Natural Science
Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, MI

Abstract:Patent applications contain citations which are similar to but differentfrom those found in published scientific papers. In particular, patentcitations are governed by legal rules. Moreover, a large fraction ofcitations are made not by the patent inventor, but by a patent examinerduring the application procedure. Using a patent database whichcontains the patent citations, assignees and inventors, we have appliednetwork analysis and built network models. After giving a brief overviewof recent developments in network theory, I will discuss our latest results on patent citation networks.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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March 31, 2005

Title:Bioinformatics at Hope College
Speaker:Matt DeJongh
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
and
Aaron Best
Assistant Professor of Biology
Hope College
Holland, MI

Abstract:Bioinformatics is an emerging field that seeks to apply the tools andtechniques of computer science to the management and analysis of biologicaldata. Because of the explosive growth in this field and related careersover the last decade, many undergraduate institutions have recognized theneed for incorporating bioinformatics into the undergraduate curriculum.Getting started on this task is difficult because of the requirement ofinterdisciplinary cooperation among computer scientists, biologists,chemists and other scientists.

In this talk we will give an introduction to bioinformatics from ourperspectives as a computer scientist and a microbiologist. We will describean introductory course in bioinformatics that we have developed for computerscience and biology students. Finally, we will discuss an interdisciplinaryresearch project that we are conducting with undergraduate students at HopeCollege.
Location:Olin 232
Time:4:10 PM
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April 7, 2005

Title:Fuzzy Logic Control Systems
Speaker:Mr. William Green
Mathematics and Physics Major
Albion College
Albion, MI

Abstract:This past summer I worked at the Division of Mathematics and Computer Science at Argonne National Lab. on the NEESGrid Project. NEESGrid is an attempt to connect the work of earthquake engineers to allow large scale, remote simulations and calculations. My specific work focused on designing control systems for instrumentation using Fuzzy Logic. The basics of Fuzzy Logic as well as its uses will be discussed.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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April 28, 2005

Title:Simulating and Visualizing Supercell Thunderstorms
Speaker:Leigh Orf
Assistant Professor Of Atmospheric Science
Department of Geography
Central Michigan University

Abstract:Supercell thunderstorms are intense, long-lived rotating thunderstormswhich rumble across the heartland of the United States every spring.Because supercells produce the strongest tornadoes, their behavior isa focus of active research. Meteorologists have yet to answer suchfundamental questions such as: How do tornadoes form within a supercell?Why do some supercells produce devastating tornadoes while other do notproduce a tornado at all? The two primary approaches to this problemare observation (including storm chasing) and numerical modeling. I amtaking the modeling approach to investigate the internal workings ofsupercells. In this talk I will present an overview of the predictivemathematical equations which describe the behavior of the atmosphere,how 3D atmospheric models work (with some discussion of parallelprocessing), and the challenges of taking terabytes of binary modeldata and visualizing it in a human-intuitive way.
Location:Norris 109
Time:4:10 PM
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