2005-2006 Academic Year Colloquium Schedule

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August 25, 2005

Title:Fixed Points & Maps from Here to Here.
Speaker:Robert Messer
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

Abstract:If you stir a cup of coffee carefully with a circular motion, the point at the center remains fixed under this motion.What happens if you stir in a more complicated pattern?Will there always be a point that returns to its original location? We will prove a two-dimensional version of atheorem that guarantees a fixed point for a continuous deformation of the surface of the coffee. The proof uses a clever counting argument known as Sperner's Lemma. The simplest version of this lemma says if your cat is inside when you go to bed and outside when you wake up in the morning, it must have gone through its little cat door an odd number of times.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 1, 2005

Title:Combinatorial Combat: The Mathematics of Games
Speaker:Mort Brown
Professor Emeritus
Department of Mathematics
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Abstract:We will study the strategy of several games where mathematics can play a role. Some are "solvable" games, some are "unsolved", and in some it is known who wins but nobody knows how it is done. The rules of the games are all simple, but the games may not be.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 8, 2005

Title:Career Planning in Mathematics and Computer Science
Speaker:David Reimann
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

Abstract:There has long been a demand in both industry and government for peoplewith training in mathematics, statistics, and computer science.Even in a weak economy, the job market remains strong for mathematics and computer science majors.A recent government report indicated "computer occupationsaccount for 5 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations in theeconomy".A degree in mathematics or computer science isexcellent preparation for graduate school in areassuch as mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering,finance, and law.Come learn about some exciting career and graduate school options you will have after graduation.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 15, 2005

Title:Seeing lines with Differential Equations
Speaker:Melinda Koelling
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI

Abstract:The approximately 100 billion neurons in your brain communicate byelectrical signals. In this talk, we will look at how about half abillion of them might work together to make it possible for you to seelines. I will discuss known physical properties of these neurons and howto model them. The model will involve some equations involving the rateof change of the voltage across the cell membrane of the neurons --differential equations. I will then talk about how to solve theseequations. This talk is intended for people who may not be familiar withdifferential equations, neuroscience, and mathematical modeling, butwho want to know more.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 22, 2005

Title:Industrial Mathematics at MSU
Speaker:Charles MacCluer
Professor
Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University

Abstract:In this talk we will discuss various aspects of the MSU Industrial Mathematics Program, including various real-world industrial products completed by former graduates, such as modeling the future emergency services needs of the Sparrow Hospital System.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 29, 2005

Title:Steady streaming in bubble microfluidics, and other assorted things I learned at Albion
Speaker:David Hansen
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics
Northwestern University

Abstract:Oscillating microbubbles exhibit several interesting behaviors, including light emission, penetration of cell walls, and efficient transport of microscopic objects. To accurately model such bubbles, we employ a combination of mathematical techniques to solve the vorticity equation. The result is an easy-to-use “toolbox” for simulating complex flows relevant to lab-on-a-chip and bioengineeringapplications.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 6, 2005

Title:An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms
Speaker:Rama Chidambaram
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Michigan - Dearborn

Abstract:
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 20, 2005

Title:Mathematical Models of Physical Phenomena in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Speaker:Anna Maria Spagnuolo
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics Sciences
Oakland University
Rochester, MI

Abstract:Mathematical models involving ordinary and partial differential equations and corresponding convergent numerical algorithms for computing their solutions can be used to create simulation packages to study physical phenomena. The mathematical approach can offer guidance for running laboratory experiments, creating specific drugs, and developing tools. In this talk, I will focus on models and numerical simulations used to study the following problems: the colonization of Vibrio cholerae in a human host, the detection of recurrent brain tumors, the development of medical devices, tracking nuclear transport in porous media, and more.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 27, 2005

Title:Mathematics, Computer Science, Scientific Modeling, and a Long, Fun-Filled Ninety-Six Hours in the Cold of February
Speaker:Mr. Brian Dick
Mr. Benjamin Johns
Mr. Brian Dick
Ms. Kate Walton

Undergraduate Students in Mathematics and Science
Albion College

Abstract:Every February the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications conducts a world-wide competition in applied mathematics. This competition begins with the posting of two real-world word problems to an official website. Then, over the next four days, teams of two or three students at schools around the world select a problem, develop a solution, and type up a fully cited research paper detailing their solution. These papers are then submitted by the team advisors to a judging committee for review.

In 2005, five Albion College students formed two teams and respectively tackled two challenging problems. The first addressed the failure of the Rawls Creek dam in South Carolina and the resulting impact of the flood waters, while the second problem dealt with the problem of determining the optimal number of tollbooths to deploy in a barrier-toll plaza. During this talk, representatives from both teams will discuss the ups and downs of team-based mathematical modeling, including presentation of their solutions and anecdotes relating their experiences during this grueling competition.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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November 3, 2005

Title:Mathematics and National Security
Speaker:Ms. Sandra Speiser
Cryptologic Mathematician
The National Security Agency

Abstract:The National Security Agency (NSA) makes and breaks codes in order to protect U.S. government information systems and produce foreign signals intelligence. The speaker will present an overview of the Agency and the work performed by NSA mathematicians. An example from public key cryptography will illustrate an application of math in securing communications.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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November 10, 2005

Title:Multisource network broadcasting: explorations in theory rather than practice, an open problem, and the dark side of research.
Speaker:Harold Connamacher
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

Abstract:Imagine that you are the head of development for a media company that is going to broadcast a show on the internet. You have a large number of subscribers that need to receive the broadcast, and both to speed the data transmission and to protect yourself in the event of network or machine problems, you have multiple broadcast sources at different locations on the internet. Your goal is to get the broadcast to the subscribers as quickly as possible. One solution is to flood the network. While this solves the problem, other internet users may not appreciate your hogging the bandwidth. Another possibility is to compute a tree that spans the portion of the network containing the sources and subscribers and to send the transmission along the edges of the tree. It turns out that how we define "as quickly as possible" has a huge effect on both the type of tree we need to compute and how easy or hard it is to compute the tree. This talk will explore these differences, demonstrate techniques used in theoretical computer science, present a possible research problem for interested students, and on the way we will expose a bit of the dark side of research.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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November 17, 2005

Title:Andy Lake's Talk:  Detectives, Squirrels and BRUW: My Summer At Internet2

and

Dustin Turner's Talk:  Brainstorming, Barnstorming, and what the heck is there to do in Kansas?
Speaker:Mr. Andrew Lake
Computer Science Senior
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

and

Mr. Dustin Turner
Applied Mathematics and History Junior
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

Abstract:Andy Lake's Presentation:  I will discuss my summer internship at Internet2 in Ann Arbor. Internet2 is a consortium of universities and organizations dedicated to building and testing next generation network applications. During my time with Internet2 I worked on a number of projects including the Internet2 Detective, BlackSquirrel, and BRUW. I will discuss the projects in detail in addition to what Internet2 is and how I got started with them.

and

Dustin Turner's Presentation:  In this talk I will discuss research I did over the summer regarding the implementation of an algorithm for stable differentiation of noisy piecewise smooth data. In addition I will be discussing the REU experience and why students should consider one!
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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December 1, 2005

Title:Some Clever Proofs using Advanced Mathematics
Speaker:Mr. Giovanni DiMatteo
Pure Mathematics Senior
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

Abstract: We'll examine three smart applications of topics from undergraduate math, includingCauchy sequences, topological spaces, and finite fields.I created one of these problems, read another in a book, and saw the third at the Budapest Semester in Mathematics (BSM). All of them yield(comparatively) neat solutions to the problemschosen; this serves partly as advertising for the problem solving seminar I will be running again in thespring and also as an opportunity to talk a little about my experience at the BSM program.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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December 8, 2005

Title:Summer Programs and other Off-Campus Opportunities
Speaker:Darren E. Mason
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

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 and abroad,
  • numerous federal government agencies, and
  • a number of government scientific laboratories.
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, any other pertinent information.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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January 26, 2006

Title:Is the whole really greater than the sum of its parts? Exploring partitions of numbers
Speaker:Stephanie Treneer
Graduate Student
Department of Mathematics
Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Abstract:A partition of a positive integer n is a sequence of positive integers that sum to n. The partition function p(n) counts the partitions of n without regard to order. This deceptively simple function has led to a rich theory. We'll look at two elementary methods for analyzing partitions: Ferrers graphs and generating functions, and then briefly discuss how the theory of modular forms has led to some recent surprising results about p(n).
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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February 1, 2006

Title:Writing -680 as a "Product of Threes": The power of τ-factorization
Speaker:Andrea M. Frazier
Graduate Student
Department of Mathematics
Univeristy of Iowa

Abstract:Download Here
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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February 9, 2006

Title:Data Conversion and State Management for Heterogeneous Thread Migration
Speaker:John P. Walters
Graduate Student
Department of Computer Science
Wayne State University

Abstract:In long running parallel computations it may sometimes behelpful to migrate individual threads from one machine to another. Thishas applications in fault tolerance as well as runtime performance. However, a typical parallel application will rely on a certain globalstate that may no longer exist once migration has occured. Furthermore,it may be advantageous to migrate a thread to a heterogeneousarchitecture. How can a consistant global state be maintained in such asituation? Here we discuss the data conversion and consistency issuessurrouding heterogeneous thread migration. We show that this can beaccomplished in a method that is completely transparent to theuser/programmer.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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February 16, 2006

Title:The Importance of Mathematics
Speaker:Timothy Gowers ( virtual )
Professor of Mathematics
University of Cambridge
Fields Medal Recipient

Abstract:The Importance of Mathematics is a lucid, dynamic presentation of the deep and important question of the relevance of mathematics to society, delivered by one of the best mathematicians of the modern age. Timothy Gowers is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambirdge (UK) and a recipient of the prestigious Fields Medal.

Professor Gowers gave the Keynote Address at the historic Millennium Meeting of the Clay Mathematics Institute — the very same meeting at which the Millennium Prize Problems were announced. Gowers spoke about the relevance of mathematics to diverse applications citing examples in computer science, finance, and engineering. His theme underscores the unity of different apparently diverse sub-fields of mathematics. His exposition is exceptionally clear and easy to follow, making mathematics accessible to non-experts.

This lecture is a treasure trove of mathematical intuition and insight into the relationship between mathematics and its applications. Using historical and present-day examples, the speaker makes a convincing argument that mathematics plays a crucial role in the advancement of science.

Gowers is known throughout the world for his proficiency as a speaker, and he leads us on a journey through arithmetic progressions, distributions of primes, and the political implications and real-world applications of mathematics, in a way that promises to delight and inspire experts and non-experts alike.

Abstract quoted from http://www.claymath.org/annual_meeting/2000_Millennium_Event/Video/
Location:Palenske 227
Time:
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February 23, 2006

Title:Trying to Find Order in Nature: Mapping Plants Using Multivariate Statistics
Speaker:Christopher Van de Ven
Assistant Professor
Department of Geological Sciences
Albion College

Abstract:The geographic distributions of plants are functions of their local environments. Each plant species has a unique set of environmental tolerances that determine where a plant is able to grow. Using a multivariate statistical technique called canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), I estimate the tolerances of plant species to topographic and geologic parameters. Once the tolerances of those plant species are known, or at least approximated, the distribution of the plant can be mapped everywhere the environmental variables are known. These models are calibrated and evaluated based on data collected in numerous field sites. An interesting application of this technique is to predict how species would respond to climate change, by modifying the environmental variables and re-mapping the plant distributions. By predicting the consequences of local environmental change on plant species, I have identified which plants are at risk of local extinction, and estimated the magnitude of change to force them to go extinct.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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March 2, 2006

Title:Groups and Symmetry
Speaker:Ruth Favro
Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Lawrence Technological University

Abstract:In this talk we will discuss how to use rigid motions and regular polygons to develop multiplication tables for symmetry groups.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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March 23, 2006

Title:Connecting the Dots: Linear Algebra and Graph Theory
Speaker:Sylvia Hobart
Associate Professor
Department Mathematics
University of Wyoming

Abstract:Draw some dots and connect them with lines; this is a graph. Not a graph of a function as in calculus, but a combinatorial graph. Such graphs are defined purely structurally, and many things can be proved using that point of view. But bigger and better things can be done when we bring in other parts of mathematics. I will introduce some basic linear algebra and show how it codifies some properties of graphs. I will focus on a class called strongly regular graphs which are particularly appropriate for this approach.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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March 28, 2006

Title:Life Isn't Fair: Social Choice Theory and Arrow's Theorem
Speaker:Cayley Pendergrass
Doctoral Candidate
Department Mathematics
University of California - San Diego

Abstract:Kenneth Arrow proved in 1950 that, given a precise notion of reasonable, the only reasonable social choice function is dictatorship. As this is unsatisfying, recent work has begun to analyze which alternative voting scheme is best. This talk will discuss Arrow's theorem, what "best" might mean for a social choice procedure, and a geometric analysis of one particular family of social choice procedures.

The talk will be accessible to anyone comfortable with (high school) algebra, basic properties of triangles, and logical reasoning.

Location:Palenske 227
Time:4:10 PM
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April 6, 2006

Title:Exploiting Finger Surface As a Biometric Identifier
Speaker:Damon Woodard
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Department of Computer Science
University of Notre Dame

Abstract:Biometrics, the discipline of establishing an individual's identity based upon physical or behavioral characteristics, has become of major research area mainly due to the numerous applications for reliable personal identification. The performance of a biometric system is highly dependent on the chosen biometric identifier. We present a novel approach for personal identification which utilizes 3D finger surface features as a biometric identifier. Using 3D range images of the hand, a surface representation for the index, middle, and ring finger is calculated and used for comparison to determine subject similarity. We use the curvature based shape index to represent the fingers' surface. A large unique database of hand images supports the research. We use data sets obtained over time to examine the performance of each individual finger surface as a biometric identifier as well as the recognition performance obtained when combining them. The probe and gallery sets sizes are varied to determine their affect on overall system performance. We present performance results for both authentication and identification tasks which suggest that 3D finger surface is a viable choice as a biometric identifier.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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April 13, 2006

Title:Ants Can Pick Stocks: A Heuristic for Constructing Equity Index Funds
Speaker:Danny Myers
Professor
Department of Applied Statistics and Operations Research
Bowling Green State University

Abstract:An equity index fund attempts to duplicate the performance of a selected benchmark as closely as possible. For practical reasons, it is often desirable to achieve this with a designated number of securities. In the operations research literature the selection of securities for index fund construction can be formulated as a quadratic 0-1 programming problem. Since such models are NP hard, heuristic methods are usually required to produce (approximate) solutions in a reasonable time. This article reports on an Ant Colony Optimization approach to selecting securities for inclusion in an S&P 500® index fund.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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April 13, 2006

Title:Statistics Science, Career, Passion, and Beyond
Speaker:Arthur Yeh
Associate Professor
Department of Applied Statistics and Operations Research
Bowling Green State University

Abstract:In this talk, a general introduction of statisticswill be the main focus. Topics include statistics as a science, its applications in diverse fields, the job prospects, and what it takes to become a statistician. Drawing my own experience as an undergraduate majoring in mathematics, I hope to share with you my personal journey into statistics. I will also discuss the Master of Science in Applied Statistics program at Bowling Green State University.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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April 20, 2006

Title:Web-Based Translation for Documenting and Preserving Languages
Speaker:Martha O'Kennon
Professor Emeritus
Department Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College

Abstract:In this talk we will demonstrate how to develop translators in a 3-step process: parsing from source sentence to source diagram, translating from source diagram to target diagram, then finally formatting the target diagram into a target sentence.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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May 4, 2006

Title:The Collapse of The Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Speaker:Kristen Moore
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics
University of Michigan

Abstract:For decades, scientists in many disciplines have worked to explain the dramatic torsional oscillations that preceded the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940, as well as the puzzling behavior of suspension bridges such as the Golden Gate, the Bronx-Whitestone, and Deer Isle. The forty-year effort to control the behavior of the Deer Isle Bridge in Maine, and the recent closing of London's Millennium Bridge testify to the fact that the problem of controlling suspension bridge oscillations remains unsolved.

I will discuss some popular explanations for the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. In addition, I will describe models for the motion of suspension bridges that yield rich and surprising numerical and theoretical results that explain the phenomena observed at Tacoma Narrows on the day of its collapse.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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