2008-2009 Academic Year Colloquium Schedule

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September 4, 2008

Title:Unusual Behavior in Rubber Cubes
Speaker:Darren E. Mason
Associate Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, MI, USA
Abstract:In this talk we will consider the mathematical problem associated with special linear deformations of an incompressible and nonlinear elastic cube. We will discover that the problem admits a wide variety of different solutions, depending on the magnitude and direction of external isotropic forces. To understand why certain solutions are preferred by nature, we will then study an associated energy minimization problem that leads to a selection criterion to determine the optimal deformed state of the cube.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 11, 2008

Title:Combintorial Problems Arising from English Country Dance
Speaker:Robert A. Messer
Emeritus Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: A popular form of folk dance is English country dance. In one simple English country dance, four couples dance as two groups of two couples. As the dance progresses, each couple moves to a new position and dances with another couple. Can you have such a dance where each couple dances in each of the four positions with each of the other three couples? What are other mathematical restrictions on such dances?
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 18, 2008

Title:Combintorial Problems Arising from English Country Dance
Speaker:Robert A. Messer
Emeritus Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: A popular form of folk dance is English country dance. In one simple English country dance, four couples dance as two groups of two couples. As the dance progresses, each couple moves to a new position and dances with another couple. Can you have such a dance where each couple dances in each of the four positions with each of the other three couples? What are other mathematical restrictions on such dances?
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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September 25, 2008

Title:Liberal Arts at Work: An Albion Applied Mathematics Education
Speaker:Erich Owens
Student
Engineering
Columbia University
New York, NY, USA
Abstract:My time at Albion engendered a deep appreciation for both mathematics and the liberal arts. This has led to appreciation for both sides of the pure/applied dichotomy, forays into related fields (Political Game Theory, Probability Theory and Stochastics, Systems Engineering). I plan to speak about my studies since leaving Albion College, the internship opportunities with NASA and the DoE that have been afforded to me, my time abroad in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, and the Engineering School's atmosphere at Columbia University (and further reflection on the 3-2 program). I hope to give some sense of the possibilities available to current Mathematics and Computer Science students at Albion College, spread some enthusiasm about the sheer magnitude of what can be studied, and hopefully answer some questions about the pre-engineering program.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:35 PM
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September 25, 2008

Title:The Road to the Farmland
Speaker:Adam Hashimoto
Student
Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor,, MI
Abstract:Albion College's Dual Degree Engineering program prepared me well not only for my engineering classes but also for the real world. In my presentation, I will talk about how the professors, classes, and classmates at Albion prepared me for the Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Michigan, all of the challenges and opportunities available at U of M, and the experience I gained while interning with John Deere as a Product Engineer at the Seeding Group in Moline, IL this past summer.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 2, 2008

Title:Treewidth, Algorithm Design and Computational Complexity: How We Can Exploit Problem Structure to CreateFaster Algorithms
Speaker:Harold Connamacher
Assistant Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan, USA
Abstract:Treewidth is a fundamental property of a graphs. The treewidth property was defined by Neil Robertson and Paul Seymour in the late 1970's. Originally used to answer Wagner's Conjecture on graph minors, in the decades that followed there was an explosion of research using treewidth to study other graph structures, computational complexity, and algorithm design. New algorithms based on treewidth have been used in many areas of computer science including databases and artificial intelligence. This talk will introduce fundamental concepts in algorithms, computational complexity, and discrete mathematics.It will then introduce treewidth and show how we can create fast algorithms for intractable problems when the underlying graph of the problem has small treewidth.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 9, 2008

Title:Computerized Voting Machines: Who is Counting Your Vote?
Speaker:Barbara Simons (Virtual)
Senior Technology Advisor for IBM Global Services, Retired
Almaden Research Center
California
Abstract:In this video, the speaker highlights some of the issues of modern voting systems.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 16, 2008

Title:Hide and Seek: A Quick Peek at Steganography
Speaker:Peter Honeyman
Research Professor of Information and Scientific Director
Center for Information Technology Integration
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Abstract:In February 2001, Jack Kelley reported in USA Today that Usama bin Laden and his associates were communicating plans for terrorist attacks against the United States by surreptitiously embedding them in photographs posted on the Internet.

To investigate Kelley's claim, Niels Provos and I downloaded images from implicated web sites. We examined them for months on a collection of over 500 engineering workstations using state of the art steganography detection algorithms developed by Provos as part of his doctoral research.

In August 2001, we reported at a computer security conference that our examination of millions of images failed to produce a single hidden message. One month later, our results took on unexpected significance and were reported all over the world.

In 2004, USA Today fired Jack Kelley, who admitted to years of mendacious reporting.

In this talk, I will (briefly!) review the 25 century history of steganography, describe how today's techniques borrow from modern cryptography, and show how even the most sophisticated algorithms leave subtle telltales that suggest the presence of hidden content. I will review the massive search that Niels and I undertook and explain why I believe that our results accurately reflect the absence of steganographic content in secret Internet communications.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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October 30, 2008

Title:ENAVis: Enterprise Network Activities Visualization
Speaker:Qi Liao
Graduate Student
Computer Science and Engineering
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana
Abstract:With the prevalence of multi-user environments, it has become an increasingly challenging task to precisely identify who is doing what on an enterprise network. Current management systems that rely on inferring user identity and application usage via log files from routers and switches are not capable of accurately reporting and managing a large-scale network due to the coarseness of the collected data. We propose a system that utilizes finer-grained data in the form of local context, i.e. the precise user and application associated with a network connection. Through the use of dynamic correlation and graph modeling, we developed a visualization tool called ENAVis (Enterprise Network Activities Visualization). ENAVis aids a real-world administrator in allowing them to more efficiently manage and gain insight about the connectivity between hosts, users, and applications that is otherwise obfuscated, lost or not collected in systems currently deployed in an enterprise setting.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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November 6, 2008

Title:A Voting Theory Approach to Golf Scoring
Speaker:Michael A. Jones
Mathematical Reviews
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Abstract:The Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) is the only professional sports league in the U.S. that changes the method of scoring depending on the event. Even without including match play or team play, PGA tournaments can be scored under stroke play or the modified Stableford scoring system; these two methods of scoring are equivalent to using voting vectors to tally an election. This equivalence is discussed and data from the 2004 Masters and International Tournaments are used to examine the effect of changing the scoring method on the results of the tournament.

With as few as 3 candidates, elementary linear algebra and convexity can be used to show that changing how votes are tallied by a voting vector can result in up to 7 different election outcomes (ranking all 3 candidates and including ties) even if all of the voters do not change the way they vote! Sometimes, regardless of the voting vector the same outcome would have occurred, as in the 1992 US Presidential election. I relate this to the question: Can we design a scoring vector to defeat Tiger Woods? And answer it, retrospectively, for his record-breaking 1997 Masters performance.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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November 13, 2008

Title:Having a BLAST with Biology in Computer Science
Speaker:Pamela A. Cutter
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Abstract:DNA analysis is a subject that is in the news almost every day, whether it be a new advance in medical research, a criminal trial, or some other application. BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) is an important program used by biologists worldwide to compare DNA and protein sequences and to infer functional and evolutionary relationships between them. In this talk, we will examine several methods of aligning DNA sequences, and will look at the some of the algorithmic details underlying the implementation of BLAST.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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November 20, 2008

Title:A Smarter Way to Bet
Speaker:Bobby Clouse
Senior Mathematics Major
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract:In Las Vegas, betting lines are conducted daily on various sports events. The goal of creating these projections is to bait fans into betting for one team or the other. The college bowl season is a huge part of the year for line makers. In this talk, we will look at a couple of ways these betting lines are calculated. Then our goal is to collect data of various years of college football bowl games. In the end, our goal is to examine a couple of rating systems and find a general answer for a proper way to bet on these games.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:35 PM
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November 20, 2008

Title:The Atomic Enigma
Speaker:Jarrett Dunn
Senior Mathematics Major
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract:The basic idea of my presentation is that I will be telling the story of the atom and how our ideas of the atom have changed over time. Our view of the atom provides a good reflection on how physics has evolved and what we understand about nature at any given point in time. I also plan on handing out a paper that represents some of the work done by Niels Bohr. I want the audience to know that there is math involved in our understanding of the atom. So my presentation is mostly historical, but I plan to stress at the end that the story of the atom continues to evolve as it is always changing. I will be providing a gateway into quantum physics, but I will also highlight the fact that quantum physics cannot be the final say in physics.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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December 4, 2008

Title:Summer and Off-Campus Programs
Speaker:David A. Reimann
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
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 29, 2009

Title:The Superbowl Box Pool
Speaker:Michael A. Jones
Mathematical Reviews
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Abstract:

Each year approximately 45% of U.S. households watch the Superbowl and approximately $90 million is bet on the game. A common office pool, the Superbowl box pool, sells each square of a 10x10 grid for the same price. After all squares have been sold, the row and column headings are revealed to indicate the units' digits of the scores of the two teams. At the end of each quarter, a percentage of the collected money is returned to the person who bought the square that matches the teams' scores modulo 10. Although the pool is fair because each square is equally likely to be purchased for the same price and the expected value is zero, certain scores are clearly better, e.g., (7,0), than others, e.g., (5,8).

After years of running a Superbowl box pool at a neighbor's house, I thought about how to create odds for the different scores. I develop both 200-state and 100-state Markov chain models of Superbowl play to determine the likelihood of end-of-quarter scores. Touchdown, extra point, field goal, safety, and two-point conversion data from the 2008 NFL season are parameters for the model. The outcomes are compared with end-of-quarter data from both the 2008 NFL season and past Superbowls. I also discuss the assumptions and limitations of the model.

Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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February 5, 2009

Title:The Evolution of Cooperation on Random Networks
Speaker:Thomas I. Treloar
Assistant Professor
Mathematics
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale, Michigan, USA
Abstract:

Understanding the mechanisms behind the emergence and perseverance of cooperation in complex systems is a problem of interest in varied disciplines including biology, physics, economics, the social sciences, and mathematics. The prisoner's dilemma in the setting of evolutionary game theory has become an important framework in which to study this cooperation phenomena. In the past several years, it has been well-documented that models of 'realistic' populations are very favorable to the sustainability of cooperation. In this talk, we will discuss the effect certain population structures (modeled by a graph) have on the success of cooperation in the population. A surprisingly simple relationship between cooperation levels in a population and a graph coefficient which relates the 'connectedness' of an average person to the 'connectedness' of the average neighbor will also be given. This connection will give us a new insight into the 'local' mechanisms which aid cooperation. A natural link to models of the spread of a disease in a population is also provided through this connection.

Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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February 12, 2009

Title: Spherical geometry: The oldest example of a non-Euclidean geometry
Speaker:Celso Melchiades Doria
Professor
Departamento de Matemática
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
Florianópolis - Santa Catarina, Brazil
Abstract:

It will be introduced some historical aspects of Geometry, the formula for Pythagoras' Theorem on the surface of a sphere and also some metric relations (cosine and sine laws). As a by product, the well known Pythagoras' Theorem from Euclidean geometry will be obtained. Spherical geometry has been part of humankind since the rest beginning of navigations through the seas. Thus, since then, the measurement of distances and the description of positions on the surface of Earth have been essential. The GPS at those old years were the stars, the geographical points and later the lighthouses (Alexandria Lighthouse was the most famous one). The Pythagoras' Theorem, on the surface of a plane, has been known for a very long time as one of the most important tools to measure distances and angles, but unfortunately it could not be applied to measure distances and angles for the purpose of navigation. So, how much Geometry was used for the purposes of navigation? Answer: A LOT. Although the question concerning the 5th-Euclidean postulate took around 2000 years to be settled, it could had been settled centuries before if sailors and mathematician were acquainted with the fact that over the surface of a sphere the concepts of Geometry could also be defined and further developed. The main problem was, until 1820, nobody knew how to define a Geometry, it was wrongly thought that Geometry meant Euclidean Geometry (Kant argued that the truths of geometry were synthetic a priori truths, and not analytic).

Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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February 19, 2009

Title: When is the Pen Mightier Than the Keyboard?
Speaker:Andries van Dam (Virtual)
Thomas J. Watson, Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education and Professor of Computer Science
Department of Computer Science
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Abstract: User interface design is an important component of modern computer systems. An overview of new pen-based software is given. Examples are shown of pen-based applications in mathematics and chemistry. This video is available online from Purdue's Computer Science Videos.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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February 26, 2009

Title:Careers in Mathematics and Computer Science
Speaker:David A. Reimann
Associate Professor and Chair
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, MI, USA
Abstract:A degree in mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation for employment in areas such as teaching, actuarial science, software development, engineering, and finance. Come learn about career opportunities awaiting you after graduation. Slides from the talk are available at http://zeta.albion.edu/~dreimann/talks/careers/careers.html.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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March 5, 2009

Title:
Speaker:David L. Anderson
Visiting Assistant Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: In this talk, an overview of the physical problems faced by fire-control systems, including relative ship motion, wind velocity, the Coriolis effect, projectile drift due to rifling, and ship pitch and roll due to wave action. As continual advancements were made to control-fire systems, such as gyroscopic and gear-based computers, the practical firing range increased from several hundred yards to over 20 miles.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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March 26, 2009

Title:Finding the Best Way from Here to There
Speaker:Darren E. Mason
Associate Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract:Given a task to accomplish, it is natural to ask what is the best way to achieve your goal? Maybe you are flying from Beijing to London and need the shortest flight path. Or you are selling fuel and you want to find a function P(t) that gives you the optimal price at time t to maximize your profit. Or you are crossing a river with a strong current and want to determine a propeller direction (as a function of time) so that you cross the river in the least amount of time. The number of possible questions like those above seems endless. During this lecture will discuss some of the above problems, a famous brain-teaser called the brachistochrone problem, and illustrate how to find solutions to these problems using a version of calculus that makes sense in infinite dimensions – the interesting field of variational calculus!
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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April 2, 2009

Title:A Novel Approach to 3D Facial Imaging for Biometric Security
Speaker:Robert McKeon
Graduate Student
Computer Science and Engineering
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
Abstract:Biometrics have become increasingly important in the field of security as related to national security and securing a person's identity from identity theft. 3D face recognition is one of the many biometric techniques currently researched because each person's face is unique. Many commercially available 3D sensors suitable for face image capture employ passive or texture-assisted stereo imaging or structured illumination with a moving light stripe. These techniques require a stationary subject. We describe an initial design and evaluation of a fixed-stripe, moving object 3D scanner designed for human faces. Our method of acquisition requires the subject to walk through a light screen generated by two laser line projectors. Triangulation and tracking applied to the video sequences captured during subject motion yield a 3D image of the subject's face from multiple images. To demonstrate the accuracy of our initial design, a small-scale facial recognition experiment was executed that showed the faces for this proof of concept are viable for facial recognition.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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April 9, 2009

Title:Scientific Cyberinfrastructure and the Qualities of Lay Science
Speaker:Archer L. Batcheller
Graduate Student
School of Information
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Abstract:Scientific cyberinfrastructure consists of organizations, technologies, and practices that support science work at a distance. This research advances the stream of work on public engagement in science by focusing on a particular type of public engagement, lay research, as mediated by computing technologies. We investigate how lay scientists’ needs are represented in cyberinfrastructure, and how that impacts their engagement in science activities. In particular, cyberinfrastructure designs - social and technical - have the potential to help or hinder laity involvement in research. This work looks at active cyberinfrastructure-building efforts in several domains, including limnology and climate science, to see how lay scientists are affecting and affected by the growing cyberinfrastructure. The active cyberinfrastructure design work has surfaced relevant issues, providing a good opportunity to talk with those involved. Surveys and interviews with both professional and lay scientists, and technology-builders yield data about the background and goals of the scientists, and how those goals are being addressed as technical and social cyberinfrastructure grows.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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April 16, 2009

Title: Code Rush
Speaker:
Abstract: This documentary film shows the final days of Netscape in 1998 as they are taken over by AOL in response to fierce competition by Microsoft. The film also depicts life in a software company in Silicon Valley during the .com boom of the late 20th century.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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April 30, 2009

Title:Student Presentations
Speaker:Students
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan, USA
Abstract:TBA
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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