2009-2010 Academic Year Colloquium Schedule

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August 27, 2009

Title: A cohomological approach to Serre's Minkowski-style bounds
Speaker:Giovanni Di Matteo (`06)
Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon (forthcoming)
Lyon, France
Abstract: In recent years, Serre has adapted a classical theorem of Minkowski to give bounds for the ℓ-valuation of |G(k)|, where G is a reductive group or semi-simple of inner type. It was observed by Serre that these bounds may be recovered from ℓ-adic cohomology. We illuminate the cohomological approach in the case of G = GLn.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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September 10, 2009

Title: Planning for Graduate Study in Mathematics and Computer Science
Speaker:David A. Reimann
Associate Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: A degree in mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation for graduate school in areas such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, finance, and law. Come learn about graduate school and options you will have to further your education after graduation.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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September 17, 2009

Title: Exploring the mathematical themes of M. C. Escher's artwork
Speaker:David A. Reimann
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: M.C. Escher illustrated many mathematical themes in his artwork. In addition to developing many ideas independently, he was inspired by conversations with mathematicians throughout his lifetime. One thing that sets Escher apart from a strict mathematical illustrator is that Escher extensively used concrete objects to help illustrate complex abstract concepts such as infinity. In this talk, we will view many of Escher's artworks and explore some of the mathematical themes present in his work.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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September 24, 2009

Title: N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős; A film by George Paul Csicsery
Speaker:
Abstract: A man with no home and no job, Paul Erdos was the most prolific mathematician who ever lived. Universally revered among mathematicians, Erdos, who was born in Hungary in 1913, was a wandering genius who eschewed the traditional trappings of success, dedicating himself instead to inventing new problems and searching for their solutions. He inspired generations of mathematicians throughout the world with his insightful approach and the wry humor with which he discusses politics, death, and the cosmic struggle to uncover proofs hidden by the most stubborn of adversaries - God.

N is a Number, a documentary filmed in England, Hungary, Poland and the United States over four years, presents Erdos's mathematical quest in its personal and philosophical dimensions, and the tragic historical events that molded his life. N is a Number was made with support from the American Mathematical Society, Film Arts Foundation, the Heineman Foundation, the Mathematical Association of America and the National Science Foundation's Informal Science Education Program.
http://www.zalafilms.com/films/nisfilm.html.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 PM
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October 1, 2009

Title: Revolution OS - Part 1
Speaker:
Abstract: REVOLUTION OS tells the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.

On June 1, 2001, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

Microsoft fears GNU/Linux, and rightly so. GNU/Linux and the Open Source & Free Software movements arguably represent the greatest threat to Microsoft's way of life. Shot in cinemascope on 35mm film in Silicon Valley, REVOLUTION OS tracks down the key movers and shakers behind Linux, and finds out how and why Linux became such a potent threat.

REVOLUTION OS features interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Brian Behlendorf, Michael Tiemann, Larry Augustin, Frank Hecker, and Rob Malda. To view the trailer or the first eight minutes go to the ifilm website for REVOLUTION OS.

Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, Wipro, Ogilvy & Mather, OSTG, and Dreamworks Animation have rented REVOLUTON OS for private theatrical screenings. It has also screened in numerous film festivals including South By Southwest Film Festival, the Atlanta Film & Video Festival, Boston Film Festival, and Denver International Film Festival. REVOLUTION OS won Best Documentary at both the Savannah Film & Video Festival and the Kudzu Film Festival.

See www.revolution-os.com/ for more information.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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October 8, 2009

Title: Revolution OS - Part 2
Speaker:
Abstract: REVOLUTION OS tells the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.

On June 1, 2001, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

Microsoft fears GNU/Linux, and rightly so. GNU/Linux and the Open Source & Free Software movements arguably represent the greatest threat to Microsoft's way of life. Shot in cinemascope on 35mm film in Silicon Valley, REVOLUTION OS tracks down the key movers and shakers behind Linux, and finds out how and why Linux became such a potent threat.

REVOLUTION OS features interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Brian Behlendorf, Michael Tiemann, Larry Augustin, Frank Hecker, and Rob Malda. To view the trailer or the first eight minutes go to the ifilm website for REVOLUTION OS.

Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, Wipro, Ogilvy & Mather, OSTG, and Dreamworks Animation have rented REVOLUTON OS for private theatrical screenings. It has also screened in numerous film festivals including South By Southwest Film Festival, the Atlanta Film & Video Festival, Boston Film Festival, and Denver International Film Festival. REVOLUTION OS won Best Documentary at both the Savannah Film & Video Festival and the Kudzu Film Festival.

See www.revolution-os.com/ for more information.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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October 15, 2009

Title: Teaching Robots to See
Speaker:Nathan Sprague
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Abstract: I will present some recent research at the intersection of machine learning, computer vision, and robotics. The objective of my work is to understand how machines and organisms can learn to extract relevant information from the noise and confusion of unprocessed visual input. I will also describe recent work at Kalamazoo College to develop a simulator and controller framework for the iRobot Create robotic platform.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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October 29, 2009

Title: The Fibonacci Sequence: Melody and Harmony
Speaker:Vivek Dhand
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Abstract: The Fibonacci numbers are famous for their intriguing appearances in art and nature, and their mathematical properties have been extensively studied. Remarkably, the Fibonacci sequence is periodic mod n, for any positive integer n. In fact, we can produce many such periodic sequences by simply changing our initial conditions. We interpret these sequences in terms of points on a torus, and then as a musical score.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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November 5, 2009

Title: The P2 + P problem and conjectures of Pólya
Speaker:Stephanie Edwards
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
Hope College
Holland, Michigan
Abstract: One of the problems stated in the Pólya and Szegö text from the early 1900's, "Aufgaben und Lehrsätze aus der Analysis," is: If P is a real polynomial with only real zeros, find the number of non-real zeros of P2 + P. If one removes the hypothesis that P has only real zeros, the problem becomes quite hard and was not solved until the 1980's. We will solve the P2 + P problem when P has only simple real zeros. Further, we will show how the problem can be restated in terms of the number of non-real zeros of the second derivative of a real entire function and discuss the research and progress which has been made in the area of distribution of zeros of real entire functions.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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November 12, 2009

Title: Simplified Assembly Language Programming
Speaker:James T. Streib
Professor and Chair of Computer Science
Department of Computer Science
Illinois College
Jacksonville, Illinois
Abstract: Assembly Language is a low-level language that uses mnemonics and has a one-to-one correspondence to the machine language (which uses ones and zeros) of a particular processor. Understanding the fundamentals of assembly language need not be intimidating and programming can be simplified by using techniques involved in learning high-level languages. This talk is based on a previously published paper by the same name in the Journal of Computing for Small Colleges, November 2000, and also an upcoming text tentatively entitled Guide to Assembly Language: A Look at the Intel Processor to be published by Springer Verlag London Ltd.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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November 19, 2009

Title: Minimal Requirements for Representation in the Democratic Primary
Speaker:Michael A. Jones
Associate Editor
Mathematical Reviews
American Mathematical Society
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Abstract: In the Democratic Party Primary, presidential candidates are assigned delegates based on their share of the vote in each primary state using Hamilton's method of apportionment. However party rules state that candidates receiving less than 15% of the vote are not awarded any delegates. In this talk, we look at the consequences of such a cut-off for Hamilton's method and several other apportionment methods. For each method, we find the threshold of inclusion (the level of support necessary to possibly receive a delegate) and the threshold of exclusion (the level of support necessary to assuredly receive a delegate). We compare these values and determine the relationship between the thresholds and the Democratic Party cutoff of 15%. We also examine a new apportionment paradox that can arise when cut-offs are applied to Hamilton's method.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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January 28, 2010

Title: Combinatoria Poetica: Counting and Visualizing Rhyme Patterns in Sonnets
Speaker:Hartmut F.W. Höft
Professor
Computer Science
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Abstract: I will give a brief overview of sonnets, citing some examples, and describe a notation for the grouping structure and end rhyme pattern types of individual poems and sonnet sequences. Then I construct the sets of rhyme patterns of poems with even rhymes and compute their counts. Cascading this construction over rhyme groupings leads to counts for a variety of sonnet forms. The structure and counts for two types of sonnets are visualized as trees. I then visualize end rhyme patterns as color bands for two types of patterns: (1) systematically generated rhyme patterns for sections of sonnets, and (2) sonnet sequences from the literature. These bands provide a holistic visual overview that can give insight into the structure of poem sequences that may span hundreds of lines. Different color assignments can also be used to exhibit and enhance the visual beauty inherent in rhyme patterns. Mathematica 7 is used to create counts, summary tables and images of end rhyme patterns.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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February 4, 2010

Title: Guessing Games, Information Theory, and Codes
Speaker:Ryan Hutchinson
Assistant Professor
Mathematics
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale, Michigan
Abstract: Information theory is a mathematical framework for studying the problems of reliable transmission and storage of data. In this talk, we will use a simple guessing game to illustrate some of the fundamental concepts of information theory and the limits they place on the possibility of reliable communication over a noisy channel. We will also discuss the use of codes in correcting errors that result from the presence of noise.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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February 11, 2010

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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February 18, 2010

Title: Some Really Interesting Fibonacci Numbers
Speaker:Mark E. Bollman
Associate Professor and Chair
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: The Fibonacci sequence F(n) = (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,...), where F(0) = 0, F(1) = 1, and F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2) for n > 1, was discovered in 1202 and has been the object of much mathematical fascination for over 800 years. In this talk, we will search for Fibonacci numbers that have other interesting mathematical properties--perfect squares, triangular numbers, and the like. Several questions are completely solved, while others remain open even today. In addition, we will explore the interplay between experimental mathematics, as revealed by computer work, and the rigor necessary for a complete mathematical proof.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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February 25, 2010

Title: Between the Folds, a film by Vanessa Gould
Speaker:
Abstract: Green Fuse Films' award-winning documentary Between the Folds chronicles the stories of ten fine artists and intrepid theoretical scientists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at hard-earned graduate degrees—all to forge unconventional lives as modern-day paperfolders.

As they converge on the unlikely medium of origami, these artists and scientists reinterpret the world in paper, and bring forth a bold mix of sensibilities towards art, expressiveness, creativity and meaning. And, together these offbeat and provocative minds demonstrate the innumerable ways that art and science come to bear as we struggle to understand and honor the world around us—as artists, scientists, creators, collaborators, preservers, and simply curious beings.

"Luminously photographed", with a "haunting" original score featuring the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the film paints an arresting portrait of the mysterious creative threads that bind us all–fusing science and sculpture, form and function, ancient and new.

See www.greenfusefilms.com for more information.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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March 4, 2010

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 25, 2010

Title: Mathematical models of shape memory alloys
Speaker:Darren E. Mason
Associate Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Albion College
Albion, Michigan
Abstract: On overview of shape memory alloys is given including mathematical models that can be used to predict the behavior of these fascinating materials.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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April 1, 2010

Title: Mathematics on the gridiron
Speaker:Dan Isaksen
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan
Abstract: I will discuss a few examples of pure mathematics problems that arise in the game of American football.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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April 8, 2010

Title: PRODUCT WARNING: Scratch is highly engaging and contagious
Speaker:George Stockman
Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Abstract: Scratch is a visual programming environment that makes programming accessible to kids 10 years old and up. Sprites are objects that have color, shape, etc. and can be moved about on a stage by programming coordinate locations. Moreover, sprites can make sounds, can change costume, and can have their behavior timed by messages sent by other sprites. Scratch provides menus of explicit commands and control structures that the programmer (script writer) uses to create a program or behavior. Creating a script is "lego-like" so the programmer has a visual guide to the language components. Programming is thus drag-and-drop and filling in parameters, such as the number of times to repeat a loop. Scratch has a rich set of sprites, sounds, backgrounds, and example games, stories, and simulations for "plug-and-play". It has been used in CS1 at Harvard to introduce students to programming and multimedia. It has also become a common topic in tech camps for kids, as it has been at ITEC-Lansing.

Those with laptops can download Scratch from scratch.mit.edu and bring it to the talk to work along with the speaker.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10 pm
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April 15, 2010

Title: Frequency modulation and synthesizing music
Speaker:David Austin
Professor
Department of Mathematics
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, Michigan
Abstract: Music and mathematics are deeply expressive languages that reveal their mysteries through both pattern and serendipity. This talk aims to expand the connection by demonstrating some elegant mathematical ideas that explain how music may be represented and even created by a computer.

The figure above shows the waveform created when the G string on a guitar is picked. We'll use this as a starting point to understanding the nature of sound and what it takes to recreate a sound like this.

I intend for this talk to be accessible to undergraduates. In fact, I hope to make the ideas, which include topics such as Fourier series and Bessel functions, very concrete through the use of pictures and sound files.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:10
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April 29, 2010

Title:Student Presentations
Speaker:Students
Mathematics and Computer Science
Albion College
Albion, Michigan, USA
Abstract: Yang Chen, "Validity of Unbiased forward rate hypothesis"
A market is efficient if the market price reflects all publicly available information. In line with the unbiased forward rate hypothesis (UFH), the Foreign Exchange (FOREX) markets are efficient in the sense that arbitrage keeps exchange rates between any two currencies to be consistent with other exchange rates. This paper examines the validity of the UFH, argues that the forward exchange rates are not unbiased predictors of future spot rates, and concludes FOREX markets are not efficient due to information lags.

Matt Howe, "User login and authentication and security through the web"
A discussion of these login and authentication as implemented on Squeller.

Rachel Kamischke, "Teaching les Mathématiques en France and in the United States"
A discussion of research comapring the mathematics education systems in France and the USA.

Mike Smar, "Can Machines Think: A Brief History"
In 1950 Alan Turing proposed what we now call The Turing Test as a measure of whether a machine could think. This was understandably controversial. Since then, various AI's have been put forth, such as ELIZA and PERRY, and various contentions have been raised, some by Turing himself. So, given a sufficiently advanced AI, is it thinking in the same sense that people think, or is it just blindly manipulating symbols?

Robbie Sessions, "Development of a Networked Poker Client"
If you've ever been to a casino, you know the thrill of gambling. With the rise of the internet, you can still get in on the action without even leaving your house. Online poker is a booming example. However, the development of a poker client capable of supporting networked play is no easy feat. This talk will explore the challenges to overcome in creating one's own networked poker client, including establishing client/server communication, handling dynamic game logic, supporting scalability, and idiot-proofing a graphical user interface. This project is only in its infancy, but it has already shown great promise.

Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM
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