Probability and Games

Date: October 10, 2019
Speakers: Johann Thiel
Title: Probability and Games

Abstract: In this talk we will analyze various games of chance, including the Monty Hall Problem and Race to the Finish from Let’s Make a Deal and Plinko from The Price is Right. We will use both theoretical and computational methods to understand the probabilities of winning such games.

Here is the link to a Jupyter notebook describing our computations for the probabilities of winning a prize in Let’s Make a Deal’s Race to the Finish game.

Two Years of Bayesian Bandits for E-commerce

Date: April 18, 2019
Speaker: Austin Rochford
Title: Two Years of Bayesian Bandits for E-commerce
Abstract: At Monetate, we’ve deployed Bayesian bandits (both noncontextual and contextual) to help our clients optimize their e-commerce sites since early 2016. This talk is an overview of the lessons we’ve learned from both the processes of deploying real-time Bayesian machine learning systems at scale and building a data product on top of these systems that is accessible to non-technical users (marketers). This talk will cover:

  • The place of multi-armed bandits in the A/B testing industry,
  • Thompson sampling and the basic theory of Bayesian bandits,
  • Bayesian approaches for accommodating nonstationarity in bandit feedback,
  • User experience challenges in driving adoption of these technologies by nontechnical marketers.

We will focus primarily on noncontextual bandits and give a brief overview of these problems in the contextual setting as time permits.

An Introduction to Git

Date: April 11, 2019
Speaker: Johann Thiel
Title: An Introduction to Git
Abstract: Git is a popular version-control system used to track changes in a set of files (a repository). In this brief introduction to Git, we will cover the basic commands for creating, updating, and working with others on a repository. This will be an interactive talk, so we encourage participants to bring their laptops to follow along (be sure to install Git before attending). We will also have laptops available with the appropriate software already installed.

Celestial Navigation

Date: March 21, 2019
Speaker: Arthur Kramer
Title: Celestial Navigation
Abstract: In today’s world less and less mental and physical effort is needed to cope with one’s needs. Alexa answers all your questions, advises you what to do and how to do it. Doors open for you, food is delivered to your door, toilet seats can close themselves, cars drive without you, and soon Robots will perform many of your tasks. There is less and less for you to do but maybe sit, watch movies and tv, and live vicariously, watching how people coped with their needs years ago. Does this sound appealing? Wouldn’t you like not to depend on electronics and have the skill that enables you to find your location in a more romantic way by gazing at the heavens? People have been doing this for thousands and thousands of years. GPS has only been with us for less than 50 years. Come be introduced to Celestial Navigation using heavenly bodies to locate your position on the earth. It may come in handy some day when your phone runs out of charge.

Software Engineering, Data Science, and Careers in Mathematics

Date: February 28, 2019
Speaker: Charlie Meyers
Title: Software Engineering, Data Science, and Careers in Mathematics
Abstract: This week’s presentation will feature Charlie Meyers, who graduated from NYCCT’s Applied Mathematics program last year. He’s now a Master’s student at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies, studying Data Science. He will share some original research on jobs in the Math and Computer Science fields and discuss his experience interviewing at a multitude of tech companies. This research dives deep into the Bureau of Labor Statistics data to see what kind of jobs are available to recent graduates, as well as what tools, techniques, and languages one must know in order to land a job in the software engineering field. We will also examine what skills will land you a high-paying job in the giant, growth field of data science/software-engineering. Because he is moving to Germany to work at Audi’s self-driving car division, he will speak briefly about the international opportunities of STEM graduates. Time will be allocated at the end for students to ask questions of the Applied Math program, CUNY SPS, Data Science, or job interviews. Stop by, grab a slice of pizza, and learn about the exciting world of health insurance, a salary, and coding for money. 

City Tech, Internships, and Beyond

Date: February 14, 2019
Speaker: Jeffrey Tumminia
Title: City Tech, Internships, and Beyond
Abstract: Jeffrey Tumminia is a City Tech alumnus with a degree in Applied Math. In this talk he will discuss his time at City Tech and give general advice for students interested in math and computer science related careers. There will also be time for a Q&A session.

Sustainable Energy Research at Binghamton University

Date: November 29, 2018
Speaker: Jeffrey M. Mativetsky
Title: Sustainable Energy Research at Binghamton University

Are you interested in helping to develop clean energy solutions? Are you considering graduate school or curious about research? This talk will highlight research in sustainable energy generation and storage at Binghamton University, including my group’s work on solar energy conversion using organic materials and nanomaterials. I will then outline opportunities to participate in energy research as a paid summer researcher or graduate student. These opportunities are open to students majoring in mathematics and all areas of science.

Year of Undergraduate Research (YoUR)

Date: November 8, 2018
Speaker: Various
Title: Year of Undergraduate Research (YoUR)

This will be a series of presentations by various undergraduate students on their research projects. Topics include:

  • Simulating Microgravity
  • Mathematical Modeling in the Air Quality Control
  • A Quantum Leap: The Mathematics of Quantum Mechanics
  • Sorting Algorithms Visualized
  • Geometry Expresses its Designs in Art and Architecture
  • A “Puzzling” solution to a stacking of cubes problem

Privacy and Illegal Numbers: The Mathematics of Encryption

Date: October 25, 2018
Speaker: Charlie Meyers
Title: Privacy and Illegal Numbers: The Mathematics of Encryption

Abstract: Did you know that hundreds of people use the Internet everyday for everything from e-commerce to sharing spicy memes with friends? One of the technologies that underpins this is encryption– the tool that allows data to be privately shared between two endpoints. We will briefly talk about the history of encryption from the Caesar cipher to the enigma machine before delving into modern cryptographic systems. In particular, we will look at how credit cards are secured, how websites secure traffic between host and users, the ins-and-outs of public key cryptography, and its uses in email and instant messaging (like PGP, Signal, or Whatsapp). This talk will be given by a graduate of the NYCCT math program and current student at the Graduate Center’s MS in Data Science program. We will spend the last 20 minutes discussing graduate school, the NYCCT math program (from the perspective of a graduate), and employment tips.