Fall 2017

Faculty Organizers: Professors Thomas Johnstone and Johann Thiel

Room and Time: N719 or N720, 12:45-2pm


 7 No meeting
 14 Speaker: Ying Liu
 21 No meeting (no classes)
 28 Speaker: Satyanand Singh (12:30-1:30)
 5 No meeting
 12 Speaker: Johann Thiel
 19 No meeting (colloquium)
 26 Speaker: Johann Thiel
 2 No meeting
 9 Speaker: Brian Hopkins
 16 Speaker: Thomas Johnstone
 23 No meeting – Thanksgiving
 30 Speaker: Gerry Song
 7 No meeting
 14  Speaker: Arthur Kramer

Abstracts — Fall 2017

September 14, 2017: Dr. Ying Liu: “Securing Birth Certificate Documents with DNA Profiles”

Abstract: The birth certificate is a document used by a person to obtain identification and licensing documents throughout their lifetime. For identity verification, the birth certificate provides limited information to support a person’s claim of identity. Authentication to the birth certificate is strictly a matter of possession. DNA profiling is becoming a commodity analysis that can be done accurately in under two hours with little human intervention. The DNA profile is a superior biometric to add to a birth record because it is stable throughout a person’s life and beyond. Acceptability of universal DNA profiling will depend heavily on privacy and safety concerns. The U.S. FBI CODIS profile is used as a basis to discuss the effectiveness of DNA profiling and to provide a practical basis for a discussion of potential privacy and authenticity controls. It is important to note that adopting DNA profiles to improve document security should be done cautiously.

September 28, 2017: Dr. Satyanand Singh: “A look at the radical side of trigonometry”

Abstract: In this presentation we will illustrate by geometric and algebraic means how one can calculate the exact values of sin(3n◦), where n takes on integral values in the interval 0 ≤ n ≤ 9. In this journey we will encounter different shapes such as

and travel along a complex path to derive a multitude of ways to represent sin(1◦). These notions readily extends to other trigonometric functions.

October 12, 2017: Dr. Johann Thiel: “The Coin Change Problem”

Abstract: What is the minimum number of coins needed to give someone 82 cents in change? There is a simple algorithm that solves this question for our current coin system using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. (Can you figure out the algorithm?)

The more general form of this question is called the Coin Change Problem: given a list of coin denominations and a change amount, what is the minimum number of coins needed to make the change amount?

In this talk we will apply dynamic programming techniques to this problem. In particular, this talk will feature some Python programming.

October 26, 2017: Dr. Johann Thiel: “Introduction to Groups”

Abstract: A group is an important mathematical structure in abstract algebra. In this talk we will introduce some of the definitions needed to understand basic group theory (with lots of examples) and talk about some important applications.

November 9, 2017: Dr. Brian Hopkins: “The Symmetric Group and Fair Division: Does Knowledge Matter?”

Abstract: Sports drafts and divorce settlements are examples of situations where players take turns selecting indivisible goods. Like other topics in fair division, the situation is made more interesting because people may value the goods in different ways. In this talk, we focus on the case of two players, where the machinery of permutations is surprisingly applicable. How many possible outcomes are there? In what circumstances do both players get their best possible outcomes? How can one best take advantage of knowing the other’s preferences? What happens when a player’s motivation switches from greed to spite, the common good, or selfless altruism? In this colorful talk, we’ll sample some applied algebraic combinatorics and address these issues along with the provocative question of the title.

November 16, 2017: Dr. Thomas Johnstone: “Calculus: WHY Differentiation Rules Work The Way They Do”

Abstract: You know HOW to find the derivatives of trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, and radical functions. You know HOW to apply the power rule, the sum rule, the constant multiple rule, the product rule, and the chain rule. But do you wonder WHY any of these rules work the way they do? This talk will be accessible for anyone who is familiar with the basic differentiation rules of calculus, and the talk aims to shed light on the question why these rules work the way they do.

November 30, 2017: Gerry Song: “Becoming a Data Scientist: Skills, Interviews, and Industries”

Abstract: Data science is a currently a popular term, but what does it mean? How does one become a data scientist? What kind of work does one do as a data scientist? In this talk we will go over these questions and more.

December 14, 2017: Dr. Arthur Kramer: “ECLIPSED”

Abstract: In light of the recent sensational Solar eclipse across the US, this talk will examine the phenomenon of Solar and Lunar eclipses and the speaker’s experience observing the one in August 2017. We will look at some of the history and the the early scientific understanding of the motions of the Earth, Sun and Moon including the causes and the different types of eclipses. Some of the mathematics associated with eclipses will be presented and several of the past spectacular eclipses will be discussed including the famous one in 1919 that proved Einstein’s gravitational theory of the bending of light. The talk will conclude with information on future eclipses and how to best plan to see them.

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