Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to sub-navigation

Current Academic Year Seminars

BLOCK 2, 2014 - October

Friday October 10th, Noon
Tutt Science 122 - Kresge Lecture Hall
Pizza will be served! 

Speaker: CC alumna Sarah Wolff

Title: A Random Walk through Algebra

Abstract: How many shuffles does it take to completely randomize a deck of cards? This simple question, answered by Persi Diaconis in 1986, opens up an entire world of mathematics: the theory of randomness. In this talk, we will develop and analyze the random walk created by shuffling a deck of cards and then apply what we’ve learned to other interesting settings. The theory of randomness has applications not only in card shuffling but also economics, genetics, computer science, psychology, and much more!

Rated: G

Friday October 3rd, 2:30pm
Tutt Science 229

Speaker: Fred Tinsley

Title: Group embeddings, recursiveness (logic, argh!), and topology  

Abstract: In the early 1960’s Graham Higman characterized those finitely generated groups that embed in finitely presented groups.[i]  This amazing theorem pinpointed those finitely generated groups whose relation set is recursively enumerable as precisely those groups that embed in some finitely presented group.  Such groups are called recursively presented.  In obtaining this result, Higman “firmly established that the connection between the logical notion of recursiveness and questions about finitely presented groups is not accidental but very deep”.[ii]  Of course, these concepts also are important in theoretical computer science.  But to a topologist such as me, finitely presented groups are quite desirable as they are naturally the fundamental groups of high-dimensional, closed manifolds (surfaces) while at the same time are potentially better understood using computational methods (computers).  We will investigate whether the necessarily universal techniques used by Higman (and others since) can be helpful in obtaining embeddings of specific recursively presented groups that are important to a project in which I am currently involved.

[i] Higman, G: “Subgroups of finitely presented groups”, Proc Royal Soc London Ser A 262, 455-475 (1961)

[ii] Lyndon, R, Schupp, P: Combinatorial Group Theory, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York (1977), p 214.


Rated:  PG13 (though X in some places)




BLOCK 1, 2014 - September

Friday September 19th, 3pm
Tutt Science Second Floor Skilling Commons

This week, on Sept. 19, we will have a special edition of Fearless Friday.  Some of our students who did research projects this past summer (either here or elsewhere) will be presenting their work in a small poster session.  There will be approximately 7 posters, on topics from pure and applied math and computer science . There is a special time and location: 3:00 – 4:00 pm, in the 2nd floor open area ("Skilling Commons") of Tutt Science.  Light refreshments will be served.

  • Lou Brand: Genetic algorithms, neural networks, and the blood-brain barrier
  • Emma Holmes: Modeling microscopic and macroscopic traffic flow utilizing the particle filter and the ensemble Kalman filter
  • Melissa Jay: Speech intelligibility index model: A key aspect to a child's development of speech and language
  • Nick Kramer: Multi-valued logics and their algebras
  • Minqi Liu: A three-species model with predator-prey, competition, and mutualistic interactions
  • Katy Martinez: How to prevent bullying: A mathematical approach
  • Denali Molitor: Self-organized criticality for optimal random search


Friday September 12th,  Noon
TSC 122 and Math Dept Lounge

Ice cream social and Dept Research Overviews

Come join the Mathematics and Computer Science department with the annual welcome back event, where every professor will be giving a brief overview of their research. Topics covered will range from applying abstract algebra to evolutionary biology to topology and designing robust cellular automata. This is a chance for returning students to reconnect with faculty and peers, and new students to introduce themselves and discover what’s happening. It’s also a chance for majors to consider research alongside their professors.

Rated: G - PG13


Friday September 5th,  2:30pm
TSC 229

Michael Penn