Speaker: Jonathan Christopher Mattingly (Duke)
When: Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
Where: Toll Physics, Lecture Room 1412
Abstract: Quantifying Gerrymandering: A Mathematician Goes to Court
In October 2017, I found myself testifying for hours in a FederalIn October 2017, I found myself testifying for hours in a Federalcourt. I had not been arrested. Rather---I was attempting to quantifygerrymandering using mathematical analysis. I was intrigued by thesurprising results of the 2012 election, wondering if these resultswere really surprising. It hinged on probing the geopolitical structureof North Carolina using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm.In this talk, I will describe the mathematical ideas involved in ouranalysis. The talk will be accessible and, hopefully, interesting to all,including undergraduates. In fact, this project began as a sequence ofundergraduate research projects, which undergraduates continue to beinvolved with to this day.
Speaker: Jordan Ellenberg (Wisconsin-Madison)
When: Friday, April 27, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.
Where: William E. Kirwan Hall Room 3206
Abstract: One of the most closely watched Supreme Court cases this year is also one of the most mathematical — Gill v.One of the most closely watched Supreme Court cases this year is also one of the most mathematical — Gill v.Whitford, a case about whether the state legislative districts in Wisconsin were drawn to favor Republicans so greatlythat the right of Wisconsin Democrats to representation in the legislature was unconstitutionally diminished. The court will also hear a companion case, Benisek v. Lamone, concerning congressional districts in Maryland, whichare drawn to favor Democrats.
As a native of Maryland, a current resident of Wisconsin, and a mathematician, I’mnaturally following this closely. How can we use mathematics to test whether district boundaries are drawn to favorone party or the other? How much unfairness is too much? And how can people with mathematical, statistical,and computational training participate in the process and help us get to a point where the legal status quo has goodmathematical grounding?
Speaker: Ingrid Daubechies (Duke)
When: Thursday, April 27 at 4pm
Where: William E. Kirwan Hall Room 3206
Abstract: Mathematics for Art Investigation: Mathematical tools for image analysis increasingly play a role in helping art historians and art conservators assess the state of conversation of paintings, and probe into the secrets of their history. the talk will review several case studies, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Van Eyck among others.
Ingrid Daubechies earned her Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In addition to seminal advances in time-frequency analysis, she is best known for her breakthroughs in wavelet research and contributions to digital signal processing. Some of the wavelet bases and other computational techniques she developed were incorporated into the JPEG2000 standard for image compression.
Ingrid's career has seen many impressive firsts: the first female full professor of mathematics at Princeton; the first woman the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics in 2000; the first woman president of the International Mathematics Union in 2010; and she is very likely the first and only mathematician to have been granted the title of Baroness by Belgium's King albert II.
Ingrid continues to break new ground in mathematics research, focusing on signal analysis and inverse problems, with applications ranging from fMRI and geophysics to paleontology and fine art painting.
Speaker: Dr. Tomaso Poggio (MIT)
When: Thursday, April 28 at 4pm
Where: John S. Toll Physics Building Room 1412
Abstract: The birth of artificial-intelligence research as an autonomous discipline is generally thought to have been the month long Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956, which convened 10 leading electrical engineers — including MIT’s Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon — to discuss “how to make machines use language” and “form abstractions and concepts.” A decade later, impressed by rapid advances in the design of digital computers, Minsky was emboldened to declare that “within a generation ... the problem of creating ‘artificial intelligence’ will substantially be solved.”
The problem, of course, turned out to be much more difficult than AI’s pioneers had imagined. In recent years, by exploiting machine learning — in which computers learn to perform tasks from sets of training examples — artificial-intelligence researchers have built special-purpose systems that can do things like interpret spoken language or play professional-level Go games or drive cars using vision. Some of the present excitement is due to realistic expectations for further progress.
There is also a substantial amount of hype. However, systems that are intelligent in narrow domains are being developed.
I will briefly review today’s engineering of intelligence and some of the mathematics underlying it, the mathematics of learning from data. I will also sketch the vision of the MIT Center for Brains, Minds and Machines which strives to make progress on the science of intelligence.
The Inaugural William E. Kirwan Distinguished Undergraduate Lecture
Feuerbach’s Theorem: A Beautiful Theorem Deserves a Beautiful Proof" by Professor Douglas Hofstadter* on April 23rd, 2015 4:00-5:00pm in Physics 1412.
Douglas Hofstadter is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science at Indiana University, Director of the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition, and the author of the Pulitzer Prizewinning book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.
Congratulations to our Putnam Exam participants. The University of Maryland Putnam Team was ranked 15th among the 575 competing institutions in the highly competitive Putnam mathematics exam on December 2, 2017.
Congratulations to Aaron George, who ranked 39th and Erik Metz who ranked 81st, and to Jason Zou, Justin Hontz and Pratik Rathore, who were ranked among the top 500 students out of 4,638 participants!
If you are an undergraduate student interested in participating in Putnam or you would like to know more about it, please contact Dr. Ebrahimian at . Interested students meet every Wednesday 4-5:30 pm in the Fall semesters to learn problem solving strategies.
We would like to congratulate the University Maryland team on their excellent performance on this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, the premier undergraduate math competition. The Maryland team consisted of sophomore Aaron George and freshmen Erik Metz and Jason Zou, and placed 14th (among all universities and colleges in the United States and Canada) in the team competition. All 3 team members ranked in the top 200 in the individual competition (out of over 2000 participants), and Erik Metz received Honorable Mention.
Congratulations to Liliana Gonzalez for winning the CMNS Dean’s Outstanding Employee Award and to Professor Niranjan Ramachandran for winning the CMNS Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. These awards will be presented at the annual CMNS Academic Festival on Friday, May 5.
Congratulations also to Rachel Katz and Bill Schildknecht, winners of this year’s departmental staff awards. The awards will be presented at an upcoming staff appreciation ceremony.
We regret to announce the passing of our former colleague C. Robert (Bob) Warner, who died August 7, 2017, in Toronto at the age of 85. Bob worked on classical harmonic analysis in Euclidean space, especially on spectral synthesis in L1 algebras. He was dedicated to teaching and was one of the most popular teachers of real analysis courses.
We hired four assistant professors, three effective summer of 2017 and one effective summer of 2018. One of them is Tamas Darvas, who has already been here for a while as a research associate. The second is Lise-Marie Imbert-Gérard, coming from the Courant Institute at NYU. The third is Rodrigo Trevino, who is an alumnus of the department (his PhD advisor was Giovanni Forni). The fourth is Adam Kanigowski, coming from Penn State. We welcome all of you to our faculty.
Department Chair Scott Wolpert will be receiving this year's Kirwan Undergraduate Education Award at the Faculty-Staff Convocation on September 14th at 3PM in Memorial Chapel. This is for his work with small-group calculus (ACCEL), for being PI on a large NSF undergraduate scholarship grant, for reorganizing the campus design-your-major program (Individual Studies), cofounding the now Federal Fellows program and for serving on the “four year plans” committee (Student Academic Success Degree Completion Policy). Scott reports that “I have totally enjoyed working with many folks around the campus.”