Fall 2011

Tuesday, September 6 - "How Does the Kinect Work?"
Abstract: The Kinect sensor, released by Microsoft in November 2010, is a $150-device that tracks human body movements in real time.  The Kinect has initiated a new era in human-computer interaction: it enables gaming scenarios with no controller (in which a player controls the action  using all four limbs, and head and body movements, for example) and some intriguing new ways of interacting with everyday applications (such as web browsing by gesture alone).  It will probaby also spawn completely new types of software.  The Kinect is a huge commercial success, selling 10 million units in its first four months.  But how does it work?  This talk will explain some of the fascinating math and computer science behind the Kinect, and will also point out some connections to the speaker's own research in computer vision.

Professor John MacCormick
Mathematics & Computer Science
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, September 13 - See below for each talk title
Qi Wang will present "Make Connections between Classroom Learning and Real World Situations"
Abstract: Qi will cite examples from his summer internship experience to explain how students can make connections between what they have learned in class and what we will do in real-world scenarios.
and
Diego Struk will present "Interning with One Laptop Per Child"
Abstract: During the summer of 2010, Diego worked for One Laptop Per Child in the Ancash Region in Peru.  He had a great experience. He will talk about the challenges he and his team faced during the deployment, his experience, the organization and opportunities to get involved with it.
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Thursday, September 22 - "Proving the Impossible"
Abstract: "Nothing is impossible!"  It is comforting to believe this greeting card sentiment; it is the American Dream.  Human flight and the four-minute mile were proclaimed to be impossible, but both came to pass.  Yet there are impossible things, and it is possible to prove that they are so.  In this talk we will look at some of the most famous impossibility theorems - the so-called "problems of antiquity."  The ancient Greek geometers tried and failed to square circles, trisect angles, double cubes, and construct regular polygons using only a compass and straightedge.  So did future generations of great mathematicians.  It took two thousand years to prove conclusively that all four of these are mathematically impossible. No, not even Chuck Norris can square the circle.

Rush Hour Speaker -Professor Dave Richeson
Dickinson College
Mathematics & Computer Science
Stafford Lecture Room
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, September 27 - "The Secret Lives of Mathematicians"
Abstract: The National Security Agency (NSA) plays a critical role in the United States Intelligence Community.  From code making to code breaking, the NSA's primary objectives include both offensive and defensive aspects of communications analysis and development, none of which would be possible without an elite force of mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, and many more.

This talk aims to give an overview of career opportunities in math and computer science at the NSA, and present several key examples of public-key cryptography, including the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange and RSA.

NSA Speaker
Tome 115
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Thursday, October 6 - "Chromatic Polynomials Blending Mathematics and Computer Science"
Abstract: Coloring graphs has intrigued mathematicians since the 4-Color Conjecture was first posed.  One major attempt to confirm this conjecture in the 20th century involved a new mathematical structure called a chromatic polynomial.  Although this structure did not yield a solution, it has taken on a life of its own as an important way to study graph coloring.

The use of mathematics and computer science blend together in the study of chromatic polynomials.  The mathematics gives us insight into the nature of these polynomials and computer science gives us a way to explore nontrivial examples not amenable to hand calculation.

Some of the open questions about these polynomials will be explored including when a polynomial is a chromatic polynomial and when is a chromatic polynomial the chromatic polynomial of exactly one graph.

The currently fastest algorithm for computing chromatic polynomials will be explained.  A theorem suggested by the results of a computation will be shown.

Gary Haggard
Bucknell University
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, October 11 - "Learning & the Search for Strong Al"
Abstract: Strong Al is a term used to mean an artificial intelligence that is on par with or exceeds human intelligence. In this talk, she will define and discuss some of the challenges that face us in the search for Strong Al.  She will also propose an approach to the problem called Collective Learning Systems and demonstrate some of the success achieved using this approach.

Professor Alice Armstrong
Shippensburg University
Rector Science Complex, Stafford Lecture Room
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, October 25 - "Help and Agent Out: Learning From the Environment and Humans"
Abstract: Significant advances have been made in autonomous learning, from game playing to training a robot to walk to autonomous helicopter flight.  However, we have little understanding about how to best teach such agents.  This talk will first present background on reinforcement learning, a paradigm where virtual and robotic agents can autonomously learn to act in complex environments.  We will then discuss a selection of recent work towards integrating autonomous learning with advice from other agents or even humans.

Professor Matt Taylor
Lafayette College
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, November 1 - "Where Do I Go From Here"
Abstract: In this chat they will discuss a wide variety of careers and opportunities for students majoring in mathematics and computer science.  In addition, they will talk about graduate school options, internships, and REUs (Research Experience for Undergraduates).  Specific information about our recent graduates will be provided.

Professor Dick Forrester, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dickinson College
Laura Kilko, Associate Director of Dickinson College Career Center
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, November 15 - "A Reliability Growth Projection Model for One-Shot Systems"
Abstract: This talk will offer several contributations to the area of discrete reliability growth projection.  We present a new, logically derived model for estimating the reliability growth of complex, one-shot systems (i.e., the reliability following implementation of corrective actions to known failure modes).  Multiple statistical estimation proecdures are utilized to approximate this exact expression.  A new estimation method is derived to approximate the vector of failure probabilities associated with a complex, one-shot system.  A mathematically-convenient functional form for the s-expected initial reliability of a one-shot system is derived. Monte-Carlo simulation results are presented to highlight model accuracy with respect to resulting estimates of reliability growth.  This model is useful to program managers, and reliability practitioners who wish to assess one-shot system reliability growth.

Jason (Brian) Hall
U.S. Army War College
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, November 29 - "An Examination of Chinese Claims for Priority in the Development of Mathematics"
Abstract: With the intrusion of the West in the 19th century, China was forced to reconsider its age-old xenophobic beliefs.  The Middle Kingdom was under attack by "the barbarians" it so long held in contempt.  Imperial harmony was shattered.  Memorials were brought before the Throne offering solutions to stop the Western rampage.  One of the more intriguing of these supplied a basis for understanding the weapons and techniques of the Westerners.  To further encourage Imperial acceptance of such a reform, it was noted by Court scholars that "after all, mathematics originated in China and was copied by Westerners."  Is such a radical claim valid? What was the state of mathematics in Traditional China and did it, in any way, influence Western accomplishments?  This talk will examind these issues and, in general, consider the place of mathematics in a society.

Frank Swetz
Penn State Harrisburg
Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided