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SCU Mathematics Colloquium Series Schedule

Spring 2001

Talks will be at 4:00 Tuesdays, Room O'Connor 205. There will be refreshments before all talks in O'Connor 31 starting around 3:45pm.


  • April 17 Bala Ravikunar, San Francisco State University

    Title: How to play a guessing game with full and half liers?

    Abstract: Player A guesses an integer between 1 and n. Player B is required to find the guess by querying A with yes or no answer. If A answers B's queries truthfully, binary search is the best strategy for A. We will consider several variations of this problem when A's is allowed to lie in various ways. This problem has been extensively studied for more than 20 years since it was raised in the autobiography of the Polish mathematician Ulam. After surveying old results, we will present some new results on this problem.


  • April 24 Jackie Benedetti, University of Washington, Department of Biostatistics

    Title: A BS in Math? What next? A journey from undergraduate mathematics to cancer clinical trials research.

    Abstract: Many quantitatively oriented students graduate from college without ever having heard of the field of biostatistics, a discipline that applies statistical methods to biologic research. For a student pursuing a masters degree or Ph.D. in this field, there are unlimited job possibilities. Nowhere is biostatistics more visible than in medical research. During this talk, I will discuss the basic types of studies that are required to assess therapeutic strategies for cancer, with emphasis on the role statisticans play in these research efforts.


  • May 1 Vlad Drobot, San Jose State University

    Title: The Effects of Repeated Sin

    Abstract: It is a problem in Polya and Szego, that if x>0, x1=sin(x), xn+1=sin(xn) (Iterate the function sin over and over), then the limit as n goes to infinity of xn times the square root of (n/3)=1.

    Some generalizations and extensions will be discussed.


  • May 5 (Saturday) Special Presentation on "Jesuits in the History of Mathematics and Science"

    For more information see this link.


  • May 8 Marty and Keith Taft

    Title: Counting Cards using Computers

    Abstract: From undergraduate courses in Probablility or Combinatorics, we know that we can use mathematics to determine the exact odds that we'll lose money in a gambling game.

    But who wants to lose?

    If we can count cards we can change the odds and, on average, win money instead. Of course, doing this isn't necessarily easy because casinos have this tendency to hurl card counters onto the street. To count cards effectively it helps to have toe inputs, teeth inputs, hidden earpieces and buzzers working just right. Come hear how we used these to win blackjack games during the 1980s!


  • May 15 Brian Sittinger, Santa Clara University

    Title: Exponential Sums and Half Derivatives.

    Abstract: This talk will be divided into two main sections. In the first part, we will deal with generalizations of ex and cos x, and discuss some of their wonderful properties just by using some Euleresque series manipulations. In the second part, we will use another generalization of ex to motivate the notion of a semiderivative (in which you apply the semiderivative two times and get the derivative.)

    Any student who knows how to take a derivative should be able to follow much of this talk.


  • May 22 Howard Swann, San Jose State University

    Title: Finding Stationary Solutions for the Navier-Stokes equations.

    Abstract: The partial differential equations that describe the motion of air or water are the Navier-Stokes equations. Although they were written down in the 19th Century, essential mathematical questions concerning existence and uniqueness of solutions to this non-linear system of equations remain unresolved.

    After a brief survey, we describe a new method for approximating solutions to the steady-state equations for incompressible fluids using a polynomial basis that automatically satisfies the incompressibility requirement.


  • May 29 Jeff Hultquist, Centricsoftware

    Title: The Use of Quaternions in Computer Animation.

    Abstract: Quaternions were in vogue during Victorian times, but fell into obscurity early in this century. Oddly enough, these four-tuples have gained renewed attention in the field of computer graphics. This talk will review the history and the surprisingly modern application of quaternions in computer generated animation.


    If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation, please call Dan Ostrov dostrov@scu.edu, 1-408-554-4551 or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY - California Relay).


    The list of talks from previous quarters are available via this archive link.

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    Last Updated: 2 May 2001
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