2012 Math Awareness Month Activities

Mathematics, Statistics, and the Data Deluge

In the spring semester some Math Club Colloquium speakers give talks based on the theme of the Math Awareness Month.

March 6, 2012: Jeff Suzuki (Brooklyn College)
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: 1141N
Title: Who's In Charge? An Introduction to Social Network Analysis
Abstract: Social network analysis is an outgrowth of graph theory and is rapidly becoming one of the important tools in mathematical criminology. One of the key problems is the following: given some information about individuals in an illicit network, which figures are the most important to the operation of the network? We'll take a look at some of the principal methods used to analyze networks, and show how after-event analysis suggests the potential of these methods for law enforcement and counter-terrorism.

March 20, 2012: John Velling (Brooklyn College)
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: 1141N
Title: CAS: a tour of enhanced insight with computer algebra systems
Abstract:We will explore two topics using the MAPLE computer algebra system. First, the approximation of complicated waves by superpositions of sine and cosine waves, i.e. Fourier series. The ability to do this is the fundamental insight underpinning the digitization of music (CDs), images (JPG and GIF), and movies (DVD). Second, the conjectured existence of infinitely many pairs of twin primes. We will obtain experimental evidence supporting this conjecture.

April 5, 2012 (Thursday): Christian Benes (Brooklyn College)
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: 1141N
Title: Random Fractals
Abstract: One of the "hottest" topics of research in probability of the past few decades is a random fractal called the Schramm-Loewner Evolution (SLE). In the last 8 years, two mathematicians were awarded Fields Medals for showing that SLE is related to well-known random processes such as loop-erased random walk and percolation. In this talk, I'll explain what fractals are and how random fractals appear naturally in a number of physical phenomena.

April 30 (Monday), 2012: Olympia Hadijialidis (Brooklyn College)
Time: 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm (Room 328 New Ingersoll)
Location: 328 NE
Title: Statistical quality control
Abstract: My presentation is on the topic of statistical surveillance and quickest detection. We begin by providing an example of statistical quality control in an industrial production process. We define the out-of-control and in-control states of the process and describe how we attempt to distinguish them by using statistics based on the observations of the process. We also discuss further applications of the problem of statistical surveillance and quickest detection in finance, detection of enemy activity, the internet surveillance problem and signal processing We draw attention to a specific statistic called the CUSUM and conclude by discussing some of its properties.

April 30 (Monday), 2012: Himanshu Almadi (Bandk of America)
Time: 6:05 pm - 7:00 pm (Room 328 New Ingersoll)
Location: 328 NE
Title: A day in the life of a quantitative analyst
Abstract: Investors often experience the tension that exists between the desire to stick with a long-term financial strategy and the impulse to react to short-term market events. Of course, as the post-crisis paths of market amply demonstrate, financial data and investor psychology can often work at cross-purposes. We present probable solutions to both problems: building long-term financial strategy using goals-based processes, and managing short-term opportunities/constraints using a more dynamic asset allocation.

May 1, 2012: Brett Bernstein (GETCO Securities)
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: 1141N
Title: Market Making and Trading Puzzles
Abstract: An introduction to how market making works and a look at some puzzles that test your trading intuition.

May 10 (Thursday), 2012: Daniel Thengone ((Research Assistant at Weill Cornell Medical College/Brooklyn College Alumnus)
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: 1127N
Title: Statistical analyses used to understand brain dynamics
Abstract: In neuroscience, the dynamical patterns of electrical activity of neurons provide a crucial bridge between cellular and behavioral levels of analysis. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures such electrical activity via electrodes placed on the surface of the brain. During the last decade or so, a significant amount of research has gone into the development of signal processing tools to quantify these voltages measured from these electrodes. These statistical methods have been developed into signal processing algorithms and have been used extensively to model such stochastic processes. Power spectral analysis is a well-established method for the analysis of EEG signals. Spectral parameters can be efficiently used to quantify brain states during awake and sleep state via characteristic features that emerge in the frequency domain. This method coupled with numerous statistical tests has been applied to understand the dynamics in voltage oscillations measured from the brain surface. This talk will provide a brief survey of the quantitative measures used for analyzing continuous process signals like EEG, and how these methods are used to examine dynamics of neuronal response and their relationship to behavior.

May 15, 2012: Sandra Kingan (Brooklyn College)
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: 1141 N
Title: Got techniques – looking for data
Abstract: The theme of Math Awareness month (April) this year was “Mathematics Statistics and the data deluge.” SIAM News has a front-page article titled Got Data: Now What that identifies the analysis of large data sets to provide understanding, and ultimately knowledge as one of the fundamental intellectual challenges of our time. While, Scientists have data and are looking for mathematical techniques to analyze their data, mathematicians, on the other hand, have techniques and are looking for data to try out their techniques. In this talk I will present the development and implementation of a course for math majors titled “Mathematical Methods for Analyzing Data.” Such a course has a built-in strong technology component as software is needed for handling data. But it also requires a strong civic engagement component because along with new applications come new ethical issues. Learning the mathematics in the context of difficult societal problems and thinking about how use it in an advocacy setting creates a much needed awareness of how mathematics applies to society. Moreover, students who take such a course are well-prepared to undertake an undergraduate student research project.