Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics Department Seminar


Upcoming Talk


Friday, December 01, 2017 at 3:15 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205 (Note different time)

Investigating Calculus Students’ Conception of Continuity

Jayleen Wangle, SUNY Oneonta


Continuity is a central yet subtle concept in Calculus I. Yet very few students seem to grasp the nature of continuity. This study uses a mixed methods model to investigate collegiate calculus students' understanding of continuity. I will discuss participant displayed depth of understanding of function, limit, and continuity in terms of the constructs defined by Dubinsky’s (1991) Action-Process-Object-Schema (APOS) theory. A prominent finding was that participants who demonstrated a stronger conception of function displayed a more in depth understanding of continuity.


Fall 2017


Friday, September 08, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

A Bit of Metric Geometry

Ulysses Alvarez, Binghamton University


We will define a notion of curvature in abstract spaces using triangles.


Friday, October 06, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

These are a few of my favorite groups

Matt Zaremsky, SUNY Albany



Group theory can be viewed as the study of symmetries of geometric objects, via abstract algebraic tools called “groups.” In the other direction, when handed an abstract group, one might wonder if there is a nice geometric object whose symmetries it describes. This talk will be an introduction to the interplay between geometry and algebra, via some of my favorite groups. Along the way I will discuss a colorful cast of characters including groups of permutations, groups of braids, matrix groups, a fascinating class of groups with the unfortunately non-descriptive name “Thompson’s groups,” and more. As time permits, I will specifically discuss some of my results on topological finiteness properties of groups.


Friday, October 13, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

MITS, Myths, and Google: the Legacy of the First Golden Age of Mathematics Popularization

David L. Roberts, Prince George's Community College

Cover of the book The Education of T C MITS


Although there are earlier examples of trying to make higher mathematics accessible to a wider public, it was not until the twentieth century that mathematics popularization fully emerged as a recognized literary genre. Several especially notable works in the field were published in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, by Eric Temple Bell, Lillian Lieber, and Edward Kasner. This talk will assess their writing techniques, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they affected perceptions of mathematics among both professional mathematicians and amateur appreciators of mathematics. What relevance, if any, do they have today?


Friday, November 03, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

The History, Optimal Shape, and Manufacture of an Archimedes Screw

Chris Rorres, Drexel University

Archimedes Screw


The Archimedes Screw has been used for 23 centuries to lift water for irrigation and drainage purposes and since the 21st century for generating electricity. I will give a history of this device from Archimedes’ time (3rd century BC) to the present day and also discuss past and ongoing research on the design of the screw that maximizes the amount of water lifted or lowered in each turn of the screw and which facilitates its manufacture.


Friday, December 01, 2017 at 3:15 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205 (Note different time)

Investigating Calculus Students’ Conception of Continuity

Jayleen Wangle, SUNY Oneonta


Continuity is a central yet subtle concept in Calculus I. Yet very few students seem to grasp the nature of continuity. This study uses a mixed methods model to investigate collegiate calculus students' understanding of continuity. I will discuss participant displayed depth of understanding of function, limit, and continuity in terms of the constructs defined by Dubinsky’s (1991) Action-Process-Object-Schema (APOS) theory. A prominent finding was that participants who demonstrated a stronger conception of function displayed a more in depth understanding of continuity.


Spring 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

STEM Attrition and Degree Completion: The Role of Non-Cognitive Attributes of Self-Efficacy, Outcome Expectations, and Interest

Michael Aryee, Statistics, SUNY Oneonta

isospectral flow


Utilizing descriptive and inferential statistics, the purpose of this lecture is to provide a better understanding of the extent to which non-cognitive factors (i.e., self-efficacy, outcome expectation, and interest) contribute to undergraduate students attrition and college degree completion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) with particular attention to students enrolled in 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. Rather than focusing on the traditional cognitive ability and academic achievement measures of academic preparation such as high school GPA, SAT/ACT test scores, this lecture focus on psychosocial factors that influence the decision-making processes of students persistence. Three research questions are explored. Are there any differences in self-efficacy by STEM attrition and degree completion status? Are there any differences in outcome expectations by STEM attrition and degree completion status? Is there a relationship between STEM interest and STEM attrition and degree completion status? The analytical sample for this study was drawn from the Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS:2002-2012) dataset with the final sample used for analysis representing the 2002 cohort of 10th graders who declared STEM major in college by 2006 and participated in the final wave of ELS in 2012. As such, the result will be reflective of this group of students, and not all STEM students in college in general. The expected contribution of this lecture is to provide new insights into understanding the wide range of factors such as students beliefs, attitudes, and expectations which are not specifically intellectual or academic in nature but influences their attrition and degree completion status.

Friday, February 10, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice: How Critical Theory Brings New Meaning to Student Learning

Kenneth Sider, Oneonta City School District and Education, SUNY Oneonta


Why do I have to learn this? When will I ever use this?! Our K-12 schools consistently produce math-fearing and even math-hating graduates. This presentation will offer a unique perspective using Critical Mathematics to illustrate how a shift in pedagogical orientation can engage students in ways that enable them to use mathematics as a powerful tool to bring about much needed change for social and environmental justice.

Friday, February 24, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

First-Fit Scheduling for Beaconing in Multihop Wireless Networks

Zhu Wang, Computer Science, SUNY Oneonta

beaconing nodes


Beaconing is a primitive wireless communication task in which every node locally broadcasts a packet to all its neighbors within a fixed distance. The problem Minimum-latency beaconing schedule (MLBS) in multihop wireless networks seeks a shortest schedule for beaconing subject to the interference constraint. MLBS has been intensively studied since the mid-1980s, but all assume the protocol interference model with uniform interference radii. In this talk, the first constant-approximation algorithm for MLBS under the protocol interference model with arbitrary interference radii and the first constant-approximation algorithm for MLBS under the physical interference model would be presented. Both approximation algorithms have efficient implementations in a greedy first-fit manner.

Friday, March 24, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Isoperimetric Profiles and Folner Functions of Groups

Nick Devin, Mathematics, Binghamton University

isoperimetric and folner flyer image


The quintessential optimization problems in first-semester calculus involve maximizing the area of a rectangular field given a fixed perimeter, or perhaps minimizing the perimeter given a fixed area. We can generalize these question in several ways: What if the field can take on any shape? How do we adapt the notions of area, perimeter, and optimization to different, more abstract mathematical settings? In this talk, I will focus on a certain ”optimization” problem adapted to an algebraic setting– namely, the Folner function of a finitely-generated amenable group. This function is a quasi-isometric invariant of the group and, essentially, tells us how large a subset of the group must be in order to have a small ”perimeter” in relation to its ”area.” We will look at several examples, talk about what is known, and peer into what is unknown about Folner functions. Previous knowledge of group theory will not be assumed.

Friday, April 14, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Analytic Representations and Generality in the Late 19th Century

Laura Turner, Mathematics, Monmouth University



Friday, April 21, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Investigating Calculus Students' Conception of Continuity

Jayleen Wangle, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta



Fall 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Some Fixed-Point Theory and Its Applications to Logic Programming

Kyle Bayes, Mathematics, Binghamton University

p factorial image


Logic programming and knowledge representation play a crucial role in artificial intelligence. Over the last several decades, mathematical theory emerged to provide foundations for these areas. The purpose of this talk is to provide a basic introduction to these foundations by proving a certain fixed- point theorem on complete partial orders. We will then explore how to apply this fixed-point theorem to a restricted language called Datalog. We will also explore how to program and represent knowledge with Datalog.

Friday, October 14, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

A Normalizing Isospectral Flow on Complex Heisenberg Matrices

Krishna Pokharel, Mathematics, Hartwick College

isospectral flow


In this talk, we present an isospectral flow (Lax flow) in the space of matrices, which deforms any given complex upper Hessenberg matrix with simple spectrum to a normal upper Hessenberg matrix. Furthermore, we prove that if the spectrum of the initial condition is contained in a line l inside the complex plane, then its omegalimit set is actually a tridiagonal normal matrix possessing a special symmetry among the off-diagonal elements. Moreover, we prove that this flow provides the solution of an infinite-time horizon optimal control problem. As a further application, we show that the flow can be used to construct even dimensional tridiagonal real skew-symmetric matrices with given simple imaginary spectrum and with given sign pattern for the codiagonal elements. The main technical aspect of the work is to prove that the omega-limit set of suitable initial conditions consists of a single point in the phase space.

Friday, November 4, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Axioms or Experiments? Pedagogical Debates on the Teaching of Geometry in 20th-Century Denmark

Toke Knudsen, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta

hjelmslev image


During the first decades of the 20th century in Denmark the didactic method of geometry was discussed intensely. Early on it became clear that there were only two possible paths when it came to the teaching of geometry. One path was to uphold the Euclidean ideal and teach geometry according to the axiomatic method. The other path was to accept geometry as a natural science in which connections are seen through experiments. The experimental method was outlined in textbooks already from 1904. According to this method, the pupils were to get as far as they could through experiments, then switch to deduce new results from the set of axioms brought forth by the experiments. Johannes Hjelmslev, who was professor of mathematics at the University of Copenhagen, went further and constructed what he called the geometry of reality, which had as its only axioms the existence of graphing paper and rectangular blocks. Hjelmslevs geometry directly contradicted classical geometry, which Hjelmslev considered a crude and poor approximation to the actual conditions of realitythe opposite view of a classical mathematician, who tells us that what we draw in geometry is only a crude approximation to pure geometry. Some of Hjelmslevs claims, including that a tangent of a circle has a line segment in common with the circle, were rejected by some, but others took to his ideas. In particular, his followers wrote school textbooks according to his geometry. My talk will trace the discussion of geometrys didactics in Denmark with an emphasis on the contributions by Hjelmslev.

Friday, December 9, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Math Interfacing with Biology: How to integrate across disciplines and why to do it now

Alexandra Muñoz, Mathematics, University of Copenhagen


In a world of rapidly growing information - organization of this information into coherent theoretical structures becomes increasingly complex. In molecular biology, the foundations of theory have been inherited from researchers who focused on the genome and DNA as the centralizing pillar of the system. This DNA-centric approach has dominated our understanding of the cell and lead to the production of information that centers on the genome. What other frameworks are possible through which to understand the cell? What role can pure math play in such a process? How can we formalize our understanding of the cell in a mathematical language that reaches beyond having the genome? The shortcomings of a DNA-centric framework will be explained and possible approaches to alternative modeling strategies will be discussed. All necessary biological concepts will be introduced.

Spring 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Pigovian Taxes with Non-Separable Environmental Damages

Philip Sirianni, Economics, SUNY Oneonta


A policy instrument called a Pigovian tax raises the private cost of production of a pollution-generating good so that it is in line with social costs, thus incentivizing firms to reduce pollution to a socially optimal level. In this paper, we derive the optimal (Pigovian) tax rates for a particular class of pollutants for which the marginal effect of one pollutant decreases with increases in another pollutant. This characterizes the problem of carbon and sulfur emissions. The result has implications for tax policy in that the levels of both pollutants cannot be evaluated independently, as the regulator needs to consider the optimal “mix” of tax rates. Otherwise, pollution control objectives will be neither cost effective nor achieved.

Friday, February 26, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

A Casual Introduction to Diophantine Geometry

Erik Wallace, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta



(Special π-Day Talk)
Monday, March 14, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
in Fitzelle Hall 205

The Frobenius Problem

Xiao Xiao, Mathematics, Utica College



Friday, March 25, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Mathematics and Astrology in the Ancient Near East

Zoë Misiewicz, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Who was doing mathematics in ancient Mesopotamia? This talk focuses on the intellectual elite in the Neo-Assyrian period and after, and examines how the king's priorities guided their actions. Many of the mathematical calculations carried out in the first millennium BCE aimed at predicting the movements of the moon and planets, and observers were also stationed around the empire to watch the skies and keep detailed records. This was a matter of critical practical importance, because the movements of the celestial bodies could portend good or bad outcomes for the king and his country. In other words, it appears that astrological considerations provided the motivation for some mathematical calculations!

Friday, April 22, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Fitzelle Hall 205

Planar Groups

Matt Evans, Mathematics, Binghamton University


In 1896, Maschke classified all finite groups that admit a planar Cayley graph. In this talk I will define groups and graphs, and show how every group naturally gives rise to certain graphs (Cayley graphs), giving us a bridge between algebra and combinatorics.

Fall 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015 at 3:15 pm, Fitzelle 205

Asymptotic Expansions

Constant Goutziers, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta

p factorial image


In his Theorie analytique des probabilites, published in Paris in 1812, Laplace showed the relationship
Laplace's Relationship
He called this divergent series a serie-limite because partial sums alternately lie below and above the value of the integral. For large values of T the terms initially decrease rapidly and allow for a good approximation of Erfc(T). Legendre, in his Traite des fonctions elliptiques (1825-28), took this idea a step further. He called an infinite series demi-convergente if it represented a given function in the sense that the error committed by stopping at any term is of the order of the first term omitted. Such a demi-convergente series is these days called asymptotic. In this talk I will explore the derivation and interpretation of the given asymptotic expansion of p!

Friday, October 16, 2015 at 3:15 pm, Fitzelle 205

Multisensor Sequential Change Detection

Grigory Sokolov, Statistics, SUNY Binghamton


Consider a multisensor quickest detection problem, where a number of possibly correlated sensors monitor an environment in real time and their joint distribution is determined by an underlying parameter vector; at some unknown time there is disorder in the system that changes an unknown subset of the components of the underlying parameter vector. The goal is to detect the change as soon as possible, while controlling the rate of false alarms. In the special case when it is known in advance that the change will affect exactly one sensor, I will revisit the multichart CUSUM, according to which an alarm is raised the first time a local CUSUM statistic exceeds a user-specified threshold. In a more general case, I will show the second order uniform asymptotic optimality of two families of detection rules: the GLR-CUSUM and two mixture-based CUSUM rules - for any possible subset of affected components. This general framework incorporates the traditional multisensor setup in which only an unknown subset of sensors is affected by the change. This is joint work with Georgios Fellouris (Department of Statistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Friday, November 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm, Fitzelle 205

The Tree of Pythagorean Triples

Charles Scheim, Mathematics, Hartwick College

Image of Pythagorian Triples Tree


This talk will consider Pythagorean Triples and will begin by exploring patterns that define these triples. We will then turn to a discussion of the geometry of these triples as triangles and investigate the incircles and excircles associated with these Pythagorean triangles. We will find that this geometry can lead us to various chains of Pythagorean triples. Finally, we will use a bit of linear algebra to see that these chains of triples actually form a tree rooted at the (3,4,5) triple, and that this tree includes all primitive Pythagorean triples, each one exactly once.

Friday, December 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm, Fitzelle 205

Math and Aesthetics

Richard Barlow, Art , Hartwick College


Though often seen as distinctly separate, art and mathematics are closely entwined. In this lecture I will show examples of how artists use mathematics as a tool in their work, incorporating mathematical proportions and processes. I will also discuss how artists take mathematical concepts as the subject of their art, sometimes seriously and sometimes playfully.

Spring 2015

Friday, 30 January, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

Introduction to Elliptic Curves

Patrick Milano, Mathematics, SUNY Binghamton


Elliptic curves are curves defined by certain kinds of cubic polynomials. Using only high school algebra and a bit of basic calculus, we'll show how two points on an elliptic curve can be "added" together to produce a third point. This geometric "addition" has many interesting properties, especially when only rational points are considered. We'll look at some examples of elliptic curves, and time permitting discuss some open questions.

Friday, 27 February, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

The longest increasing subsequence problem and the Robinson-Schensted Algorithm

Jonathan Brown, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Given a finite sequence of integers it is natural to ask: what is the longest subsequence? This question has a beautiful solution by way of certain combinatorial gadgets called Young tableaux. In this talk I will explain some of the background of Young tableaux, as well as explaining how to solve the problem using the Robinson-Schensted Algorithm. I will also mention some applications.

Friday, 27 March, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

Title: Evolution of Structure in the Universe: Gravitational collapse in an expanding Space-time

Joshua Nollenberg, Physics and Astronomy, SUNY Oneonta


Our Universe appears to contain approximately 160 billion galaxies, each of which are collections of roughly 100 billion stars. However, the largest structures in our Universe are clusters of up to 1000 galaxies which are organized along filaments of material which can be hundreds of millions of light-years long. We will discuss how gravitational forces played a role in shaping the Universe we see today out of conditions which were very different in the Early Universe. We will also discuss the significant role that Dark Matter appears to have played in the process, and mention how we can use Einstein's Theory of Relativity to search for this Dark Matter. Finally, we will explore prospects for observing Dark Matter directly within the next few years.

Friday, 24 April, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

Cloaking: The Mathematics Behind Invisibility

Silvia Jimenez Bolanos, Mathematics, Colgate University


Invisibility has fascinated humans for a long long time. From the Greek legend of Perseus versus Medusa (with a helmet of invisibility) to the more recent The Invisible Man, The Invisible Woman, Wonder Woman's invisible jet, Star Trek and Harry Potter' invisibility cloak, among many others. In October of 2006, David R. Smith, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University, led a team that used a circular cloaking device to successfully bend microwaves around a copper disk as if the disk were invisible. However, the mathematics behind this circular cloaking device had already been developed by Allan Greenleaf, a mathematician at the University of Rochester. I will present an overview of recent mathematical advances in t

Fall 2014

Friday, 5 September, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

Fish, Forests, and Functions

Karl Seeley, Economics, Hartwick College


The workhorse models in environmental economics are some elegant applications of a simple logistic growth function, tweaked in different ways to reflect stylized facts about populations of fish, stands of trees, or some catch-all of renewable resources. This seminar will demonstrate these uses and what can be learned from them, as well as discussing some important parts of reality that get left out.

Friday, 3 October, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

Bhāskarācārya: 900th Birth Anniversary

Keith Jones and Toke Knudsen, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


The current year, 2014, is the 900th birth anniversary of a remarkable mathematician and astronomer from India: Bhāskarācārya, also known as Bhāskarā II. Our talk will focus on him, his times, and his contributions to mathematics and astronomy. In particular, the cakravāla method for solving quadratic indeterminate equations will be described in detail.

Friday, 7 November, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

Time Frequency and Wavelet Analysis

Jens Christensen, Mathematics, Colgate University


This talk will give a quick introduction to time frequency and wavelet analysis, and is accessible to students with a background of Calculus II including Taylor series. Wavelets have been a hot topic in mathematics in the last 30 years. The use of wavelets was initiated by Jean Morlet in order to analyze seismic data. Today they are used in JPEG images and in X+ray tomography, and they have become a separate area of study in both pure and applied mathematics. We begin this talk by solving a differential equation (the heat equation) which lead Joseph Fourier to invent the Fourier series. Next we will see how signals such as music and images can be analyzed using various transforms. In particular we will apply wavelet techniques to image compression, and will see how 99% of the information in an image can be thrown away while still maintaining the main features of the image.

Friday, 5 December, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 205

My Favorite Groups

Rachel Skipper, Mathematics, Binghamton University


We'll start by playing the game Al Jabar and then I'll discuss how movements in the game are really an example of addition in a group. After, we'll investigate some other groups that show up naturally all around including symmetries of a square and point groups in chemistry.

Spring 2014

Friday, 31 January, 3:00 pm, Human Ecology 105

Introduction to Lie Algebras

Jonathan Brown, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Algebraic Lie theory is an active and exciting area of mathematics research with many applications to other areas of mathematics and physics. At the heart of algebraic Lie theory are Lie algebras. They arise naturally as tangent spaces of Lie groups. In this talk I will give the basic axioms for Lie algebras as well as some examples. I will also explain their relationship with Lie groups, and I will talk about one of the connections between Lie theory and physics. The talk is intended for math undergraduates, and it will be accessible to anyone who has taken Calculus, though knowledge of elementary linear algebra will help.

Friday, 28 February, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

Non-transitive dice and directed graphs

Alex Schaefer, Mathematics, Binghamton University


A set of three dice A, B, and C are said to be non-transitive if the three probabilities (A beats B), (B beats C) and (C beats A) all exceed 1/2. I will prove that such dice can be constructed with any number of (at least 3) sides, and the number of dice can also in fact be arbitrary. Then I will discuss the connections to directed graphs and show that any directed graph has a set of dice that can be associated to it.

Friday, 21 March, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

POJOS, POGOS, and beans: Are these MREs or your employment future?

Dennis Higgins, Computer Science, SUNY Oneonta


POGOs and POJOs are "plain old" Groovy or Java objects which would typically follow the bean convention -- a standard way to build them and access their fields or properties. Beans provide a simple mechanism that is leveraged in Java and Groovy to facilitate object manipulation. In this talk I will develop a few beans and show how they can be used in a variety of ways, like application programs involving a database connection, web services and web applications. Time permitting, I'll show how Grails uses beans and talk about the vacation diary my students will build as one of their projects this semester. No programming background is needed.

Friday, 18 April, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

Making a Really Cheap Quantum Graph

Kevin Schultz, Physics, Hartwick College


The study of quantum systems, whose classical counterparts are chaotic, is called Quantum Chaology. In my talk I will describe quantum chaos and how we can measure its effects as well as describing the experimental realization of quantum graphs, which are an ideal test bed for investigating quantum chaos. In particular how we can use acoustic analogs of quantum graphs, which allows for low cost experiments (we use PVC from Home Depot and a sound card from a computer), and a smaller learning curve for undergraduates.

Fall 2013

Friday, 20 September, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

Suspect Something Fishy? How Statistics Can Help Detect It, Quickly

Aleksey Polunchenko, Mathematical Sciences, Binghamton University


Suppose you are gambling at a casino in a game where you and a dealer take turns rolling a die. Suppose next that the die is initially fair, that is, each of its six faces has the same probability of showing up. However, at some point during the course of the game the evil dealer - without you seeing - replaces the die with an unbalanced one, and so from that point on the die's faces are no longer equally probable. Yet as the new die looks exactly the same as the old fair one, you continue to gamble without suspecting anything. The natural question is: as the game progresses, can you somehow "detect" that the die has been tampered with?

This question is a gamble on its own. On one hand, it would be desirable to find out that the die is no longer fair as fast as possible, so as to quit the game to prevent further losses and subsequently file a lawsuit against the casino. On the other hand, if you are too trigger-happy there is a risk of stopping the game too quickly, i.e., stopping the game before the fair die was replaced with the unbalanced one, which is not desirable. How does one go about solving this problem? Turn to statistics!

Statistics is a branch of mathematics concerned with rational decision-making among uncertainty. This is essential in real life, as only a well-thought-out decision can enable one to take the best action available given the circumstances. This talk's aim is to provide an introduction to the nook of statistics that deals with cases when a solution has to be worked out "on-the-go", i.e., when time is a factor as well. Specifically, the talk will focus on the so-called quickest change-point detection problem. Also known as sequential change-point detection, the subject is about designing fastest ways to detect sudden anomalies (changes) in ongoing phenomena. One example would be the above biased die detection problem. However, there are many more, arising in a variety of domains: military, finance, quality control, communications, environment - to name a few. We will consider some and touch upon the subject's basic ideas.

Friday, 11 October, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

Decision Making using Analytical Hierarchies

Ronald Brzenk, Mathematics, Hartwick College


This presentation will discuss the decision making process, Analytical Hierarchies. I will describe how I have used it in my teaching. It has been the basis for students in my course Mathematical Modeling to actually do some "math modeling". I have also used it in some lower level courses. Finally, I will describe how it has also been the basis for senior projects in mathematics.

Friday, 8 November, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

Economics, Mathematics, and Job Market Signalling

Kristen Jones, Economics, Hartwick College


Economists use mathematical tools extensively in the analysis of consumer and producer behavior. This talk will cover the two core optimization problem used in microeconomic theory - utility maximization and profit maximization - focusing both on the mathematical tools used as well as the economic theory. The lecture will then turn to a more sophisticated application of mathematics, Gibbon's (1992) game theory model of the job-market dynamics introduced in Spence (1973). Spence's model of job-market signaling involves decisions of two parties (an employer and an employee) under uncertainty and we will discuss the structure and solution methodology of Spence's models as well as the interesting (and unexpected) results of the model.

Friday, 6 December, 3:00 pm, Morris 104

Generalizing Mundici's Gamma Functor

Joshua Palmatier, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta

Spring 2013

Friday, 25 January, 3:00 pm, Craven Lounge

Bumping and Sliding for Beginners: An Introduction to Young Tableaux

James Ruffo, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


The primary goal of this talk will be to present some of the basic properties on an interesting class of combinatorial objects called Young tableaux. After discussing the basic definitions and constructions, such as the Jeu de Taquin and the Robinson-Schensted algorithm, we will discuss an application to some problems in enumerative geometry.

Friday, 8 March, 3:00 pm, Craven Lounge

The Little Theorem that Could: Finding Pseudoprimes by Matching Terms of Polynomial-Value Sequences

Robert Sulman, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Pseudoprimes are counter-examples to the converse of Fermat's Little Theorem: If p is prime and p does not divide a, then p divides ap-1-1. Thus, a pseudoprime (with respect to a∈Z+) is any composite n satisfying: n divides an-1-1. In this talk, a modest set of divisibility relations are shown to generate two polynomial-valued sequences. A match between them produces a pseudoprime (with an additional non-divisibility condition). A generalization of this construction is then given, which yields sets of pseudoprimes with respect to a given base, and a variety of modifications are seen. Finally, we describe primes q that are a divisor of a pseudoprime with respect to a for all a=2,3,4,...,q-1.

Friday, 22 March, 3:00 pm, Craven Lounge

Why Study Finite p-Groups

Joseph Brennan, Mathematics, SUNY Binghamton


Given a prime p, a finite p-group is a group whose order is a power of p. Though major structures of a p-group lie outside the scope of a typical undergraduate abstract algebra course; I would like to spark interest in finite p-groups by defining their basics and outlining their role in the study of groups. If time permits, I will outline some major developments in the field.

Friday, 26 April, 3:00 pm, Human Ecology 106

On Sums of Finitely Many Distinct Reciprocals

Donald Silberger, Mathematics, SUNY New Paltz


Let F denote the family of all nonempty finite subsets of N := {1, 2, 3, ...}, and let I ⊆ F be the family of all intervals [m, n] := {m, m+1,..., n-1, n}. We define the function σ : F→Q+ by

σ : X → σ X := Σk∈ X 1⁄k.

Since the harmonic series 1 + 1⁄2 + 1⁄3 + ... diverges to , and since its terms are positive, with limk→∞ 1⁄k = 0, it is easy to see that the set H := {σ[m, n] : m ≤ n ∧ {m, n} ⊂ N} of harmonic rationals is dense in ℜ}+ . So it is natural to ask: Is H = Q+? In 1918 J. Kürschák answered this question in the negative by proving that σ[m, n] ∈ N only if m = n = 1. We showed last year that in fact σ[m, n] = 1⁄k for k ∈ N only if m = n = k. This suggested a generalization, which we finally managed to establish:

Theorem: σ|I is injective.

As of the present writing, my brother Allan, my daughter Sylvia and I are attempting to pick the final burr out of a proof of the following

Conjecture: The function σ is a surjection from F onto Q+.

Indeed, if the approach we are using establishes this conjecture then it will moreover, for each a ∈ N, facilitate the construction of a partition Sa of N into infinitely many finite sets such that σ X = a for every X ∈ Sa. Furthermore, it will give us that, for each r ∈ Q+, there are infinitely many distinct Y ∈ F such that σ Y = r.

Fall 2012

Friday, 7 September, 3:00 pm, Room: Human Ecology 216

Lattice, You Have Seen One Don't Even Know It

Martha Kilpack, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


A lattice is a partially ordered set with some extra conditions. We will look at these conditions and some examples of lattices. We will then look at how these lattice are actually algebraic structures and what questions then arise.

Friday, 5 October, 3:00 pm, Room: Human Ecology 106

Trying to understand evolution? Get help from the Clergy (Three Cheers for the Good Reverend Bayes)

Jeffrey Heilveil, Biology, SUNY Oneonta


The study of evolutionary relationships, whether between or within species, often requires a "backward view", as we are unable to observe evolution in action for many species. Answering evolutionary questions therefore requires heavy reliance on probability. One of the most helpful analytical paradigms involves the application of Bayesian statistics to evolutionary datasets. After briefly discussing the nature of evolutionary research, Bayesian statistics will be explained at a basic level, including showing how conditional probability impacts our understanding of topics such as breast cancer. We will then look at an example of how one can use Bayesian statistics to evaluate the recolonization of the northern US following the retreat of the Wisconsinan Glaciation.

Friday, 2 November, 3:00 pm, Room: Human Ecology 106

Hyperbolic Geometry: Logic Takes Us to a Strange Place

Charles Scheim, Mathematics, Hartwick College


The geometry that most people are familiar with from their high school math days, Euclidean Geometry, has a long history and great importance from both practical and intellectual viewpoints. But the discovery in the 1800's of non-Euclidean geometries caused a revolution in the fundamental assumptions about the relationship of mathematics with the world around us. This presentation will use the software Geometer's Sketchpad to re-awaken the basic principles of Euclidean geometry for the listeners and to help them visualize a model of a non-Euclidean geometry. We'll explore this new geometry and examine some of the philosophical questions that arise because of its existence.

Friday, 30 November, 3:00 pm, Room: Human Ecology 106

Games, Fractals, and Groups: From Hanoi to Sierpinski

Keith Jones, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


The long-studied game The Tower of Hanoi has a fascinating connection to the famous Sierpinski Gasket fractal, which provides a clear visualization of the recursive nature of its solution. This connection is strengthened by a group structure, which exhibits the same self-similarity. The fractal nature of the group lends itself to a natural description in terms of a finite state automaton a theoretical model for computing. In this expository talk, I will introduce the various concepts involved, and illustrate how these seemingly disparate concepts are tightly intertwined.

Spring 2012

Friday, 3 February, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 206

From the Four Color Theorem to Thompson's Group F

Garry Bowlin, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


The Four Color Theorem states that given any map on the sphere (or plane) one can color the map with four colors so that no two regions that share an edge are the same color. The question was first posed by Francis Guthrie in the early 1850's and likely publicized by him in The Athenæum in 1854. We will discuss various reformulations of the Four Color Theorem, which will take us from the world of graphs and topology into the realm of group theory. No prior knowledge of group theory or graph theory is necessary.

Friday, 2 March, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 206

Statistics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Grazyna Kamburowska, Statistics, SUNY Oneonta


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'' The statement, attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions. There are many researchers who are passionate about exposing poor studies but, unfortunately, the incorrect use of statistics is still common. Many researchers still shy away from the rigorous application of statistical methods or, worse, use them incorrectly. We will discuss various examples of the misuse and abuse of statistics.

Friday, 30 March, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 206

Perturbations of Fourier Bases and the Haar Wavelet

Min Chung, Mathematics, Hartwick College


A Riesz basis is the image of an orthonormal basis under an invertible continuous linear mapping. Both orthononal basis and Riesz basis provide us with a simple representation of an element in Hilbert space. Since perturbing an orthonormal basis in a controlled manner yield a Riesz basis, this is an important subject of study which goes back to Paley and Wiener who were interested in the question of which perturbations {1/(2π)eλnx} of the orthonormal basis {1/(2π)enx} are still a Riesz basis for L2[-π,π]. In this context, it is then natural to consider when the sequence {&lambdan-n} is small, so that the perturbations of local Fourier bases are still a Riesz basis. In this talk, first we find Riesz basis for L2[0,1] of the form {sin(λkx)}, by perturbing the local sine and cosine orthonormal bases of Coifman and Meyer. Second, the Haar function, the simplest compactly supported but discontinuous wavelet. By using the properties of Bessel sequences, we provide an explicit and more practical way of constructing locally continuous perturbations of the Haar wavelet. In this way, we can generate the continuous or even smooth perturbation of the Haar wavelet which then will lead to an alternative way to the approach given by Aimer, Bernardis, and Gorosito, but we provide better conditions for perturbations and frame bounds.

Friday, 27 April, 3:00 pm, Fitzelle 206

Ruler Constructions

Marius Munteanu, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Ruler and compass constructions have a rich and fascinating history going back more than two thousand years. We will see that many of these constructions can be carried out with a ruler alone, as long as an appropriate "starter set'' is given.

Fall 2011

Thursday, 1 September, 3:20 pm, Fitz 308

From Galaxy Clusters to Cosmology: Using Mathematics to Solve Some of Astronomy's Biggest Problems

Parker Troischt, Physics, Hartwick College


In the last decade or so, astronomy has advanced extremely rapidly due to technological advances used in telescopes, satellites and large sky surveys. We now have quantitative data on hundreds of extra-solar planets, countless stars and over a million galaxies. Future telescopes like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) promise to extend this much further and will survey the entire visible night sky every three days. Here, we discuss how mathematics is used to study the properties of everything from nearby stars, to galaxies, to clusters of galaxies located over 100 million light years away. In addition, we will show how solutions to Einstein's equations can be used to study some of the most interesting questions about the universe starting with the Big Bang.

Friday, 23 September, 3:00 pm, Fitz 221

Cantor's Diagonalization Revisited: Constructing Transcendental Numbers

Luise-Charlotte Kappe, Mathematics, Binghamton University


An evolving awareness of the deep nature of the real numbers began over 2,500 years ago, when the Pythagoreans were startled by their discovery that numbers such as the square root of 2 were not rational. A recurring theme in their history is that the set of real numbers is richer and much more complex than is generally assumed. The demonstration by Cantor, that the reals cannot be enumerated, is a well-known landmark of these developments. Knowing that the rationals can be enumerated, it follows from Cantor's diagonalization that there exist irrational numbers. Similarly, knowing that the algebraic numbers can be enumerated, it follows that there exist transcendental numbers. But can one use Cantor's diagonalization for the construction of such numbers? The topic of this talk is the explicit construction of a transcendental number using Cantor's diagonalization.

Friday, 21 October, 4 pm, Fitz 221

Computational Thinking in 24-Point Card Game

Sen Zhang, Computer Science, SUNY Oneonta


The 24-point game is a mathematical game in which the object is to construct an arithmetic expression using four integers (usually from 1 to 10) and three out of four possible elementary arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) so that the expression evaluates to 24. For example, given a hand of four integers 4,7,8,8, (7-8/8)*4 would be a possible solution. Notice that all four integers need but not every operation needs to be used in the expression. The game is relatively easy but entertaining enough to play for almost any people who have elementary arithmetic knowledge. Two questions that tend to captivate many people who have played the game are how to find out all the hands that have at least one possible solution and how to find out all possible solutions for each of such hands. Obviously these are the problems we don't want to solve manually. This talk will first examine a set of mathematical and computational thinking techniques that can help answer the above questions. After that, a straightforward software that implements the techniques will be presented as a typical computing solution where mathematical thinking and computational thinking go hand in hand perfectly.

Friday, 11 November, 3pm, Fitz 221

From Ordinary Differential Equations to Geometric Control Theory

Laura Munteanu, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Many real life processes can be modeled by (systems of) ordinary differential equations. More complex processes involve a parameter/control that can be adjusted in order to affect their outcome. Due to the large number of variables or the nonlinear nature of these control systems, one seeks to find simpler systems whose solutions mimic (in a certain sense) the solutions of the original system. In this presentation, we look at how geometric objects such as differentiable manifolds and vector fields can be used to better understand the aforementioned problem.

Spring 2011

Friday, 4 February

Chess Endgame Composition: Proofs in Pictures

Robert Sulman, Mathematics, SUNY Oneonta


Although primarily viewed as a game to be played between two individuals, the very nature of chess leads to configurations of the pieces (called "positions") in which one player has a forced win, or a forced draw. Such positions have been composed as well, that is, they have not come about naturally from an actual game. The freedom to create such problems enables one to highlight a given theme in which the pieces interact on the 64 squares. Whether one tries to solve such a composition, or simply read the solution, the moves leading to the end result are intended to be surprising and beautiful. A brief review of the moves of the pieces will be followed by a series of endgame studies (as they are also called), beginning with relatively simple examples. The more subtle studies, including those by pioneer Alexey Troitsky will (I hope) draw you into this wonderful area of chess.

Friday, 4 March

Fibonacci's Not Just Counting Rabbits Anymore

Gary Stevens, Mathematics, Hartwick College


In 1202, Leonardo of Pisa, son of Bonacci, published his pioneering work, Liber Abaci, the book of calculation. In this book, Fibonacci presented a problem relating to the breeding of rabbits whose solution gave rise to a sequence of numbers which now bears his name. The Fibonacci Sequence has been studied and generalized for the last 800 years and is now one of the cornerstones of the area of mathematics known as combinatorics, the art of counting. The sequence shows up in some unexpected places and provides solutions to many counting problems. This lecture will look at some of the myriad uses of the sequence and will provide a gentle overview of and introduction to the subject of combinatorics.

Friday, 8 April

Techniques in Atmospheric Dynamics and Weather Forecasting

Melissa Godek, Meteorology, SUNY Oneonta


Within the field of meteorology, the study of atmospheric dynamics focuses on macro-scale motions and their ability to create the weather phenomena and climate patterns experienced at the surface. These circulations are described by fundamental and apparent Earth forces as well as the governing equations of motion. It is through calculus that atmospheric scientists learn how to apply these equations in dynamics to obtain a new set of equations referred to as Quasi-Geostrophic Theory. Just as important to meteorologists are Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, which are used every day in short- and long-term weather predictions. These NWP models are essentially algorithms that represent the Quasi-Geostrophic Theory that describes macro-scale atmospheric circulations. This talk will describe how atmospheric scientists incorporate the science, mathematics and computer model predictions to produce multiple forecasts each day.

Friday, 29 April

Not So Boring Statistics

Jen-Ting Wang, Statistics, SUNY Oneonta


In this talk, we'll discuss three real court cases, which involved different types of statistical reasoning. In particular, we'll see the statistical evidence found in a serial killer case and how it was used in court. This presentation is accessible to everyone and no previous statistical knowledge is required.

Fall 2010

Friday, 10 September

Bounded Analytic Functions with Unbounded Parts

Angeliki Kazas-Postisakos, SUNY Oneonta


For any analytic function on the unit disc, f &isin Hp, there exists a factorization f(z)=g(z)F(z) where g is inner and F is outer. The properties of g and F are well known and in particular the function g is a bounded analytic function on the unit disc. More generally, for an inner function φ, there exists a factorization f(z)=h(z)F(φ(z)) where h is a φ-p inner function and F is outer. We will construct a function that is bounded and analytic on the unit disc with unbounded φ-p inner part. All the terms above will be defined and the talk should be accessible to students that have completed the calculus sequence.

Friday, 8 October

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus: History, Intuition, Pedagogy, Proof

V. Frederick Rickey, US Military Academy at West Point


The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC) was a theorem with Newton and Leibniz, a triviality with Bernoulli and Euler, and took on the concept of "fundamental" when Cauchy and Riemann defined the integral. FTC became part of academic mathematics in the 19th century, but waited until the 20th century to take hold in classroom mathematics. We will discuss the transition from clear intuition to rigorous proof that occurred over three centuries.

Friday, 5 November

Mathematics and the Methods and Models of Morality

Michael Green, Philosophy, SUNY Oneonta


Mathematics and moral theorizing have had a long and tangled history. Philosophy has nurtured mathematical forms of thought that have, in turn, had a profound influence on ethical theorizing. The aim of this lecture is to reflect upon the relationship between mathematics and moral theorizing in Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hobbes, Spinoza, Bentham, and Rawls.

Friday, 3 December

On Symmetries, Supersymmetries, and Akan Symbolism

Michael Faux, Physics, SUNY Oneonta


Some of the intricate mathematics used by physicists to probe the laws of nature are rendered helpfully perspicuous by the use of symbolic representations. In some cases, such symbols exhibit a mathematical significance which transcends their original motivation. In this talk I will explain how a colorful graphical paradigm, reminiscent of West African tribal symbols, invented to represent supersymmetry algebras, which I will explain, have exposed an unexpected, fascinating, and rich connection between an emergent quantum theory of gravitation and the mathematics of coding theory.

Spring 2010

Friday, 5 February

Math Anxiety

Lynne Talbot, SUNY Oneonta


The presentation will outline the causes and symptoms of math phobia, as well as suggestions for instructors to alleviate the anxiety that some students feel when confronted with a math problem. Myths regarding math, such as math is not creative, will be dispelled. A pamphlet will be distributed for instructors to reference to assist in identifying math phobic students.

Friday, 5 March

Knot a Graph? Why Not?

Susan Beckhardt, SUNY Albany


Choose any seven points in space, and connect each pair of points with a curve in such a way that none of the curves intersect. No matter how you arrange your points and curves in space, I can always find a closed loop that is tied in a knot. The choice of points and curves is called a spatial embedding of K7, the complete graph on seven vertices, and a graph with the property that every spatial embedding has a knotted cycle is said to be intrinsically knotted. Although topological in nature, the remarkable fact that K7 has this property can be proved with little more than some basic combinatorics. We'll go over the proof, and then look at some further results in the field of intrinsically knotted graphs.

Friday, 26 March

Embarrassing Moments in the History of Calculus

Kim Plofker, Union College


The development of modern calculus wasn't the smooth transition pictured in today's textbooks, but rather a long struggle between practicality and precision. Handling the tricky quantities known as infinitesimals, which might be zero or not as the situation required, led early modern mathematicians into some awkward contradictions and some vehement disputes. This talk surveys some of the peculiar innovations in calculus that you won't find in your calculus book, and the controversies, shock, and outrage that they provoked in their day.

Friday, 16 April

The Power Residue Problem and Arithmetic Geometry

John Cullinan, Bard College


If an integer is an nth power, then it is an nth power mod p for all primes p. However, the converse is not always true - there exist integers which are nth powers mod p for all primes p, yet are not the nth power of an integer. In general, given a polynomial with integral coefficients, it can be quite difficult to describe its integral (or rational) roots. One technique that has proved fruitful is instead to find roots of the polynomial mod p for prime numbers p, and from these roots deduce the existence (or non-existence) of a rational root. The success or failure of this approach often gives new insight into the original problem. This talk will focus on the example given above, and a similar problem phrased in terms of points on elliptic curves and abelian varieties.

Friday, 7 May

Let's Pack! An Introduction to Hyperspheres and Hypercubes

David Biddle, SUNY Oneonta


It is commonly said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if the eye is incapable of seeing something in its entirety? Higher dimensional geometry affords us the opportunity to explore beautiful objects and phenomena using a plethora of tools from all parts of mathematics. In this talk we compare the 'look and feel' of higher dimensional analogues of the circle and sphere (hyperspheres) and the square and cube (hypercubes) and come to the conclusion that exploring higher dimensions leaves plenty of room for the bizarre!

Fall 2009

Friday, 11 September

M-Zeroids: Structure and Its Effect on the Additive Operation

J. Palmatier, SUNY Oneonta


An m-zeroid is an algebraic structure with both operations and an inherent order on its elements. If we remove the order by making it totally ordered and finite, only the additive operation remains important. In this talk, we will discuss how the structure of the finite, totally-ordered m-zeroid, both algebraic and pictorial, restricts the additive operation table and allows you to generate such an m-zeroid with a minimum of fuss.

Friday, 9 October

The Mathematics of Origami

L. Bridgers, SUNY Oneonta


With paper folding, we can complete geometric constructions that are impossible using the classical geometry tools of a straight edge and compass. In this talk we will explore some origami constructions and the geometry proofs behind them. This will include both constructions that we could complete with a straight edge and compass, such as the construction of an equilateral triangle, and those that are impossible using a straight edge and compass, such as the trisection of an angle.

Friday, 6 November

Number Theory and Music

L. Alex, SUNY Oneonta


In this talk connections between musical intervals and Diophantine equations in number theory will be described. In particular the intervals will be viewed as "superparticular" ratios of the form (n+1)/n. In this form the octave would be viewed as the ratio 2/1. The ten superparticular ratios corresponding to the intervals preferred by the Western ear will be listed. Each of these ratios corresponds to a solution of a certain Diophantine equation in number theory. An elementary number theoretic method for solving the equation will be illustrated.
Diophantine equations in number theory will be described. In particular the intervals will be viewed as "superparticular" ratios of the form (n+1)/n. In this form the octave would be viewed as the ratio 2/1. The ten superparticular ratios corresponding to the intervals preferred by the Western ear will be listed. Each of these ratios corresponds to a solution of a certain Diophantine equation in number theory. An elementary number theoretic method for solving the equation will be illustrated.

Friday, 4 December

Disappearing Messages: Basic Steganography

J. Ryder, SUNY Oneonta


The practice of steganography involves surrepetitiosly hiding a secret within some object at a source location then allowing that object to be carried to some destination. At the destination, a receiver extracts the secret from the carrier. Steganography is secret communication in which only the sender and receiver of the secret know of its existence yet it travels through hostile territory unnoticed. In Ancient Greece, troops at one location would tattoo a secret onto a slave's shaved head. When the slave's hair had once again become sufficiently long, the slave would be sent to another camp some distance away. Upon arrival, the slave's head was shaved and the secret message was read. This brief talk will show a few ways that steganography is used today in the digital world. Examples will show methods of hiding secrets in images, in Internet web pages, in music, and even in plain text.