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Lectures on Elections and Fair Division

Steven Brams, Professor of Politics at New York University, will give twp public lectures at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, on October 2 and 3. The lectures will deal with the mathematics of election and of fair division.

The first lecture is titled, "Is There a Better Way to Elect a President?" and will be presented at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, October 7, in the Geneva Room. This talk is based on Professor Brams' recent article of the same name in which he describes the properties of approval voting, where voters can approve as many candidates as they like in a multicandidate election. This system has been adopted by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematic Society (AMS) and several other professional societies. Brams argues that this system is a much simpler and more practical option than the plurality U.S. voting system. In addition, he will discuss other systems such as ranking systems and grading systems which have been widely discussed in mathematical fields.

The second lecture is titled, "The Win-Win Solution: Guaranteeing Fair Shares to Everybody" and will be presented in Room Napier 201 at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, October 3. Professor Brams describes this talk as follows: Cutting up a cake, dividing up the property in an estate, determining the border in an international dispute--such problems of fair division are ubiquitous. Beginning with "I cut, you choose," I will illustrate how rigorous methods can be applied to the analysis of a variety of procedures for allocating goods (or "bads" like chores), or for deciding who wins on what issues in a dispute. In particular, I will focus on procedures which provide "envy-free" allocations, in which everybody thinks he or she received the largest portion and hence does not envy anybody else.

Posted 26 September 2012

Alums in New York City

Three graduates of Hobart and William Smith Colleges met up for a night out in New York City recently. Yaoxin Liu was a Mathematics major. Marcela Melara and Shaun Viguerie majored in Computer Science. All three of them completed Honors projects during their senior year in the Department. Yaoxin and Shaun are working in New York City, while Marcela is attending graduate school at Princeton University.

Posted 22 September 2012

New Faculty Join Department

The faculty of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science has three new members this Fall.

Professor Yan Hao joins the department in a tenure-track position in applied mathematics. She received her Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary and spent a year in a post-doctoral position at Arizona State University before coming to Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her interests include Computational Biology and Numerical Analysis.

Professor Eric Nelson and Professor Mark Radosevich join the department as Visiting Assistant Professors of Mathematics for the 2012--13 academic year. Eric Nelson completed his Ph.D. at Colorado State University and is interested in group theory, finite geometry, and mathematics education. Mark Radosevich's Ph.D. is from Brandeis University; his interests include low-dimensional topology and mathematics education.


Posted 22 September 2012

Deparment Prizes for 2012

The department awards a variety of student prizes at the end of each academic year. Here are the prizes for Spring 2012:
  • The Robert L. Beinert Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Mathematics, to Yaoxin Liu H'12.
  • The John S. Klein Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Computer Science, to Marcela Melara WS'12.
  • The Catherine Adele Rippey '35 Prize, awarded to a William Smith senior in recognition of superior achievement in mathematics, to Jessica Tarnatino WS'12 and Sarah Tarantino WS'12.
  • Abigail Mosey Book Prize, awarded to a Hobart or William Smith senior for generosity in helping others to learn and appreciate mathematical ideas, to Trevor Gionet H'12.
  • The Glen M. Lee Prize, to the Hobart Senior who has displayed the greatest proficiency in Mathematics and Athletics, to Shaun Viguerie H'12
  • The William Ross Proctor Prize, awarded to the William Smith sophomore who have achieved the highest rank in mathematics in their first two years at the Colleges, to Erxin Du WS'14.
  • The Irving Bentsen Prize, awarded to the second year student at Hobart College who has the most outstanding record in mathematics and computer science, to Bowen Wang H'14 and Brezeck Wang H'14.

Congratulations to all!

Posted 1 May 2012

Integrated Circuit Runs Again

Integrated Circuit, the Department's seven person running team again ran in this year's Seneca 7 Relay Race on April 28. The race is 77.7 miles around around Seneca Lake. Each runner completes three of the 21 different legs of the course which starts and ends in Geneva. The team finished in 10 hours, 41 minutes and 57 seconds (8:15 pace) which was good enough for 54th place out of 154 teams. While other teams from the Colleges competed, ours was the only department at HWS to field an entire team. Running for Integrated Circuit this year were: Top: Nicholas MacDonald (H'12), Trevor Gionet, (H '12), Professors Jon Forde, Stina Bridgeman, and Carol Critchlow. Bottom: Professor Kevin Mitchell and Abigael Blumenthal (WS '14). All of the faculty competed last year as well.

Posted 29 April 2012

Gionet Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Trevor Gionet (H'12) has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for study in Vietnam. In addition to teaching English, Trevor will take Vietnamese language lessons focused on mathematics. With this, he hopes to be able to teach math bilingually.

The Fulbright Program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1946. The purpose of the Fulbright Program worldwide is "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange." The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) is the principal administrator of the Fulbright Program. Bi-national commissions, composed equally of U.S. and partner-country citizens, coordinate Fulbright Programs in fifty-one of the 140 participating countries.

Posted 15 April 2012

Yaoxin Liu Honors Project

Yaoxin Liu, H'12, has completed an Honors project titled, "A Mathematical Model: Hepatitis B and Hepatitis D Co-infection." An Honors project is a year-long endeavor culminating in a long Honors thesis and an oral examination by a committee of three examiners. Here is a description of his project: "In this honors project, mathematical models are developed to describe the interaction between human liver cells, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV). HDV is a dependent virus that can only infect patients who are also HBV-infected, and it causes more severe damage to liver cells than HBV alone. This project is an extension of previous research, which focused on analyzing the impact of immune exhaustion on HBV and HDV infections. Shifting the emphasis to the dynamics of the infections, this honors project will shed light on what causes the severe damage to liver cells. Mathematical models of the system are built from a simpler model of a single infection and used to explore the possible outcomes of HBV and HDV co-infection. Computer simulations are also created to support analytical results. Manipulation the magnitude of different parameters has helped in understanding how different host and viral factors affect the severity of disease." Yaoxin's advisor on this project was Professor Jon Forde.

Posted 13 April 2012

Marcela Melara Honors Project

Marcela Melara, WS'12, has completed an Honors project titled, "ELARA: Environmental Liaison and Automated Recycling Assistant." An Honors project is a year-long endeavor culminating in a long Honors thesis and an oral examination by a committee of three examiners. Here is a description of Marcela's project: "One environmental issue we face today is dealing with the large amounts of landfill garbage. While many efforts are already being made to increase recycling, many people still have trouble identifying and sorting recyclable materials. In order to improve this situation, I designed and built ELARA. This is a new system that facilitates recycling and waste sorting by helping people identify the items which are recyclable and those which are not. The most immediately noticeable aspect of ELARA is a networked kiosk to help users sort their waste correctly. The kiosk is the front end of a larger system of hardware and software." Marcela's advisor for this project was Professor John Vaughn.

Posted 13 April 2012

Shaun Viguerie Honors Project

Shaun Viguerie H'12 has completed an Honors project entitled "ISTAT: Online Interface for Hypothesis Testing." An Honors project is a year-long endeavor that culminates with a long Honors thesis and an oral examination by a committee of three examiners. Here is a description of his project: "This honors project involved the creation of an online statistical software application (called ISTAT) for hypothesis testing. The package has a user-friendly interface, and is able to work with data from a variety of different sources. Designed for student use, it supports hypothesis tests commonly covered in introductory statistics courses. The core functionality of the application lies in JavaScript libraries, making it easily extendable. By utilizing many modern web technologies, the project demonstrates the improving capabilities of the web as a platform for complex applications." Shaun's advisor for this project was Professor David Eck.

Posted 13 April 2012

News from Max Beckett

Max Beckett '11 writes as he nears the halfway point in a Master's degree program in computer science at Northeastern University. Max, who was a double major in mathematics and computer science, is working with a research group known as the ReConfigurable Lab (RCL). He has been spending his time there working on GPGPU (General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units), an attempt to harness the immense computing power of modern graphics cards for other purposes than graphics. Max first started work on this field for an independent study at HWS. This summer, Max will have a internship with Mathworks, the company that makes MatLab, doing more work with GPUs for their Parallel Computing Toolbox.

Posted 22 March 2012