2014-2015 Monthly Meetings

  1. August Meeting: 4:00-6:00 p.m. on August 24 (Stright 226/229)
  2. September Meeting: 3:30-5:00 p.m. on September 24 (Stright 226)
  3. October Meeting: 3:00-5:00 p.m. on October30 (Northern Suite 116)
  4. December Meeting: 3:30-5:00 p.m. on December 5 (Stright 231)
  5. January Meeting: 12:00-2:00 p.m. on January 19 (HUB Monongahela Room)
  6. February Meeting: 5:00-6:30 p.m. on February 19 (Stright 240)
  7. March Meeting: 5:00-6:30 p.m. on March 31 (Stright 240)
  8. May Meeting: 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on May 1 (Stright 240)
    (Scholarship Banquet at 5:30 p.m., KCAC Room 6 & 7)

Workshops: (Open to Public)

  1. 3D Printer
    1:30-3:00 p.m. on September 12, in Stright 220
    Presenter: Dr. Brian Sharp and Dr. Ed Donley
    Digital Fabrication and 3-D printing offer many possibilities to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics by bridging the gap between the abstract and the concrete (or plastic as it may be). For example, calculus students often grapple with problems in which they have to find the surface area and volume of an object formed by rotating a curve around an axis. In the past, these types of problems usually remained abstract to students because the technology to create actual physical models was not available or convenient to use. With a digital fabrication facility, students can construct mathematical representations of the objects, send the representations to the 3D printer, and fabricate plastic models to investigate. Participants in this workshop will learn how to create models using Mathematica and a 3-D printer.
  2. Python I:
    3:30-5:00 p.m. on October 9, in Stright 220
    Presenter: Dr. John Chrispell

    Abstract:Ever want to create your own solar system? Now you can! In this workshop participants will be introduced to python scripting using a Linux environment with the goal of modeling an N-Body problem. Topics covered will included package management for the linux OS, importing python libraries, and basic scripting for numerical computation touching on classes, functions, and plotting data.
  3. Python II:
    3:30-5:00pm on October 16, in Stright 220
    Presenter: Dr. Ed Donley

    Abstract:In this workshop, participants will learn some fundamental procedures for analyzing images and will implement those procedures in the Python programming language using popular Python packages. Image processing tasks will include edge detection, line detection, and identification of objects within images.

    Prerequisite: Mastery of at least one programming language
    Co-sponsored by S-COAM and the IUP Software Development Center.
  4. Mathematica Workshop I
    3:35pm-4:50pmon February 2, in Stright 220
    Presenter: Dr. Ed Donley

    Abstract:This hands-on session will familiarize participants with the basic capabilities of Mathematica, including experience with Mathematica's notebook interface and syntax. Topics will include 2D, 3D, and parametric graphing; animations; and equation solving.
  5. Mathematica Workshop II
    3:35pm-4:50pm on February 4, in Stright 220
    Presenter: Dr. Ed Donley

    Abstract:Participants will learn to create their own customized functions in Mathematica. Examples will include drawing polygonal spirals and pyramids.

Invited Speakers: (Open to Public)

  1. September 30, 2014
    Time and Location: 4:00pm-5:00pm in Stright Hall Room 240
    Presenter : Brian Johnson, ACAS, MAAA,
    Senior Vice President, Swiss Re America Holding Corporation

    Title: Actuarial Roles in Property and Casualty Insurance/Reinsurance
    This presentation will discuss the various traditional and non-traditional roles for a P&C Actuary in the insurance and re-insurance market. Emphasis will be put on how these jobs differ (pros and cons) with respect to passing exams, hours of work, job quality, starting salary, etc. We will also cover recommended course work and skills needed to be successful.
    October 22, 2014
    Presenter: Dr. Pete Vanden Bosch
    Dr. Pete Vanden Bosch currently teaches math at Marymount University. Served in USAF 26 years, culminating as chief of analysis and science & technology advisor for USNORTHCOM and NORAD. Worked in a think tank on homeland security issues for three years. Taught high school 1977-84. Dr. Vanden Bosch has published articles on mathematics education, nuclear effects, stochastic processes, military doctrine, homeland security, numerical estimation, and the psychology of decision making.

    a. 11:15 AM-12:05 PM, Weyandt 107
    Title: Variations on a Theme by Sierpinski
    This talk will start by exploring a well-known fractal, the Sierpinski gasket. By using a stochastic version of the definition of this fractal, we'll come up with related fractals, like the one depicted here. You'll discover there's an interesting connection between these fractals and random walks.

    Excel Experiment: Sierpinski Sierpinski-Pascal

    b. 2:30 PM-3:20 PM, Weyandt 208
    Title: Analytical Career Paths in Government
    There must be government jobs that need talented, quantitative folks, but what and where are they? And what do they really do? This talk will attempt to answer those questions. The focus will be on the author's own analytical career in government, but it will also offer some wider insights, based on his own exploration into those questions.

    PowerPoint file

    c. 3:35pm-4:35pm STRGT 226/229
    The Goldilocks Fallacy
    Abstract:When faced with a range of options, we often choose an intermediate one without much thought. This Goldilocks heuristic serves us well in many circumstances. In the presence of conflict, we seek compromise. We keep to the middle of our lanes when driving, without consciously reasoning why this is a really good idea. And when we see seven predictions for a hurricane's path, we intuitively assign higher likelihood to the intermediate predictions and less to the extremes, without consciously invoking the Law of Large Numbers. All of these mental shortcuts have some justification.

    But we also apply this Goldilocks heuristic in questionable ways. This presentation focuses on the idea that, in making choices when there are conflicting objectives - which are very common - choosing a middle path often fails to give you the best decision. In fact, sometimes it leads to the worst. We'll examine an analytic framework that allows us to quantify what "often" and "sometimes" really mean, and we'll also examine the psychological reasons that drive us to make these poor Goldilocks decisions.

    PowerPoint File

  3. Data Visualization Workshops
    February 27, 2015
    Presenter: Dr. Rafael E. Matos
    About the presenter:
    Dr. Matos was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and attended the University of Puerto Rico, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences. Upon graduation, he joined the US Navy and served as a surface warfare officer aboard to the USS GARCIA (FF 1040), the aircraft carrier USS AMERICA (CV 66) during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and was forward deployed on the USS CURTS (FFG 38) in Yokosuka, Japan. In addition to his involvement as current President of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS), Dr. Matos is also a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the Society for Consulting Psychology, the Society for Military Psychology, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the Military Officers of America Association (MOAA), and the National Society for Hispanic Professionals (NSHP).Title: Do you SEE what I'm SAYING...?Abstract:This workshop examines and highlights some ofthe proven most effective ways to set up anddisplay analytical information in simple, yeteffective pictures that would increase theability of your audience to really SEE what youare SAYING. It also highlights common pitfallsof visual design of charts and graphs andproposes a set of measures to fix these foreffective communication of the real message.
    1. Lecture -- 10:30am -12:00pm, Weyandt 107 Lecture Slides
    2. Hands-on -- 3:30pm-5:00pm Stright 220 Excel File

  4. SIAM Visiting Lecturer
    April 24, 2015
    Dr. C. Allen Butler
    Dr. Butler holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Texas Tech University and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He has been employed at Daniel H. Wagner
    Associates, Inc. since 1987 and is currently the President of the company.Throughout his career, Dr. Butler has served as the principal investigator for Department of Defense R&D projects involving a variety of mathematical disciplines as applied to areas such as tracking, track correlation, data fusion, and search optimization. He has been involved in the development and implementation of optimal search techniques for a number of projects, including a research effort whose goal was the interdiction of narcotics smugglers in the Caribbean. Dr. Butler is an internationally recognized expert in data fusion and occasionally instructs three or four-day seminars on Multi-Sensor Data Fusion and Applied Kalman Filtering offered both nationally and internationally. Dr. Butler holds one patent for an algorithm designed to use surface search radar to anticipate and prevent runway incursions at major airports. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America (and a past member of the Board of Governors), Institute for Operations Research and Management Science(INFORMS), IEEE, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and a number of industry specific professional organizations.

    Dr. Butler is the chair of the INFORMS Prize Committee for the " Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice" and is also a visiting lecturer for SIAM.

a. 11:15am-12:00pm, Johnson 247
Title: Building a Successful Company - With Mathematicians???

In this talk, Dr. Butler will give an overview of his company, Daniel H. Wagner, Associates, from
its historic beginnings in 1963 through its current role today. In 1963, Dr. Dan Wagner
founded his eponymous company with two guiding principles in mind. First, Dan believed in
hiring young mathematicians and training them to solve real-world problems. Second, Dan felt the quality of the writing in the technical reports and briefings provided to the clients was nearly as important as the technical content itself. To this end, and while the company size was small, Dan personally reviewed every scrap of paper that went out under the company name. Through the years, the company developed an impressive reputation for mathematical analysis applied to the budding field of Search Theory (find the lost H-bomb, find the sunken treasure, find the enemy submarine, etc.), and this continues to be an area of expertise today. At the same time, the company demonstrated the breadth of its capabilities by working in areas as diverse as DNA sequencing, retirement planning, crane anti-sway, speech recognition, speaker verification, and random number generation on GPUs.

b. 2:20pm-3:10pm Weyandt Hall Room 32
Title:Decentralized and Autonomous Data Fusion Service (DADFS) for Heterogeneous
Unmanned Vehicles (UVs)

In a joint project with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), Daniel H. Wagner Associates developed a full-scale prototype Decentralized and Autonomous Data Fusion Service (DADFS) for heterogeneous Unmanned Vehicles (UVs) that obtains contact/track data from real-world UVs and (1) creates a Common Operational Picture (COP) on each UV node using sensor data from all communicating UV nodes and any other available relevant additional data; (2) synchronizes this COP across all UV nodes within the constraints of the available limited and intermittent communications links; and (3) (when human operators are available) provides alerts, requests for assistance, and the relevant COP information to UV operators in an intuitive, easily comprehended manner.

In this talk, we will discuss data fusion and a few of the various mathematical algorithms
required to successfully implement a Data Fusion Service. As a concrete example of the use of DADFS, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) conducted a demonstration of this first-of-its-kind technology, which will allow any unmanned surface vehicle (USV) to not only protect Navy ships, but also, for the first time, "swarm" offensively on hostile vessels.