Department of Mathematics
Student seminar
All talks

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 01:00PM, NAC 5/150
Paul Mucciarone (St. John's School of Risk Management), Recruiting for the MS in Actuarial ScienceHave you considered becoming an actuary? St. John’s University has a foursemester program designed specifically to help you launch your career in this lucrative and rewarding field.
The MS in Actuarial Science will enhance your critical and analytical thinking while preparing you to succeed on professional actuarial exams. St. John’s also has individualized career services, a wide range of corporate connections and generous scholarship opportunities.
Paul Mucciarone is the assistant director of admissions for St. John’s School of Risk Management. He will be leading the discussion on Thursday, February 23rd at 1:00 pm

Thursday, December 08, 2016, 01:15PM, NAC 4/148
Prof. Samuel Van Gool (CCNY Math Department), A Taste of LogicI will discuss a few logic puzzles (easy to state, not so easy to solve), and show how these are related to current research in math and computer science.

Thursday, December 01, 2016, 01:15PM, NAC 4/148
Dr. Ruthi Hortsch (Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathemtics), Triangles, Congruent numbers, and Elliptic CurvesWe are all familiar with the Pythagorean Theorem, and perhaps with methods of constructing right triangles with all rational sides. While a right triangle with rational sides will always have rational area, does this work the other way round? For a given rational number n, can we find a right triangle with all sides rational that has area n? Not alwaysbut this isn't obvious! If we can find such a triangle, we call the number n "congruent”. In the quest to discover which n are congruent, we will encounter elliptic curves and their group structure, and maybe even mention the elusive Birch and SwinnertonDyer Conjecture.

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 01:15PM, NAC 4/148
Prof. Benjamin Steinberg (CCNY Math Department), The Cerny ConjectureThe Cerny conjecture arose in 1964 from the question of synchronizing finite state machines. To formulate the idea concretely imagine you are a prisoner in a dungeon. The dungeon has several rooms connected by oneway tunnels which are painted blue or red. Each room has a red tunnel and a blue tunnel leaving it. All the rooms have a yellow door. The yellow door leads to certain death in each room except one whose door leads to freedom.
The good news: you have a map of the dungeon.
The bad news: you have no idea which room you are in.
The soso news: A prisoner warden has informed you that there is a fixed sequence of blue and red tunnels that leads you to the good room no matter where you start from. But which sequence and how many times do you have to travel the tunnels?
Cerny conjectured that if you have a finite state machine with n states that admits an input sequence which synchronizes the machine to a fixed state irregardless of the initial state then there is such an input sequence of length at most (n1)^2. Cerny constructed examples requiring this long an input sequence. The best upper bound to date is cubic, dating from 1978. Finding a minimum length synchronizing sequence is known to be an NPcomplete problem and hence difficult unless P=NP.
We'll talk some of the more than 100 partial results on this problem.

Thursday, November 10, 2016, 01:00PM, NAC 4/148
Jacob RussellMadonia (CUNY Graduate Center), Mathematics is not dead!To many, mathematics appears as a static, dead science. It seems just to be a barren landscape of cryptic rules and procedures which can only be navigated by memorization and repetition. Most mathematicians however, hold a drastically different view. To them, math is a beautiful tapestry of interconnected ideas which is constantly growing in surprising and amazing ways. Mathematicians know that intuition and creativity are as important as logic and rules to the growth of this wonderful tapestry. In this talk, we will try to understand the mathematician's perspective in the best way possible, but solving some exciting math puzzles. This talk will be very interactive, so come ready to think, problem solve and reshape you view of what mathematics is!
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