Mathematics

Sparse Optimization Algorithms and Applications

Speaker: 
Stephen Wright
Date: 
Mon, Apr 4, 2011
Location: 
PIMS, University of British Columbia
Conference: 
IAM-PIMS-MITACS Distinguished Colloquium Series
Abstract: 
In many applications of optimization, an exact solution is less useful than a simple, well structured approximate solution. An example is found in compressed sensing, where we prefer a sparse signal (e.g. containing few frequencies) that matches the observations well to a more complex signal that matches the observations even more closely. The need for simple, approximate solutions has a profound effect on the way that optimization problems are formulated and solved. Regularization terms can be introduced into the formulation to induce the desired structure, but such terms are often non-smooth and thus may complicate the algorithms. On the other hand, an algorithm that is too slow for finding exact solutions may become competitive and even superior when we need only an approximate solution. In this talk we outline the range of applications of sparse optimization, then sketch some techniques for formulating and solving such problems, with a particular focus on applications such as compressed sensing and data analysis.

As Geometry is Lost - What Connections are Lost? What Reasoning is Lost? What Students are Lost? Does it Matter?

Speaker: 
Walter Whitley
Date: 
Fri, Apr 29, 2011
Location: 
SFU Harbour Center
Location: 
PIMS, Simon Fraser University
Conference: 
Changing the Culture 2011
Abstract: 
In a North American curriculum preoccupied with getting to calculus, we witness an erosion of geometric content and practice in high school. What remains is often detached from "making sense of the world", and from reasoning (beyond axiomatic work in University). We see the essential role of geometry in science, engineering, computer graphics and in solving core problems in applications put aside when revising math curriculum. A second feature is that most graduates with mathematics degrees are not aware of these rich connections for geometry. We will present some samples of: what we know about early childhood geometry.; and then of the critical role of geometry and geometric reasoning in work in multiple fields outside of mathematics. With a perspective from "modern geometry", we note the critical role of transformations, symmetries and invariance in many fields, including mathematics beyond geometry. With these bookends of school mathematics in mind, we consider some key issues in schools, such as which students are lost when the bridge of geometry is not there to carry them through (caught in endless algebra) and possible connections other subjects. We also consider the loss within these other disciplines. We will present some sample investigations and reasoning which can be supported by a broader more inclusive set of practices and which pays attention to geometric features and reasoning in various contexts. In particular, we illustrate the use of dynamic geometry investigations, hands on investigations and reflections, and making connections to deeper parts of the rest of mathematics and science.

Changing the Culture of Homework

Speaker: 
Justin Grey
Speaker: 
Jamie Mulholand
Date: 
Fri, Apr 29, 2011
Location: 
SFU Harbour Center
Location: 
PIMS, Simon Fraser University
Conference: 
Changing the Culture 2011
Abstract: 
Who do your students think their homework is for? Does attaching credit to homework promote student understanding, or encourage students to find answers by whatever means necessary? Are they focused on calculating the answer, or seeing the big picture? Is their homework grade a true reflection of their own understanding of the material, or does it better reflect the understanding of their "support network"? In this workshop we will describe our efforts to improve student feedback and to promote good study skills in first and second year mathematics classes.

Raising the Floor and Lifting the Ceiling: Math For All

Speaker: 
Sharon Friesen
Date: 
Fri, Apr 29, 2011
Location: 
SFU Harbour Center
Location: 
PIMS, Simon Fraser University
Conference: 
Changing the Culture 2011
Abstract: 
"Math. The bane of my existence for as many years as I can count. I cannot relate it to my life or become interested in what I'm learning. I find it boring and cannot find any way to apply myself to it since I rarely understand it." (high school student) Today, mathematics education faces two major challenges: raising the floor by expanding achievement for all, and lifting the ceiling of achievement to better prepare future leaders in mathematics, as well as in science, engineering, and technology. At first glance, these appear to be mutually exclusive: But are they? Is it possible to design learning that engages the vast majority of students in higher mathematics learning? In this presentation, I will present the findings and discuss the implications from a research study that explored the ways to teach mathematics that both raised the floor and lifted the ceiling.

Multi Variable Operator Theory with Relations

Speaker: 
Ken Davidson
Date: 
Tue, May 24, 2011
Location: 
PIMS, University of Victoria
Conference: 
Canadian Operator Symposium 2011 (COSY)
Abstract: 
TBA

Min Protein Patter Formation

Speaker: 
William Carlquist
Date: 
Thu, Jul 14, 2011
Location: 
PIMS, University of Victoria
Conference: 
AMP Math Biology Workshop
Conference: 
IGTC Summit
Abstract: 
This talk was one of the IGTC Student Presentations.

Memory Induced Animal Movement Patterns

Speaker: 
Ulrike Schlaegel
Date: 
Thu, Jul 14, 2011
Location: 
PIMS, University of Victoria
Conference: 
AMP Math Biology Workshop
Conference: 
2011 IGTC Summit
Abstract: 
This talk was one of the IGTC Student Presentations.

Perfect Crystals for Quantum Affine Algebras and Combinatorics of Young Walls

Speaker: 
Seok-Jin Kang
Date: 
Fri, Jul 10, 2009
Location: 
University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Conference: 
1st PRIMA Congress
Abstract: 
In this talk, we will give a detailed exposition of theory of perfect crystals, which has brought us a lot of significant applications. On the other hand, we will also discuss the strong connection between the theory of perfect crystals and combinatorics of Young walls. We will be able to derive LLT algorithm of computing global bases using affine paths. The interesting problem is how to construct affine Hecke algebras out of affine paths.

New geometric and functional analytic ideas arising from problems in symplectic geometry

Speaker: 
Helmut Hofer
Date: 
Mon, Oct 23, 2006
Location: 
PIMS, University of British Columbia
Conference: 
PIMS 10th Anniversary Lectures
Abstract: 
The study of moduli spaces of holomorphic curves in symplectic geometry is the key ingredient for the construction of symplectic invariants. These moduli spaces are suitable compactifications of solution spaces of a first order nonlinear Cauchy-Riemann type operator. The solution spaces are usually not compact due to bubbling-off phenomena and other analytical difficulties.

Emerging Aboriginal Scholars Summer Camp

Speaker: 
Melania Alvarez
Date: 
Thu, Sep 29, 2011
Location: 
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Conference: 
Emerging Aboriginal Scholars
Abstract: 
From July 4 to August 5, 2011, the UBC First Nations House of Learning and PIMS ran a summer camp for grade 10 and 11 students with First Nations backgrounds. The camp combined academics and cultural components. In this video we meet some of the camp organizers and participants. Videography by Elle-Maija Tailfeathers.
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