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IMA Public Lectures
2010-2011


The IMA Public Lectures are free and open to the public.

How financial engineering can cure cancer, solve the energy crisis, and stop global warming
7:00pm, Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Willey Hall 175
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Andrew W. Lo (Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
http://web.mit.edu/alo/www/

As disruptive as the financial crisis has been, the important lessons to be learned from the spectacular failure of financial technologies gone awry may actually pave the way for some of the most significant achievements of the 21st century. In this talk, Prof. Lo will provide a brief overview of the origins of the crisis, the key role that mathematics played, and how a deeper understanding of human nature may allow financial engineers to focus the enormous power of global financial markets on some of society's most pressing challenges.

Arnold Family Lecture

Burst, cascades, and hot spots: A glimpse of some on-line social phenomena at global scales
7:00pm, Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Willey Hall 175
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Jon Kleinberg (Tisch University Professor, Department of Computer Science, Cornell University)
http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/kleinber/

As an increasing amount of social interaction moves on-line, it becomes possible to study phenomena that were once essentially invisible: how our social networks are organized, how groups of people come together and attract new members, and how information spreads through society. With computational and mathematical ideas, we can begin to map the rich social landscape that emerges, filled with "hot spots" of collective attention, and behaviors that cascade through our networks of social connections.

The Arnold Family Lecture series is endowed by a generous gift from the Arnold Family Foundation.

Secrecy, privacy, and deception: the mathematics of cryptography
7:00pm, Wednesday, March 9, 2011, Willey Hall 175
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Jill Pipher (Mathematics Department, Brown University)
http://www.math.brown.edu/~jpipher/

Every time we go on-line to look up something or to make a purchase, we are exposing ourselves to a certain amount of risk. We risk having our identities hijacked and our private information exploited. How do we protect networks against intruders and keep information safe? We do this with cryptography. This lecture will tour the mathematical ideas behind encryption, public key encryption, digital signatures, and authentication.

Recommender systems for fun and profit
7:00pm, Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Willey Hall 175
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Chris Volinsky (Statistics Research Department, AT&T Labs-Research)
http://www2.research.att.com/~volinsky/

In October 2006, Netflix kicked off a $1M competition by releasing 100 million movie ratings as a training set to be used to build a better recommendation system for their on-line movie rental business. This landmark data set generated intense interest from the statistics and machine learning communities, and attracted entries from over 3000 teams from academia and industry. In this talk, I will review our team's experience analyzing this data and document our journey towards winning a share of the million dollar prize. Some of the surprising lessons include the role of ensembles (of models and teams) in the drive for the top spot, the power of matrix decomposition techniques, and the interplay between collaboration and competitiveness during the contest.

Lecture Details
Refreshments: 6:30 p.m.
Lecture: 7 p.m.
Location: 175 Willey Hall, 225 19th Avenue South West Bank, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Directions: http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/WilleyH/index.html

For updates on future public lectures: http://www.ima.umn.edu/public-lecture

The IMA brings together the best minds in math and the sciences to solve pressing problems facing our society, our industries, and our planet. It is funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota.

Institute for Mathematics and its Applications
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