Job Searching for Math Majors

This Wednesday 11/30 from 5:30-6:30 in LGRT 1634, Mary Ellen Liseno, Assistant Director of Career Planning for the College of Natural Sciences, will visit the Math Club. She will give an overview of the job search process with an emphasis on job searching and interviewing. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the resources UMass’s Career Services has to offer. Pizza and soda will be available!

Industrial Mathematics Seminar Wednesday 4:00 PM

This Wednesday 11/16 is a UMass Friday, so Math Club will not meet. Below is an alternative. Note that Math Club will also not meet 11/23 (the day before Thanksgiving).

Interested in how math is done in the non-academic world? Try visiting the Industrial Mathematics Seminar this Wednesday 11/16 from 4:00-5:00PM in LGRT 1634. Peter J. Costa, Senior Applied Mathematician at Hologic, Inc. will be speaking. on “SEIR Models and Nonlinear Filters”. Refreshments will be served at 3:45.

Peter J. Costa received the Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1984. The first third of his career was spent developing radar applications at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the Raytheon Company. From 1992 to 1996 he was the Director of the Center for Applied Mathematics at the University of St. Thomas. Since that time Dr. Costa has concentrated upon scientific computing (co–authoring MATLAB’s Symbolic Math Toolbox) and mathematical biology. In particular, he has worked to develop models for the spread of HIV and outbreak of AIDS, the transmission of an infectious respiratory disease throughout a population, and the diagnosis of cervical cancer. Dr. Costa is presently a senior applied mathematician at the Hologic Corporation in Marlborough, MA.


A standard technique used to model the transmission of an infectious disease through a population is the Susceptible, Exposed, Infected, Recovered or SEIR method. When combined with longitudinal data from a reporting center, the SEIR model becomes the components of the filtering problem. In this talk a model for the transmission of an infectious respiratory disease is presented along with simulated measurements. The model and measurements are used to construct an extended Kalman–Bucy filter (EKBF) to estimate the SEIR populations and parameters. The results are tested against simulated data manufactured to resemble actual reporting center records. Finally, an exact nonlinear filter is outlined via the Fokker–Planck equation. Some open questions are presented.

Opening Parrondo’s Paradox

This Wednesday at 5:30 in LGRT 1634 Alden Gassert will present, “Opening Parrondo’s Paradox.”  As always, we will have free pizza and soda with the talk.


Games of chance are prevalent in our society in both leisure (lottery, casinos) and business (stock market). In most cases these games are heavily biased against the players, yet that does not deter people from playing. Many people make their livelihood creating systems to win despite the odds. In this talk, I introduce a set of biased games and ask the classic gambler’s question: “is there a winning strategy?” You may already be able to guess the answer, but the process we use to answer the question is both unusual and surprising. With this talk, I hope to demonstrate a snippet of why mathematics is such a powerful and wonderful field. The first half of the talk will involve some simple probabilities and will be accessible to (and hopefully enjoyable for) all listeners. In the second half of the talk, I will go deeper into the mathematics involved in our problem to make our results rigorous. Some knowledge of linear algebra will be helpful for this part, but it is not required.

Telling Knots Apart: Knots and Knot Invariants

This Wednesday at 5:30 in LGRT 1634 Tobias Wilson will present “Telling Knots Apart: Knots and Knot Invariants.” Come listen and stay warm! We will have pizza and soda with the talk.


We will define knots to be exactly what you’d think they should be and then consider one of the big questions of knot theory: many knots that look different turn out to be equivalent. With the help of pipe-cleaner models, we’ll develop some knot invariants, culminating in the HOMFLY polynomial. This talk will be completely accessible to students at any level.