Off on a Tangent 18.10

Statistics colloquium set for Monday

  • Title: Statistics is not an easy bake oven
  • Speaker: Dr. Phil Boonstra, University of Michigan
  • When/Where: Monday, March 2 at 4:00 PM in VanderWerf 104

Abstract: Statistics is sometimes viewed—and taught—as if it were an easy bake oven: add some data, choose the right settings, and await your (scrumptious?) answer. As it turns out, this is not actually how statisticians typically describe their thought process. One way that this gap between external and internal perceptions manifests is in terms of understanding that any statistically derived answer will be couched in uncertainty. I will talk about this specifically in the context of early phase clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs. After giving a brief introduction about the history, basic design, and current success rates of such trials, I will present some of my work as a cancer biostatistician helping to design these trials. My goal is to bridge this gap in perception and understanding. Well-designed clinical trials are about making the best decision (e.g. which dose to choose, whether to stop the trial early, or whether to declare that our drug is a ‘success’) *and* also properly quantifying our uncertainty about that decision. Most of this talk will be accessible to non-statisticians.

Computer Science Colloquium (with enough math to make it a math colloquium) coming up

  • Title: An Interesting Talk about Uninteresting Numbers
  • Speaker: Dr. Herb Dershem, Hope College
  • When/Where: Thursday, March 12 at 11:00 AM in VanderWerf 102

Abstract: What does it mean for a number to be random? This talk will explore this question in a manner that will expand your understanding of the concept of randomness and its role in computer science using a recently discovered concept called algorithmic complexity. Along the way, we will discover that all numbers can be divided into those that are interesting and those that are uninteresting. Also, you will be introduce to the only known uninteresting number in the universe, know as Chaitin’s Omega.

Michigan Section of the Mathematics Association of American Meeting

Grand Valley State University Mathematics Department is hosting this year’s Annual Meeting of the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America. The meeting will take place Friday-Saturday, April 3-4. 

This is not only a great nearby mathematics conference to attend, but student’s are also encourage to present. The deadline to submit a talk or poster is Friday, March 13. More information about the conference and directions on how to submit a presentation are located on their website linked above.

Leap day?

Is tomorrow February 29 or March 1. You could certainly look at your calendar to find out, but that’s too easy. We provide the flow chart below to help you decide.

Problem Solvers of the Fortnight

Congratulations to Camen Andrews, Aerin Baker, Jeff Bikus, Collin Bradley, Josiah Brett, Colin Brown, Sarah Brown, Josh Brummel, Anna Carlson, Miguel Castelan, Ethan Cramer, Adam Czeranko, Calleb Diekema, Liam Diephuis, Cameron Dunn, Blake Harlow, Kyle Hydorn, Britta Johnson, Tyler Koran, Ted Lockett, Tahvanh Lucero, Anna Molloy, Brendan Murphy, Matthew Nguyen, Eleni Persinger, Cedric Porter, Forest Rulison, Charlie Stafford, Shane Vaara, Bethany Van Houten, Jason Veldman, Ben Walters, Kamaron Wilcox, Ashley Zardus, and Will Zywicki — all of whom correctly solved the Problem of the Fortnight in the last issue of America’s premiere fortnightly mathematics and statistics department newsblog.

Problem of the Fortnight

Three boys, Alex, Bart and Chuck, and their sisters Delilah, Eunice and Frances (not necessarily in that order), had chickens for pets.  Last week was unusual.  Each chicken laid as many eggs as its owner owned chickens.  Bart had three times as many chickens as his own sister, and had eight more chickens than Chuck’s sister.  Further, by the end of the week, Bart had collected 56 more eggs than Alex; Chuck had collected 52 more than Delilah; and Alex had collected as many eggs as Delilah and Eunice together.

How many chickens did each of the six people own?  Who was whose sister?  What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Submit your solution inside an egg and drop it in the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Mark Pearson’s office, room 212 in The Werf, by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 6.  As always, be sure to include your name and the name(s) of your math professor(s) — e.g. Sonny Sideup, Professor Chris P. Bacon — on your solution.  Good luck and have fun! 


This Mazda 3 just got an upgrade!

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