Which patterns in data are meaningful, and which are inevitable due to the size of the dataset? Why did many of the world's top mathematicians obsess over a question about the card game 'Set'?
April is Math Awareness Month, and Cornell’s Department of Mathematics will be celebrating it with a talk by Robert Kleinberg, associate professor of computer science, who will explore these questions and explain what they teach us about the capabilities and limitations of efficient algorithms, Kleinberg's research area. His lecture will be held in Gates Hall Auditorium on April 20 at 4:30 p.m. A reception will be held beforehand. The event is free and open to the public.
Mary Ann Huntley, director of mathematics outreach and K-12 education activities for the math department, said Math Awareness Month was established to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics. Each year, the Department of Mathematics sponsors a public lecture on topics in mathematics.
The math department also sponsors a T-shirt design contest at Ithaca High School. The winning design – chosen by Ithaca High School math teachers and math department faculty, staff and graduate students – is made into T-shirts and distributed to students and faculty participating in mathematics outreach activities.
Throughout the year, the department engages in outreach with the local community with events focused on facilitating teacher development, providing opportunities for students in grades K-12 and promoting mathematics awareness.
Agnes Shin is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.