Q Club

The Q-Club, which is short for "Quantitative Club," is the departmental student organization, boasting over fifty members. Students speak on their research or share their internship and summer program experiences. Scheduled events take place approximately every other Tuesday 12:00-12:30pm with pizza and beverages being served. Q-Club will meet in Valentine 208.

Faculty members occasionally give talks as well, on topics ranging from "Math and Horror" to "An Outrageously Brief History of Mathematics."

All are welcome to attend; please contact Taylor Pellerin, club president, Vice-President Yuxi Zhang: Alexis Joy or the club advisers: Choong-Soo Lee and Natasha Komarov.

If you know of students interested in giving a talk during the semester, please contact Ivan Ramler or Natasha Komarov.  (Q-Club Archive Page)

Additional activities planned by the club include a Piathlon (held on or near 3/14) and Euler's Birthday Party (on 4/15).

Archive Page

Fall 2016

11/29/16 Elsa Ficke
Title:  Comparing Statistical Methods for Classifying Brain Cancer
Abstract:  The purpose of this project is to classify brain cancer subtypes using statistical methods and biological data. The statistical algorithms that are used to classify the cancer subtypes are naïve Bayes, K-Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machines and Random Forest. Two types of data are used in classification, including gene expression data and copy number data. The research question is: how can we obtain the best classification accuracy for prediction of brain cancer subtype?

11/15/16   Michelle Gould from St. Lawrence University Career Services will discuss the following topics
What they can do for you, what our majors have done in the past. How to get in touch with alumni, etc. regarding both full time employment and internship opportunities.

11/1/16  Sejla Palic will give a talk on her SLU Fellowship project she worked on with Jessica Chapman last summer
Title: " Pareto Front App: Optimizing Decision Making Process"
Abstract:  Pareto Fronts are one way to simultaneously optimize multiple criteria. A choice is eliminated if it is worse than at least one other choice. This is done by considering “all” possible solutions/options and eliminating inferior ones. An option is eliminated from contention if it is worse than at least one other available option. Once a Pareto front is identified, only equally “good” choices are left to choose from. At that stage, the decision about which single option is “best” becomes subjective; however, this app provides some additional tools to guide you to a defensible solution. Even though functions for finding Pareto fronts are written in R language and are available to the public, an average person wouldn’t be able to use them efficiently. The purpose of our project was to make a web app that would allow users without  R knowledge to utilize Pareto Fronts functions on large data sets.

10/18/16 Holley James-Grisham will speak on his research
Title: " Using Stylometry to Classify Movie Script Genres with Each Other"
Abstract: Stylometry is the statistical breakdown of deviances in literary style among writers or genres (Burrows, 267). Stylometry can be used in situations where people come across books that they like, and search out the author in hopes that the author has written similar books. After days of searching they might realize that the author of the book is unintentionally unidentified. The book is from ancient Greece and the author’s page got lost over time. However, a statistical algorithm that uses the words from the book to correlate it to one specific author could be used to discover who wrote the book. The theory of stylometry will be tested using movie scripts from the web. The main question is whether or not different stylometry methods can be used to distinguish between different genres. Once the basic steps to filtering through the flooded data is successfully complete using computer coding software in R, the data will then be ready for analysis using a variety of stylometry techniques to represent each data set. Finally, a variety of numerical representations from the stylometry techniques will be used to create cluster plots to see the clusters of similar data sets. This research will allow writers to group different pieces of work to different time periods, authors, and possibly genres. The likeliness that research is successful will be determined by whether or not there is an accurate correlation between different data sets.

10/4/16  speaker Brian Coakley (CFO @ North Country Savings Bank),
Mr. Coakley will talk about his career path from a computer science major to becoming CFO at a bank.

9/20 16 Yuxi Zhang (Abstract Fellowship 2016)
Title: " User Interface and Usability Analysis for Importing Data in Statistics & Data Analysis Tools"
Abstract:  As statistical data analysis software tools are used intensively and extensively during research and decision-making in industries, software engineers also never stop seeking more user-friendly interface designs to prevent cases where users fail to import external data into those analysis tools effectively. The format of the data and the size can make data import challenging.
    My fellowship project focused on improving the data import process of a web-based tool “StatKey” with a more user-friendly interface. StatKey is used extensively by students taking Applied Statistics courses here at SLU and many other users worldwide.

9/6/2016 Taylor Pellerin (Abstract Fellowship 2016)
Title: "Play Select Like a Champion:  Run/Pass Decision Making in FBS College Football"
Abstract: Before every single offensive play in American football, the coach has a choice to make: which set of instructions to give the team. Each play call is a decision that is tactically made. Depending on any number of conditions, a coach will have the team run or pass the ball, with the goal of advancing the field and ultimately scoring. After constraining and cleaning up a very large data set, I built a set of linear models which look at the success of certain factors in predicting efficient play calling. In this session, I will talk about the ways in which the data set was manipulated, the process of developing the models, as well as a change in run/pass decision-making that the results of the models point to.

Spring 2016

5/6/2016 Announcement of next year's Q-Club officers. Last Q-Club for the semester and
Hannah Durant will be presenting her SYE research
Title: "Graph Theory and Epidemiology: Using network models to represent and analyze the spread of infectious diseases"
Abstract: Throughout our history, humans have been plagued with devastating epidemics of infectious diseases. Recent events such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the well known worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, have brought the threat of epidemics into current news and shed light on the vital field of epidemiology. How can we predict and prevent these outbreaks? If an epidemic does occur, how do we minimize the damage? Researchers have used network models, rooted in the discipline of graph theory, to find answers to these important epidemiological questions. This presentation will provide a brief introduction to network models and detail their advantages and limitations by analyzing two case studies on Ebola and SARS.

4/15/2016  Edward Morreale (Computer Science)
Title: "Videogames and you! A look at small scale videogame development"
Abstract: Videogames have been played and enjoyed for decades, but just how exactly is one constructed? In this presentation I will be giving my experiences in video game development. There are many different processes that are involved when even doing simple things like getting a character to move across the screen, and this can overwhelming to someone looking in from the outside. The goal of the presentation is to give a high level overview of the game development process, and looking at how some of the different components of games relate to the classes I have taken here at St. Lawrence. Additionally, I will talk about what are some practices that both professionals and other independent designers conduct. Other non-programming aspects of game development such as art and music will be discussed as well. The talk will conclude with a demo of my current progress.

3/11/2016 Robin Lock, Burry Professor of Statistics
Title: "CHODR – A Statistical Model to Rate College Hockey Teams and Predict Game Outcomes"
Abstract: Abstract: The College Hockey Offensive and Defensive Ratings (CHODR) is a system for ranking teams and predicting results of future games based on results of past games after accounting for the quality of opponents.   Each team is given an offensive rating reflecting their scoring rate and a defensive rating to measure success at preventing opponents from scoring.  Current CHODR results for men’s and women’s NCAA Division I teams can be found at it.stlawu.edu/~chodr. We discuss how these ratings are determined using a Poisson model for scoring and how they can be used to forecast future games –in particular giving a forecast for when St. Lawrence faces off against Clarkson in the ECAC playoffs this weekend.

2/26/2016 Bailey O’Keeffe
Title: "Oscars Study Examines Lack of Female Representation in Best Picture Nominated Films"
Abstract: Due to criticism about the gender discrepancy in Oscar-nominated films, we analyzed the screen time of male and female leads in films nominated for Best Picture from 2006-2014. This talk will focus on the differences found between lead screen times according to year and director gender, the relationship between how long a female lead is on screen and how likely it is that a film will win the Oscar, and also the lack of racial diversity in these films in light of this year's #OscarsSoWhite.  

2/12/2016 Dr. Ed Harcourt
Title:  " A Virtual Machine for Accelerating Database Joins Using a General Purpose GPU”
Abstract: We demonstrate a speedup for database joins using a general purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU). The technique is novel in that it operates on an SQL virtual machine model developed using CUDA. The implementation compiles an SQL statement to instructions of the virtual machine that are then executed in parallel on the GPU. We use the three dimensional structure of the CUDA grid and thread model to perform a join on up to three relations at a time. Query execution results in speedups of 2 to 60 times on consumer-level GPUs depending on the size of the result set.

1/29/2015 Dr. Michael Schuckers
Title: “Fulbright and Finland”
Abstract:  In this talk, I will introduce the Fulbright program including opportunities for students as well as talk about my experiences as a Fulbright Scholar in Finland.  “The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” (http://eca.state.gov/fulbright) Since 1946, the Fulbright program has awarded scholarships for students and faculty to study, teach and research in another country.  In 2013, I was a Fulbright Scholar at the VTT Research Institute in Espoo, Finland working with their bioinformatics group.  In addition to discussing my experiences with the Fulbright program,  I’ll talk a small bit about the research I did at VTT on metabolonomics.

Fall 2015

12/4/2015 Son Vuong
Title: "Haggling with Google Flight: Predicting Flight Prices"
Abstract: In today’s internet Age, travel agent is a profession of the past. So, how do you haggle with that flight search engine to get the best price on your flight home? This talk focuses on the relationship between the percentile of flights’ prices and various search options that a user can configure. The target variable, predicted percentile, shows where a particular query configuration lies in the range of historical prices. By using this variable, we would be able to determine whether that particular price is the deal of your life! Queried via Google Flights Engine on a fixed set of destinations, our data consists of over 2 million flights. We explored this complex relationship on three different levels: a fixed trip with given origin, destination, departure date and return date; a flexible trip given a range of departure date and return date; and a vacation trip given the fixed trip length of 9 days, that occurred in the next 300 days

11/13/2015 Sydney Bell and John Tank
Title: "Sports Analytics Internships"
Abstract: We’ll be taking a look at the sport statistic industry as it relates to both the team aspect as well as the business side.  Sydney Bell worked with the Florida Panthers, and will be discussing some of the analytic problems she worked on, how she got the internship, and what she learned while commutating with staff members within the organization.  John Tank worked on the business side, as he was a data analytics intern for a company called CoachMePlus.  During his time there he worked mainly with data collection, analysis of client performance, and identifying trends within data.  They will also say what they learned from their experiences, and give advice to students interested in the field.

10/23/2015  Professor Choong-Soo Lee will be presenting
Title: "Rise of the Bots: Bot Prevalence and Its Impact on Match Outcomes in League of Legends"
Abstract: Do you play League of Legends or know family members and friends who do? Have you ever experienced or heard of accusing other players of being a bot? Guess what! They do exist and have an impact on match results! Come and find out how we estimated the prevalence of bots and determined their negative effect on League of Legends matches.

10/2/2015 Evan Smith will be presenting
Title: "Reducing L-Band Wide Observations of Optically Selected Galaxies"
Abstract: Observations of galaxies in the Virgo Cluster were completed at the Arecibo Observatory in the spring and summer of 2015.  161 targets were observed, selected by criteria such as magnitude and shape from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The targets, which were too dim to be detected by Arecibo’s ALFA drift scanner, were observed with the L-Band Wide detector. Once reductions in an IDL environment were done, these data were matched to the targets from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the GALEX/MAST catalog. Comparing the galaxies that were detected against the galaxies that were not detected (by the L-Band Wide receiver) will allow us to refine our method of choosing HI-rich galaxies in the 2000km/s to 9000km/s range and prepare for the Arecibo Pisces-Perseus Supercluster Survey, which will use the same method of target selection. 115 of the 161 targets observed had positive detections, a 71% success rate.

9/18/2015 Janelle Frederics (Statistics Major - Class of 2016
Title:  Exploring Carbon Density Loss in the Pantropical Forests
Abstract:  During my summer fellowship at St., Lawrence University, I have been working on creating an interactive web app titled Exploring Carbon Density Loss in the Pantropic Forests. There has continuously been an increase in human activities, such as industry, transportation and electricity, which has caused instability in our eco-system and reduced the productivity of forests. Work on this topic uses the term edge effect to measure this reduction in productivity. I have been provided with information on the edge effects present in pantropic forests by the Natural Capital Project, a research group housed at Stanford University, whose general mission is to help preserve the environment we live in. Through the computer program R, and its subsequent packages, I created a web app for this group so scientists who use this data have an easy way to visualize and use the information that is pertinent to them. Come see the web app I created and see the opportunities that are available to all students during the summer fellowship program. A preview of this app can be found at: http://shiny.stlawu.edu:3838/NatCap/CarbonLoss

9/4/15 Math, Computer Science and Statistics Faculty will be presenting.
Title: Where’s our pizza?! (Welcome back!)
Abstract: Welcome back (or just welcome) to another year of Q-Club! We will kick this year off with a general info meeting about the department – including meeting the Q-Club officers, the new Math professor, and hearing about some of the fun and exciting events the Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics Department has to offer this semester! And don’t worry, as always, pizza and snacks will be provided.