Q-Club Announcement Archives

Spring 2019

Mon, Apr. 29 @ 4pm - A Clarkson professor on Quantum Computing (Lisa Torrey)

Speaker: Eliza Oliver, April 25
Title: Using Game Theory to Examine the Effects of PrejudiceAbstract: While prejudice and hatred continue to permeate the American public through media and prominent public figures, the need for unity has never been greater. Understanding the effects of intentional and inadvertent prejudice is the first step toward finding a solution for this unnecessary conflict. The Prisoner’s Dilemma studies strategies for iterative decision-making between two parties. It has applications to business and economics, psychology, and international relations. Through the discussion of various strategies players can employ in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, we can see how cooperation with others and defection against can enhance the effects of prejudice in a society. Focusing on the most prominent strategies, including Tit-for-Tat, and considering various conditions of the environment, we will be able to further understand prejudice and discuss efforts that can be made to further reduce the spread of prejudice.

Speaker: Zeyu Lu, Thursday, April 11
: Knot Theory, the Jones polynomial, and graph theory
Abstract: Knot theory is the study of mathematical knots. A main focus is whether two knots are the same even though they may appear different. Knot invariants play an important role in answering this question. One of the most interesting and successful types of invariants are knot polynomials. These involve associating polynomials with knots. We investigated several knot polynomials, including the Jones polynomial, as well as how we can relate these to graph theory

Speaker: Allie Withee, Thursday, March 28
A Shiny App for Visualizing Adirondack River Data
Abstract: A Shiny Application within R was created to aid geologists in the visualization and time series analysis of Adirondack River discharge. The data include 23 rivers with their monthly discharge levels starting in 1908 and ending in 2018.  The goal is to find trends in the data to understand historical patterns and explore the effects of climate change.  Analysis includes simple exponential smoothing, seasonal and simple linear regression models, Holt Winters, and a monthly spaghetti plot to highlight key measures and trends in the data.

Speakers: Guinevere Gilman, Angelica Munyao, Matthijs van Mierlo, Thursday, March 14
Title: Synesthesia: Sensor Visualization Android Application
Abstract: Synesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory organ results in an experience in a different sensory organ.

Our Android application allows a user to create images using touch input and the manipulation of sensor data. The sensors used are the gyroscope to gather angular velocity data, the microphone for sound input, and the light sensor for brightness. With the aid of an audio-processing Java library known as TarsosDSP, our application simulates a somewhat synesthetic experience in translating environmental data to a visual representation.

Speaker: Travis Marnell, Thursday, 2/28/19
Title: How Math is Solving the Issue of Gerrymandering
Abstract: In the current political sphere, there are many injustices and hidden dilemmas that are plaguing our government. One is in the realm of fair division, and this is where we run into the problem of gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering is an issue that arises when states unfairly divide their congressional districts. A district must fit within three criteria, equal populations, contiguous and compact. The compactness of each district is the main complication when it comes to mappings. The main measurement of compactness is The Reock measure, which is equal to area of the district over the area of the smallest enclosing circle. By looking into this, a case has been brought up in Pennsylvania where the prosecutors based most of their evidence around the statistics that come with The Reock measure as well as other math data. A similar case is coming to the supreme court in late March where North Carolina, Maryland and Wisconsin are looking to be redistricted based on these measurements. Focusing on these cases and some other sources we can see how math and statistics is helping solve some of the unfairness that is found in our government system.

Speaker: Emily Viehl, Tuesday, 1/29/19
Title: Creating a Book Recommendation System for Project Gutenberg
Abstract: Project Gutenberg is a free online library that contains over 56,000 eBooks that are available to be downloaded. Like many other online repositories, the number of eBooks available on Project Gutenberg has increased dramatically over the last ten years and is continuing to grow. What makes Project Gutenberg unique is that in addition to the books being freely available on Kindle, they can also be downloaded into R. The goal of this project was to create a recommendation system for the fiction books found on Project Gutenberg using cluster analysis. Recommendation systems are often based on user patterns/feedback however, in the absence of user data, recommendations can be made based on content. This particular recommendation system makes suggestions based on sentiment, style, and content.

Fall 2018

Dr. Brian Macdonald, December 14, 2018 -  Principal Consultant, GreaterThanPlusMinus, LLC Adjunct Professor, Department of Management Science, University of Miami Adjunct Professor, Sports Analytics, Florida Atlantic University College of Business
Title: "Using analytics for league realignment and player evaluation in sports."
Abstract: We give examples of how data visualization, analysis, and optimization can be used within the National Hockey League, and in the sports industry in general, in a variety of different contexts. We first present an example of how optimization techniques can be used at the league level to help make decisions about realignment when a team relocates, or when a new team is added to the league. We also discuss how analytics can be used to assist a team’s front office, coaching staff, and scouting department when they make personnel or coaching decisions.

Yuexin Li, Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Title: "Improve Computer’s Ability to Read Texts from Text Images with Complex Layouts Using Hierarchical Clustering and Smoothed N-gram Model".
Abstract: As artificial intelligence develops rapidly these years, people hope to teach computers the ability to read texts from paper so that paper-based material could be digitalized more efficiently for further use in various machine processes such as machine translation, text-to-speech, data mining etc. Tesseract-ocr, the text extraction tool behind Google photo translate service, helps people extract texts from images of texts, however it has limitations when dealing with complex layouts, such as multi-columns.

This research tried to improve Tesseract-OCR’s performance of images with non-uniformed layouts, using two artificial intelligence approaches: hierarchical clustering and smoothed n-gram models. When using hierarchical clustering, I interrupted Tesseract-OCR’s process to perform better block segmentation by grouping texts together from character level. For n-gram models, I directly worked on the extracted raw strings and tried to identify and fix miss-ordered text blocks based on word frequency

Tiara Davis from Career Services, Tuesday, 10/30/18
What Career Services 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.

Seongwon (Ryan) Im  Tuesday, 10/16/18
Title: "Design-weighted Regression Adjusted Plus-Minus (D-WRAP-M) for Evaluation of Player Impact"
Abstract: Ice hockey is one example of fluid team sports. Not only do twelve players, six per team, with one puck participate in a play simultaneously, but players from each team also come on and off the ice repeatedly. This presents challenges for evaluating the impact of individual players. Traditionally, the game statistics such as goals, shots, and passes tend to be the typical criteria for the evaluation. However, incapability to take account for the impact of all the players involved in plays rose as the main drawback of such method.

Regression Adjusted Plus-Minus (RAPM) is one widely accepted way to overcome the drawback. RAPM builds a design matrix taking players presence using +1/0/-1 to estimate the player performance. During summer research, we have taken a further step, not only building a design matrix using players’ presence but also taking account of players’ distances from events to better estimate the players’ performance.

Anna Breton, Allison Reiner, Kenneth Schimpf  10/2/18
Title: "Summer Internship and Research Experience" Abstract: Anna Breton interned at Esri with a team that creates cartography extensions for Adobe Creative Cloud. She also created data visualization prototypes for their cartography software.

Allison Reiner received a fellowship to conduct academic research, and performed biostatistical analysis to determine how biological sex affects gene expression in the eye (used the cornea tissue of mice). Kenneth Schimpf went to the Cyber Security REU program at Wright State University. The research project involved reveres engineering M7700 ECU binaries to syntactically identify sensor addresses in read-only memory.

Guinevere Gilman 09/18/18, Tuesday
Title: "High Bandwidth Mode in Overwatch"
Abstract: Interactive applications such as multiplayer online games require user interactions to be possible, because handled responsively, with the smallest amount of delay users must respond rapidly to the actions of other users in these types of games. A delay of even 50ms has been determined to make some multiplayer games to be frustrating and unplayable in previous investigations. However, there has not been sufficient research conducted to determine an acceptable threshold of delay for the playability of more modern games, as much of the data collected has been from games created in the 1990s and early 2000s.

This research focused on one of the most popular modern multiplayer team-based multiplayer games, known as Overwatch, which has made the claim that its relatively new high bandwidth mode will drastically increase the quality of experience bandwidth. It for players. It also claims to group is a first-person shooter, where two players with teams of six similar players compete against each other to fulfill various objectives using player characters with different types of weapons including hit-scan and projectile-based ones.

Lara Clemens 09/08/18
Title: A mathematical modeling approach to behaviors of multiply-phosphorylated intrinsically disordered proteins in signaling networks
Abstract:  Immune cells detect invaders and trigger a defensive response via a network of protein interactions both outside and inside the cell.  Classically, the interactions of these proteins are understood by studying the structure of each protein. However, some proteins involved in the immune response have intrinsically disordered regions, including some with no cytoplasmic structure at all. Despite this, these unstructured signaling molecules have been found to exhibit complex nonlinear behavior, including cooperativity and sequential binding. For example, the intrinsically disordered T Cell Receptor zeta chain has six tyrosines and exhibits an approximately 100-fold rate enhancement from first to sixth phosphorylations. Here, we computationally model the zeta chain with a freely-jointed chain model coupled to idealized spherical binding enzymes. Following experimental and theoretical evidence, we explore three model assumptions: (1) phosphorylation stiffens nearby peptide bonds, (2) phosphorylation changes the electrostatic interaction of the chain with the inner leaflet of the membrane, and (3) phosphorylation allows enzymes to remain bound to the phospho-tyrosine. We find that, first, entropic flexibility alone leads to cooperativity or anti-cooperativity in kinase activity, and, second, that sequential binding emerges naturally from entropic effects.

Spring 2018

Lance Oleny 04/24/18
Title: "CoDrone: Consumer Friendly Programmable Drone"
Abstract: As automation and artificial intelligence continue to improve, the aviation industry is moving towards unmanned flight with drones. This talk will discuss my experience with programming a hand-held drone. Specifically, I have attempted to use speech-recognition software in python to send real-time basic flight commands to the drone. There will be code explanations in Python and C++. I will discuss my successes and limitation when working with the drone and will include a couple of demonstrations.

Esmeralda Quintana (SUNY Potsdam) 04/03/18
Title: "Hack Potsdam"
Abstract: Esmeralda Quintana is a senior at SUNY Potsdam, pursuing BA/MA in Mathematics and BA in Computer Science.  She is the president of the SUNY Potsdam ACM Chapter and has been involved in hosting hackathons in Potsdam.  She will speak about her experience of organizing hackathons in the local area, and also introduce upcoming events.  For more information, please visit http://hackpotsdam.com/

Beau Yaremko 03/13/18
Title: "Decision Tree Modeling for Heroes of the Storm Game Videogame"
Abstract: This talk will introduce the concept of decision tree modeling (also known as classification tree models) with applications to the Stat 113 first-day survey and the video game, Heroes of the Storm. Heroes of the Storm is a competitive online video game that is growing in popularity. You pick a team of 5 heroes and battle against other players to advance through the map taking out enemy forts and towers until you finally make it to the other team's core. Once you destroy the other team's core you win the game. There are different maps with slightly different layouts that make players change up their strategies and team make-ups. Our goal is to use decision tree models to determine if there are certain strategies for each map that increase a team's probability of success.

Kira Murphy 02/27/18
Title: "Hackathons: A Programming Event for Beginners and Experts Alike"
Abstract: What is a hackathon? According to Google, a hackathon is an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming. Over President's Day Weekend, I attended Hack@CEWIT, a 48-hour event at Stony Brook University. I will be talking about what a hackathon is, how i ended up at this particular hackathon, what my team and I did, my overall experience, and upcoming hackathons near SLU.

Guinevere Gilman 02/13/18
Title: "Database Design for Statistical Analyses"
Abstract: This talk will focus on the methods and concepts for building and designing a database to effectively store statistical data on hockey players' performance. It will include aspects of relational database design such as keys, constraints, and relations, and how a logical structure can be created to show the relationships between data while limiting redundancy. There will also be a discussion of practical problems that I faced, such as populating the database with data from multiple sources.

Anna Izzo 01/30/18
Title: "Sentiment, Analysis, Made Easy by R."
Abstract: In a world that is ever-evolving, people are no longer complaining about companies through their 1-800 numbers. Rather, if a company's products or services are disliked, consumers visit social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and post their complaints in plain sight. Because of this, companies must show diligence in listening and responding to those who reach out in this manner.  Over the summer, Anna Izzo worked to understand and improve the efficiency and accuracy of determining sentiment through automation, instead of human power. From back end to front, she will share how she created a model in R to score over 15000 tweets in less than 20 seconds-now that's fast!

Fall 2017

Malakia Takane  12/4/17
Title: Portfolio Utility Optimization
Abstract:  Mathematical Finance is the field of mathematics that studies financial markets. My project focuses on developing an optimal investment strategy that seeks to build up wealth or pension payment stream while providing a balance between risk and reward. More precisely, the objective of this project is twofold: (1) to contribute to the practical application of utility optimization in building up wealth or retirement pension by utilizing an iterative procedure (a binomial tree model) and (2) to illustrate by way of case study the use of utility optimization to determine the percentage of capital in stock at each time period in the given optimal portfolio.

11/28/17 Allison Macri
Title:  Fractals, Forgeries, and Forensics: Using Fractal Analysis to Identify Forged Handwriting
Abstract:  This talk will introduce fractals and their relationship to forensic science. Examples of true and statistically self-similar fractals and their definitions will be given. This talk will also highlight the two important dimensions that classify fractals: the topological dimension and the Hausdorff-Besicovitch dimension, which is also known as fractal dimension. My research focuses on using fractal analysis to identify forged handwriting.

11/7/17 Nicole Williams
Title: Promoting Active Learning With Maple Trees
Abstract:  My summer research focused on understanding the importance and the design of model eliciting activities. In the beginning of the summer, I researched the design process and the important elements that are a part of model eliciting activities. Then I partnered with Nature Up North to look for a problem that was relatable and local to St. Lawrence University students that I could use for a model electing activity. In the end, I created a model eliciting activity for college-level classes, and have been able to implement it in statistics classes here at St. Lawrence University.

10/24/17  Yue Yang
Title: Counting Young Tableaux of a Given Shape
Abstract: My summer research focused on understanding the basics of Young diagrams and Young tableaux, and worked on the relationship between Young diagrams and Catalan numbers. Furthermore, this research discussed about how to introduce half-integers in Young tableaux, which becomes the main topic of my SYE.

10/10/17  Tiara Davis,  of St. Lawrence is the Assistant Director of Career Services and Student Development
Some topics of discussion: How to get in touch with alumni, etc. regarding both full-time employment and internship opportunities.

9/26/17  Nevaan Perera
Title: An Xbox Kinect Approach: Transforming Projector Screens into Interactive Smart-boards using the Xbox Kinect
Abstract:  Smartboards add numerous benefits to the classroom experience such as easy writing and highlighting, surfing the web and controlling computer applications. These features significantly facilitate learning and teaching in the classroom; however, smartboards are with many shortcomings. Some of these shortcomings include cost, the requirement of electronic pens, and limitation of instructor participation. The current project intended to use the Xbox Kinect, which is a highly advanced depth sensor camera, to detect human body movements and execute tasks/applications on a projected screen. By leveraging such technology, we can transform regular projector screens into smart boards, that are controlled just by the human body.

Spring 2017

Soukaina Alami Idrissi

Title: DailyHabit.co 
Abstract:  Dailyhabit is an online web application that lets you keep track of your daily habits and long-term goals.  I started this project during the web programming course with Prof. Lisa Torrey and turned it into a Senior Year project. I will be talking about how I acquired a domain and launched the website online, as well as the different tools and functionalities that I added to the web application

4/11/17 Madison Rusch and Haley Taylor
Title: Women in Cybersecurity Conference
Abstract:  The Women in Cybersecurity Conference is a conference that aims to recruit, retain and advance women in the field of cybersecurity. With that goal in mind, they offer scholarships to undergraduate scholars so that students who might otherwise be unable to go to the conference have the opportunity to attend. This year, Madison Rusch and Haley Taylor, seniors in the Computer Science department, both received scholarships that allowed them to travel to Tucson, Arizona and participate in this year’s conference. They listened to keynote speakers, took part in technical presentations, and attended a Career Fair during their time at the conference. Come hear them talk about the process of applying for the scholarship, their time at the conference, and what they enjoyed most at this week’s Q-Club!

3/28/17  Greg Gardner and Gibson Drysdale
Title: Computing Shortest Paths Around SLU Campus
Abstract:  Wouldn’t you like to know the shortest path from a location on campus to any and all other locations on campus? Is it possible? As partners, the topic of shortest paths hit home for us. Before starting this graph theory project, we figured that where we lived, 48 Park Street, was more on the outskirts of campus and therefore thought a shortest edges problem would be useful for us and many other people on campus. Using Dijkstra's algorithm and computer science, we have developed a way to turn the St. Lawrence campus map into a graph that tells us exactly this.

2/28/17  Kevin Frommer, Devin Robson, Andrew Volkmann
Title: NHL Ranking System
Abstract:  This is a project that we did last year in our Graph Theory class. One of the types of graphs we learned about in the class was tournaments.

Specifically, how to take a tournament and rank teams based on wins and strength of their schedules. We choose to take the concepts that we learned and apply them to the NHL. We wrote an algorithm to create a ranking system for all NHL teams for both last year’s season and of all time. With the results that we found we were able to create a side by side comparisons with what we found to what the standings portrayed.

1/31/17  Gibson Drysdale
Title:  Game-Making in Europe
Abstract:  Not many off-campus programs offered by SLU give you the opportunity to get Computer Science credit. I was able to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for four months in the spring of 2016, where I was enrolled in a Game Development program. The program teaches the basics of making video games and gives in-depth exposure into the European Video Game industry through company visits and other hands-on experiences. The program also counts for CS 300+ elective credit, which I needed if I wanted to graduate on time. I'll be covering the Denmark program, what it's like to live in Copenhagen, and the experiences I had while taking this eye-opening and generally awesome course.

Fall 2016

11/29/16 Elsa Fecke
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 the 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 the 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 are successfully completed 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 the results of future games based on the 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, a 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 ecosystem 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.

Spring 2015

4/17/2015 Jenna Street
Adjusting Grade Point Average for Course Difficulty
Abstract:  Class rank is a measure of a student's performance compared to the performance of other students in his or her class. The conventional method for determining a student's grade point average involves the earned grades and the number of units or credits that the student receives from each course. However, this process does not include a way to incorporate course difficulty, which can vary due to the nature of the course material or the particular grading standards of a professor, among other defining characteristics. The purpose of this project is to analyze ten years' worth of anonymized grade history for St. Lawrence University and build a model that provides a student's grade point average after adjusting for course difficulty. By doing so, we are able to re-rank students within each class in order to more accurately provide a comparison of classmates. We find that incorporating course difficulty into the ranking process impacts the order of class rankings though the biggest factor impacting class rankings is the individual student.

4/3/2015 Colleen Bradley
"Could Your Sleep Schedule be Affecting Your Mental Health?  An Application of Mixed Effects Modeling"
Abstract:  Mixed-effects modeling refers to a broad array of techniques that can be used to model data that violate the usual linear model assumptions. We will use mixed-effects modeling techniques to analyze data from a sleep study previously conducted by the psychology department. The study tested the effects of changing the beginning start time of the school day for high school students to a later time through the use of self-report surveys. The current available research suggests that sleeping habits can have an influence on the mental health of an individual. It has been shown that insufficient sleep is often linked with poor mental health, especially in regards to depression, anxiety, and stress. We will use the data from the sleep study to discover if the change in start time of the school day will have an effect on the mental health of these high school students.

3/27/15 Nathaniel Shenton
"The Double Pendulum, A Case Study of Chaotic Behavior"
Abstract: The double pendulum is a dynamic system in which a second pendulum is connected to the first, allowing the second to swing freely. The motion of the resulting dynamical system will be associated with the motion of the pendulum.  This system experiences both periodic and chaotic tendencies.  We will use this example to show what it means for a system to be considered chaotic.  To do this we will explore the known visual tools that can help detect chaos, including an actually built pendulum.

3/6/15 Kirby Kaylor
"Title: Old McDonald had a Sensor"
Abstract: High tunnels are gaining popularity in farming communities as they allow for vegetables to be grown all year.  When the outside temperature is too cold, the sides can be rolled down to capture the sun’s natural heat, while minimizing heat loss.  When the outside temperature is warm enough, the sides can be rolled up to prevent overheating. These countermeasures require real-time temperature data from the tunnels. Sensor motes are battery-operated devices that can read data such as temperature and humidity and also form a wireless ad hoc network to transmit sensor data. A computer can collect up-to-date sensor data from the motes and control relevant equipment to regulate the temperature in the tunnels.

2/27/15 Dr. Sam Vandervelde
"Graphing Groups in the Projective Plane"
Abstract: In this talk we will introduce a novel method for visually presenting the group law for the integers mod m, i.e. the cyclic group of order m.  Along the way we will meet the finite projective plane, arguably one of the most elegant geometric objects in existence, in which every pair of lines intersects precisely once.  We will also discover that 14 is more unlucky than 13.

2/6/15 Brandon Lustig - will be presenting some work that he did with Dr. Robin Lock last fall on the use of statistics to rank PGA golfers.
"Head-to-Head Comparison Models to Rank PGA Tour Players"
Abstract: The current rankings systems for professional golfers, such as the official world golf rankings and the Fed Ex cup standings, put emphasis on winning tournaments and finishing near the top instead of looking at every round played with equal importance. To provide alternatives that are not so heavily weighted on winning tournaments, we use models, such as Bradley-Terry, that rely on head-to-head comparisons for all pairs of players for every tournament round. We discuss the details of finding ratings using these models, estimating the probability of a player beating another in a round, and compare the results using data from the 2013-2014 PGA tour season.

1/23/15 Boris Jukic and Joe Skufka from Clarkson University
"What's the big deal about big data?"
Abstract:  The term `big data' is most commonly understood to mean massive volumes of diverse and rapidly growing data that are not formally modeled (mostly unstructured or lightly structured), from various sources such as smart devices, social media, or sensors, in a variety of formats such as blogs, emails, tweets, or any unstructured content in digital format such as text, video, or audio.  There is a lot of hype and confusion regarding the true meaning and potential of this field and its uniquely inter-disciplinary nature. This talk will bring clarity to and debunk myths surrounding terms such as Big Data, Data Analytics and Data Science. (Such as "A data scientist is a statistician who lives in San Francisco.") The talk should be intriguing to a general audience and will hopefully inspire students to learn more about career prospects in this expanding field.

Fall 2014

12/9/2014 Abby Ross and Dave DiStefano
"The most famous numbers you've never heard of"
Abstract: In this talk, we will introduce the Catalan numbers, their formula, and discuss an example to illustrate their recurrence. A central idea of this SYE was to understand what happens when we take this set of numbers and “bump it up” to a higher dimension. We wrote code, conjectured a formula, and then proved this formula for "tri-Catalan numbers” - Catalan numbers in three dimensions. We then generalized this formula to all dimensions. We will close by discussing additional research we have done in relation to the Catalan numbers.

10/21/2014 Mitchell Joseph on the Budapest Semester in Mathematics
"The Budapest Semester in Mathematics"
Abstract:  Budapest Semesters in Mathematics is an academic program held in Budapest, Hungary for American and Canadian undergraduates. Initiated by Paul Erdős, László Lovasz, and Vera T. Sós, the program provides a unique opportunity for North American undergraduates. Through this program, mathematics and computer science majors in their junior/senior years may spend fall, spring or summer semesters in Budapest and study under the tutelage of eminent Hungarian scholar-teachers.

10/7/2014 Skyler Ng
"PHOENIX, a Helping Hand"
Abstract: With today's technological advances, people spend increasing amounts of time working on computers. To help people work efficiently, this project aims to create an intelligent software assistant that will help automate tedious commands that users often do on a desktop computer. The main task of this program is to search files or documents by the name or content. The software process can be broken down into three different sections. In the first section, the program will analyze an English command, tag each word with its part of speech, and parse it to determine its grammatical structure. The second section will focus on processing the parsed command into a command that the computer can understand. The final section will return the output to the user interface in a readable format. This program will be written in Python because it is a useful tool for string manipulation, has easy-to-read syntax, and contains the Natural Language Processing Toolkit (NLTK), which provides functions that deal with text processing.

9/9/2014 Dan Look, Associate Professor of Mathematics
"Can authorship of a contested piece be determined by statistics?"
Abstract: No, it can't.  However, statistics can provide supporting evidence.  Stylometry is the study and quantification of writing style, often using statistical methods. These techniques can be used in conjunction with more conventional analyses to suggest authorship of a contested work. Most notably, this was used to solidify the authorship attribution for the anonymous Federalist Papers and the 15th book of Oz. We'll discuss some past examples and some of the techniques involved.

9/23/2014 Danny Driscoll, Jenna Street and Son Vuong
"Careers in Actuarial Science"
Abstract:  Actuaries are leading business professionals who manage the impact of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematical and analytical skills on the job at a variety of industries to help businesses protect themselves against loss. Come learn about the process of becoming an actuary, including the exam process and the classes SLU offers to satisfy requirements. Hear about students’ experiences at actuary internships this past summer and discover this exciting but relatively unknown career path.

Spring 2014

This is the last Q-Club meeting for the semester.
4/29/2014  Johnn Balderston
"Foxes, Hipsters, and The Internet Meme: A First-World Social Epidemic"
Abstract:  The Internet Meme: a fast-spreading, sometimes “viral,” internet fad that is quite possibly the fastest mutating disease known to mankind. The Meme virus threatens the health and abdominal circumference of individuals everywhere. The multiple strains of the virus and its speedy mutation rate have left the grand majority of the human race perpetually infected. For this reason, we create a mathematical SIR model to demonstrate the spread of memes, where individuals can either be Susceptible (S), Addicted (A), or Rehabilitated (R). Our SAR model incorporates social impacts on the spread of this dreaded plague, including personal preference, hipster effects, boredom, and meme mutation. Observing the internet meme in this manner allows for the relevant understanding of social diseases, in which interactions within the population can result in a form of vaccination or devaccination, unseen in typical SIR modeling. Our hope is that our SARs will lend insight into combating the spread of this debilitating disease.

4/22/2014 Dan Mulcahey will provide an introduction to cluster analysis and discuss an application in Economics
"Identifying Groups of Similarly Performing Mutual Funds Using Cluster Analysis"
Abstract:   Cluster analysis is an explanatory tool used to identify groups within data.    After giving an overview of some clustering algorithms, we use recent percent returns to find clusters of similarly performing mutual funds and demonstrate how Word Clouds can be used to conveniently summarize fund descriptions and quickly identify the similarities among funds in each cluster, and the differences among funds between clusters.

4/8/2014 Brian Kane and Anton Stoychev will be talking about driving a remote control car with Raspberry Pi!
"Using Your Smartphone to Control an RC Car"
Abstract:   Computers have seen innumerable advancements over the years, the most noticeable of which being a dramatic increase in power, somewhat paradoxically paired with an equally dramatic reduction in size. The Raspberry Pi mini-computer allows us to hold the power of a desktop quite literally in the palm of our hands. The power, size, and affordability of the Raspberry Pi make it ideal for use in small electronics projects with a “DIY” flavor.   Using a bit of engineering, we were able to take advantage of the Pi’s power and size to directly attach it to an RC car. This allowed us to have easy access to the car’s motor and steering functions. We then used Python and the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) to implement a client/server architecture through which we remotely controlled the car using an Android smartphone.

3/25/2014 Eric Budge and Steve Petramale
"On Counting Triangles"
Abstract:  Algorithms for counting triangles in massive graphs have been studied intensely. This fundamental tool has been utilized in network analysis for the computation of metrics including clustering coefficients and transitivity ratios. The degree sequence S of a graph G is a list of the degrees of the vertices in G in non-increasing order. A particular degree sequence S is called graphic if and only if a graph G can be created using S. This work focuses on graphs with degree sequences containing a unique triple, a sequence that has three repeated terms and all other terms distinct. Polynomial expressions are given which count the number of triangles in realizations of such graphic unique triple sequences.

3/4/2014 Spencer Timerman
Teaching AI to Work Together"
Abstract: : Teamwork is hard. It's difficult for humans and its difficult for computers. In this talk we will address computer learning, particularly in the case of a team of learners. Our problem was a simple one: five locations, ten players, with the object of the game to have more of your players at a majority of the locations. We found that certain reward mechanisms worked more effectively than others to teach the learners and that our agents could not learn against opponents that acted with a certain degree of randomness.

2/18/2014 Jack Holby
"Variations on the Euclidean Steiner Tree Problem"
Abstract: Imagine you are trying to connect a set of cities to a highway. What is the best way to do this? Further, imagine a set of cities wish to build a highway between them. Where is the best place to build it? The Euclidean Steiner Tree Problem (ESTP) attempts to create a minimal spanning network of a set of points by allowing the introduction of new points, called Steiner points. We'll discuss a variation on this classic problem by introducing a single “Steiner line” in addition to the Steiner points, whose weight is not counted in the resulting network. For small sets, we have arrived at a complete geometric solution. We'll also discuss heuristic algorithms for solving this variation on larger sets. We believe that in general, this problem is NP-hard.

2/4/2014  Sam Vandervelde, Associate Professor of Mathematics
The World's Hardest Elementary Domino Tiling Problem
Abstract: :  Tiling problems have long delighted recreational mathematicians due to their potential for elementary formulation yet unexpected difficulty and elegance. Join Dr. V for a dizzying survey (literally---have you ever seen a Prezi presentation?) of classic and less well-known tiling puzzles.  We'll try out some of these puzzles together, then conclude by examining more closely one such problem that appeared on the 2009 USA Math Olympiad, successfully solved by only a single student in the entire country.