Colloquiums and Joint Seminars

Upcoming colloquiums

Henry Lam - Columbia University - February 11th   

Associate Professor – Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

MC 6460

3:15 p.m. refreshments | 3:30 p.m. talk

Efficient Uncertainty Quantification in Simulation Analysis

Simulation-based prediction, for instance in discrete-event analysis and machine learning, often incurs errors from both Monte Carlo computation and calibration noise from data. These errors, if overlooked, can result in incorrect inference and underestimation of risks that degrade decision-making. We present several methods to efficiently quantify these errors, by injecting subsampling, distributionally robust optimization, and random perturbation respectively into simulation runs. We explain the statistical mechanisms of these approaches and why they help resolve each of the discussed challenges faced by existing methods. This is joint work with Huajie Qian (Columbia).

Past colloquiums

Ricardo Fukasawa - University of Waterloo - January 13th  

Associate Professor, Combinatorics and Optimization

MC 6460

2:15 p.m. refreshments | 2:30 p.m. talk

Solving the Vehicle Routing Problem

The vehicle routing problem (VRP) consists of finding the most efficient way to route a fleet of vehicles that depart from a common depot in order to serve a set of customers. Each customer has a given demand and the total demand carried by each vehicle cannot exceed its capacity. is The VRP is a well-studied classical combinatorial optimization problem proposed in 1959, and the techniques developed for solving it have been used to solve practical optimization problems in logistics and other application areas for years.


In this talk, we will discuss the VRP and different approaches to get optimal solutions to it. The approaches are based on integer programming formulations for the problem, each of which has its own advantages and drawbacks. We will review a few of these and discuss the main ideas behind them and how those can be extended to consider variants of the problem.

Andrew Sutherland - Massachusetts Institute of Technology - November 7th  

Principal Research Scientist, Department of Mathematics

M3 3103

3:15 p.m. refreshments | 3:30 p.m. talk

Sum of Three Cubes

In 1953 the British mathematician Louis Mordell famously asked if one can write the number 3 as a sum of three cubes in any way other than the obvious two solutions 1^3+1^3+1^3 and 4^3+4^3 -5^3. Over the next sixty-six years many mathematicians attempted to answer Mordell's question, and while they failed to find any new solutions for 3, they were eventually able to determine all positive integers k ≤ 100 that can be expressed as a sum of three cubes, except for k = 42.

In this talk I will present joint work with Andrew Booker that used Charity Engine's crowd-sourced compute grid to affirmatively answer Mordell's question:

569936821221962380720^3 - 569936821113563493509^3 -472715493453327032^3 = 3;

as well as settling the case k = 42. I will also discuss a conjecture of Heath-Brown that predicts the existence of infinitely many more solutions and explains why they are so difficult to find.

Lin Wang - University of Jinan - October 28th  

Associate Professor, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Network Based Intelligent Computing

DC 1304

2:45 p.m. refreshments | 3:00 p.m. talk

Evolutionary Computation and Evolving Reverse Engineering-based Scientific ModelingModeling enables scientists to compare observations with theory, extract physical parameters, and predict the behaviors of system. Currently, for modeling many systems, traditional first-principle methods are not satisfactory in comparison with the observations. For example, current models of cement material fall short of explaining its hydration process. The evolving reverse engineering-based scientific modeling brings hope for discovering knowledge, and distilling natural laws. In this talk, we will introduce evolutionary computation and some theoretical contributions. Then, we will exhibit some real-world examples of evolving reverse modeling.

Anita Layton - University of Waterloo - September 24th  

Associate Dean, Research and International, Mathematics

Professor of Applied Mathematics, Pharmacy, and Biology

Chair, Research Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council

MC 5479

2:20 p.m. refreshments | 2:30 p.m. talk

Mathematical Models and Their Applications in Diabetes, Hypertension, and Autism

Computational modelling can be used to reveal insights into the mechanisms of new drugs and to develop new diagnostic tools. Here I will discuss three major diseases: diabetes, hypertension, and autism. I will talk about how we construct models to simulate new diabetes drugs, to understand sex differences in hypertension, and to develop a new approach for diagnosing autism in children.

Leland McInnes - Tutte Institute - March 21st 

Research Mathematician and Data Scientist at Tutte Institute for Mathematics and Computing

Unsupervised Learning
Topological Data Analysis is a relatively new field of research that seeks to bring powerful tools from algebraic topology to bear on practical problems in data science (where statistics has been the more traditional toolset). This talk, by Dr. Leland McInnes from the Tutte Institute for Mathematics and Computing, will begin by using topological methods to construct a new approach to dimension reduction, and then build out the theory to provide new approaches to clustering and anomaly detection. Our goal is to provide a unified topological approach to unsupervised learning.

Tim Merlis - McGill University - Febuary 25th  

Associate Professor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at McGill University

Canadian Research Chair (Tier 2) in Atmospheric and Climate Dynamics. 

Member of the McGill Space Institute

Monday 25th February, 2019
3:30pm in MC 5417
​refreshments at 3:15pm

High-resolution climate simulations to understand how global warming affects hurricanes 

In the last decade, global climate models have achieved sufficiently high resolution that they can simulate hurricanes, one of the most destructive forms of extreme weather. This new capability has been deployed to assess how human-caused global warming affects hurricanes. In this seminar, I will provide an overview of the technique and highlight results of my research that use simplified boundary conditions to understand the sensitivities of hurricanes to climate change. 

Past CM Colloquiums