Statistics
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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Upcoming seminars in Statistics

Seminars in Mathematics
Genomic data analysis: bioinformatics, statistics or data science?

Mik Black

Department of Biochemistry

Date: Thursday 21 September 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building

Analysis of large-scale genomic data has become a core component of modern genetics, with public data repositories providing enormous opportunities for both exploratory and confirmatory studies. To take advantage of these opportunities, however, potential data analysts need to possess a range of skills, including those drawn from the disciplines of bioinformatics, data science and statistics, as well as domain-specific knowledge about their biological area of interest. While traditional biology-based teaching programmes provide an excellent foundation in the latter skill set, relatively little time is spent equipping students with the skills required for genomic data analysis, despite high demand for graduates with this knowledge. In this talk I will work through a fairly typical analysis of publicly accessible genomic data, highlighting the various bioinformatics, statistical and data science concepts and techniques being utilized. I will also discuss current efforts being undertaken at the University of Otago to provide training in these areas, both inside and outside the classroom.
170711162430
Quantitative genetics in forest tree breeding

Mike and Sue Carson

Carson Associates Ltd

Date: Thursday 28 September 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building

Forest tree breeding, utilising quantitative genetic (QG) methods, is employed across a broad range of plant species for improvement of a wide diversity of products, or ‘breeding objectives’. Examples of breeding objectives range from the traditional sawn timber and pulpwood products desired largely from pines and eucalypts, to antibiotic factors in honey obtained from NZ manuka, and including plant oil products from oil palms. The standard population breeding approach recognises a hierarchy of populations (the ‘breeding triangle’) with a broad and diverse gene resource population at the base, and a highly-improved but less diverse deployment population at the peak. With the constraint that the deployment population must contain a ‘safe’ amount of genetic diversity, the main goal for any tree improvement program is to use selection and recombination to maximise deployment population gains in the target traits. The key QG tools used in tree improvement programs for trial data analysis, estimation of breeding values, index ranking and selection, and mating and control of pedigree are in common with most other plant and livestock breeding programs. However, the perennial nature of most tree crops requires tree breeders to place a greater emphasis on the use of well-designed, long-term field trials, in combination with efficient and secure databases like Gemview. Recent advances using factor analytic models are providing useful tools for examining and interpreting genotype and site effects and their interaction on breeding values. Genomic selection is expected to enhance, rather than replace, conventional field screening methods for at least the medium term.
170711162635
Can't you just feel the Moonshine?

Ken Ono

Emory University; 2017 NZMS/AMS Maclaurin Lecturer

Date: Thursday 5 October 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building

Borcherds won the Fields medal in 1998 for his proof of the Monstrous Moonshine Conjecture. Loosely speaking, the conjecture asserts that the representation theory of the Monster, the largest sporadic finite simple group, is dictated by the Fourier expansions of a distinguished set of modular functions. This conjecture arose from astonishing coincidences noticed by finite group theorists and arithmetic geometers in the 1970s. Recently, mathematical physicists have revisited moonshine, and they discovered evidence of undiscovered moonshine which some believe will have applications to string theory and 3d quantum gravity. The speaker and his collaborators have been developing the mathematical facets of this theory, and have proved the conjectures which have been formulated. These results include a proof of the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, and Moonshine for the first sporadic finite simple group which does not occur as a subgroup or subquotient of the Monster. The most recent Moonshine (announced here) yields unexpected applications to the arithmetic elliptic curves thanks to theorems related to the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture and the Main Conjectures of Iwasawa theory for modular forms.
This is joint work with John Duncan, Michael Griffin and Michael Martens.
170705090104
Gems of Ramanujan and their lasting impact on mathematics

Ken Ono

Emory University; 2017 NZMS/AMS Maclaurin Lecturer

Date: Thursday 5 October 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: Archway 2

Note venue of this public lecture
Ramanujan's work has has a truly transformative effect on modern mathematics, and continues to do so as we understand further lines from his letters and notebooks. In this lecture, some of the studies of Ramanujan that are most accessible to the general public will be presented and how Ramanujan's findings fundamentally changed modern mathematics, and also influenced the lecturer's work, will be discussed. The speaker is an Associate Producer of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons) about Ramanujan. He will share several clips from the film in the lecture.

Biography: Ken Ono is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics at Emory University. He is considered to be an expert in the theory of integer partitions and modular forms. He has been invited to speak to audiences all over North America, Asia and Europe. His contributions include several monographs and over 150 research and popular articles in number theory, combinatorics and algebra. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA and has received many awards for his research in number theory, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. He was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by Bill Clinton in 2000 and he was named the National Science Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2005. In addition to being a thesis advisor and postdoctoral mentor, he has also mentored dozens of undergraduates and high school students. He serves as Editor-in-Chief for several journals and is an editor of The Ramanujan Journal. He is also a member of the US National Committee for Mathematics at the National Academy of Science.
170814094354

David Fletcher

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Date: Thursday 12 October 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building

Title and abstract to follow
170711162501
The changing face of undergraduate mathematics education: a US perspective

Rachel Weir

Allegheny College, Pennsylvania

Date: Monday 16 October 2017
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building

Note day and time of this seminar
A common theme in the United States in recent years has been a call to increase the number of graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields and to enhance the scientific literacy of students in other disciplines. For example, in the 2012 report Engage to Excel, the Obama administration announced a goal of "producing, over the next decade, 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected under current assumptions." Achieving these types of goals will require us to harness the potential of all students, forcing us to identify and acknowledge the barriers encountered by students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Over the past few years, I have been working to understand these barriers to success, particularly in mathematics. In this talk, I will share what I have learned so far and how it has influenced my teaching.
170913161028

Matthew Parry

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Date: Tuesday 24 October 2017
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Room 241, 2nd floor, Science III building

Title and abstract to follow
170619154758