Welcome to the Department of Mathematics

What's Happening This Week In Mathematics....


Lee Safranek, M.Sc. Thesis Defence, Mathematics  Room: IRMACS 10908

November 19, 2014 at 1:30pm

Title: Analysis of an Age-Structured Model of Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia


CSE Information Session

November 19, 2014 from 4:30pm-5:30pm; K9509

If you are eager to apply the mathematical skills you acquired at school to unique,
challenging problems with meaningful impact, the Communications Security
Establishment (CSE) will be giving an information session which should intrigue you.


Event: 56th annual meeting of the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) in Ottawa.

As in the past two years, we encouraged the undergraduates in Math 402W Operations Research Clinic to submit their projects to the CORS undergraduate student paper competition.  And, once again, they won both prizes.  This year, all 3 projects submitted were chosen as finalists, and presented their work at the meeting. (The fourth finalist was from the University of Alberta; nine entries were received.)  Congratulations go to:

Kishley Bhalla, Craig Mathews, W. Brett Robinson and Katie Sclater "Selecting Optimal Tolling Levels: A Case Study for the Fraser River in the Greater Vancouver Area"

Honourable Mention:
Nicole Mo, Alborz Namazi, Joyce Tai and Eric Yuen "Optimal Locations of Telecommunication Equipment: A Case Study for the City of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada"

Kingsley Cheang, Feiqi He, Sarah Lin and Ashlie Neufelt "The Community Mailbox Location-Routing Problem"

Additionally, Second Prize in the CORS Practice Competition went to Daniel Karapetyan (SFU Math postdoc 2011-13) and Abraham Punnen, for their paper "Operational Research Models and Algorithms for Fleet Size Planning and Schedule Optimisation for the British Columbia Ferry Services Inc."  Finalists for the practice competition included teams from the University of Toronto and IBM, first prize went to UOIT.

Daily News

Upcoming Events

  • Nathan Sharp, M.Sc. Thesis Defence, Mathematics Room: IRMACS 10940
    2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
    November 24, 2014
    (Sr. Supervisor: Manfred Trummer) Title: Barycentric Rational Interpolation and Spectral Methods Abstract: Spectral methods typically give excellent accuracy with relatively few points (small N), but certain numerical issues arise with larger N. This thesis focuses on spectral collocation methods, also known as pseudo-spectral methods, that rely on interpolation at collocation points. A relatively new class of interpolants will be considered, namely the Floater-Hormann family of rational interpolants. These interpolants and their properties will be studied, including their use in differentiation by means of differentiation matrices based on rational interpolants in the barycentric form. Then, consideration will be given to the solution of singularly perturbed boundary value problems though the use of boundary layer resolving coordinate transformations. Finally, coupled systems of singularly perturbed boundary value problems will be investigated, though only with the standard Chebyshev collocation method.
  • Piyashat Sripratak, Ph.D. Thesis Defence, Mathematics Room 5060 Surrey Campus
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    November 25, 2014
    (Sr. Supervisor: Abraham Punnen) (Co-Supervisor: Tamon Stephen) Title: The Bipartite Boolean Quadratic Programming Problem Abstract: We consider the Bipartite Boolean Quadratic Programming Problem (BQP01), which generalizes the well-known Boolean quadratic programming problem (QP01). The model has applications in graph theory, matrix factorization, bioinformatics, among others. BQP01 is NP-hard. The primary focus of the thesis is on studying algorithms and polyhedral structure from a linearization of its integer programming formulation. We show that when the rank of the associated m x n cost matrix Q is fixed, BQP01 can be solved in polynomial time. In contrast, the corresponding QP01 version remains NP-hard even if Q is of rank one. Further, for the rank one case, we provide an O(n log n) algorithm. The complexity reduces to O(n) with additional assumptions. Further, we observe that BQP01 is polynomially solvable if m=O(log n) but NP-hard if m=O(sqrt n). Similarly, when the minimum negative eliminator of Q is of O(log n), the problem is shown to be polynomially solvable but remains NP-hard if this parameter is O(sqrt n). We then develop several heuristic algorithms for BQP01 and analyze them using domination analysis. First, we give a closed-form formula for the average objective function value A(Q,c,d) of all solutions. Computing the median objective value however is shown to be NP-hard. We prove that any solution with objective function value no worse than A(Q,c,d) dominates at least 2{m+n-2} solutions and provide an upper bound for the dominance ratio of any polynomial time approximation algorithms for BQP01. Further, we show that some powerful local search algorithms could produce solutions with objective value worse than A(Q,c,d) and propose algorithms that guarantee a solution with objective value no worse than A(Q,c,d). Finally, we study the structure of the polytope BQP{m,n} resulting from linearization of BQP01. We develop various approaches to obtain families of valid inequalities and facet-defining inequalities of BQP{m,n} from those of other related polytopes. These approaches include rounding coefficients, using the linear transformation between BQP{m,n} and the corresponding cut polytope, another polytope closely related to QPn and BQP{m,n} and applying triangular elimination, a technique developed for obtaining valid inequalities for a cut polytope from another cut polytope with different underlying graph.
  • CSC Weekly Seminar - Paul Tupper (SFU)
    2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    November 28, 2014
    CSC Weekly Seminar Friday, November 28, 2014 2:30 pm TASC-2, Rm 8500 Speaker: Paul Tupper (Mathematics, SFU) Title: Exemplar Dynamics and Sound Merger in Language Abstract: We develop a model of phonological contrast in natural language. Specifically, the model describes the maintenance of contrast between different words in a language, and the elimination of such contrast when sounds in the words merge. An example of such a contrast is that provided by the two vowel sounds "i" and "e", which distinguish pairs of words such as "pin" and "pen" in most dialects of English. We model language users' knowledge of the pronunciation of a word as consisting of collections of labeled exemplars stored in memory. Each exemplar is a detailed memory of a particular utterance of the word in question. In our model an exemplar is represented one or two phonetic variables along with a weight indicating how strong the memory of the utterance is. Starting from an exemplar-level model we derive integro-differential equations for the evolution of exemplar density fields in phonetic space. Using these latter equations we investigate under what conditions two sounds merge causing words to no longer contrast. Our main conclusion is that for the preservation of phonological contrast, it is necessary that anomalous utterances of a given word are discarded, and not merely stored in memory as an exemplar of another word.
  • Wei Chen, M.Sc. Thesis Defence, Mathematics Room: PIMS 8500 TASC II
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    December 2, 2014
    (Sr. Supervisor: Marni Mishna) (Co-Supervisor: Lily Yen) Title: Enumeration of Set Partitions Refined by Crossing and Nesting Numbers Abstract: The standard representation of set partitions gives rise to two natural statistics: a crossing number and a nesting number. Chen, Deng, Du, Stanley, and Yan (2007) proved, via a non-trivial bijection involving sequences of Young tableaux, that these statistics have a symmetric joint distribution. Recent results by Marberg (2013) has lead to algorithmic tools for the enumeration of set partitions with fixed crossing number and fixed nesting number. In this thesis we further consider set partitions refined by these two statistics. These sub-classes can be recognized by finite automata, and consequently have rational generating functions. Our main contribution is an investigation into the structure of the automata, the corresponding adjacency matrices, and the generating functions.
  • Yian Xu, M.Sc. Thesis Defence, Mathematics K9509
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    December 9, 2014
    (Sr. Supervisor: Luis Goddyn) Title: Generalized Thrackles and Graph Embeddings Abstract Let G be a graph drawn on a surface X such that every two distinct edges meet exactly once either at their common endpoint, or at a proper crossing. An unsolved conjecture of Conway (1969) asserts that e(G) ? n(G) for every thrackle on sphere. The best known bound is e(G) ? 1:428n(G). By using discharging rules we show that m ? 1:392n, provided that four particular graphs have no thrackle drawing. Furthermore we show that the following are equivalent: ? G has a drawing on X where every two edges meet an odd number of times (a generalized thrackle) ? G has a drawing on X where every two edges meet exactly once [at a common point] (a 1􀀀thrackle) ? G has a special embedding on a surface whose genus differs from the genus of X by at most 1. This theorem, when applied to embedded signed graphs, implies recent results [European J. Combin., 30, 1704-1717 (2009)] regarding the crossing number.
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