Pi Mu Epsilon Conference

April 13–14, 2018

Peter Engel Science Center

Saint John's University (please park in Parking Lot P2 or P4)

Schedule and abstractsTim Chartier

Invited Speaker: Dr. Tim Chartier (Davidson College)


Dr. Chartier is an applied mathematician with a focus in computer science and frequently works in data analytics with a specialty in sports analytics.  He has worked with the NBA, ESPN's Sport Science, NASCAR teams, and fantasy sports sites. He also directs and works with a team of about two dozen student researchers to provide analytics to Davidson College sports teams.

In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Chartier coauthored Numerical Methods: Design, Analysis, and Computer Implementation of Algorithms with Anne Greenbaum and authored Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing, which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Both books were published by Princeton University Press. Dr. Chartier also authored When Life is Linear: From Computer Graphics to Bracketology, published by the Mathematical Association of America, won the Beckenbach Book Prize as a distinguished, innovative book.

Dr. Chartier is a recipient of a national teaching award from the Mathematical Association of America.

In addition to teaching at the college level, he has worked with Google and Pixar on their K-12 educational initiatives.

He also received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship for his research, and has served as an expert resource for a variety of media inquiries, including appearances with Bloomberg TV, NPR, the CBS Evening News, USA Today, and The New York Times.

Dr. Chartier also serves as vice president of the Mathematical Association of America, and he served as the first chair of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of Mathematics.

Talk 1, on Friday, April 13th:  Putting a Spring in Yoda’s Step

Abstract: When the character Yoda first appeared on the silver screen, his movements were due to the efforts of famed muppeteer Frank Oz. In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Yoda returned to the movies but this time the character was not a puppet but a digital image within a computer. This talk will discuss the role, or more aptly the force, of mathematics behind a few aspects of movie special effects. Armed with differential equations, animators can create a believable flow to Yoda’s robe or a convincing digital stunt person.

Talk 2, on Saturday, April 14th:  Math MATHness

Abstract: Every March, there is a lot of madness around "Who's number one?" The Division 1 NCAA men's basketball tournament, often called March Madness, begins! Millions of brackets are created in an attempt to predict the outcomes of the tournament. Who will win round by round? In this talk, we will see how research in ranking algorithms created brackets for March Madness that beat over 90% of over 8 million brackets submitted to ESPN¹s online tournament. Have a sport you¹d like to analyze? By the end, you¹ll know how to create your own ranking method to answer "Who¹s number one?"

Upcoming Conference Speakers

Former Conference Speakers

  • 2017 Francis Su
  • 2016 Judy Walker
  • 2015 Ami Radunskaya
  • 2014 Hal Schenck
  • 2013 Annalisa Crannell (Videos: Friday's Lecture, Saturday's Lecture)
  • 2012 Kenneth Millett
  • 2011 William Dunham
  • 2010 Claudia Neuhauser
  • 2009 Joe Gallian
  • 2008 (Conference cancelled due to weather)
  • 2007 Carlos Castillo-Chavez
  • 2006 Edward Burger
  • 2005 Jennifer Quinn
  • 2004 Frank Farris
  • 2003 Colin Adams
  • 2002 David Bressoud
  • 2001 Underwood Dudley
  • 2000 Sam Patterson
  • 1999 Robert L. Devaney
  • 1998 Richard Guy
  • 1997 Ron Graham
  • 1996 Frank Morgan
  • 1995 Carl Pomerance
  • 1994 Philip Straffin
  • 1993 Thomas Banchoff
  • 1992 Judith Grabiner
  • 1991 Raymond Smullyan
  • 1990 Joan Hutchinson
  • 1989 Richard Askey
  • 1988 Sherman Stein
  • 1987 Reuben Hersh
  • 1986 Peter Hilton
  • 1985 I.N. Herstein
  • 1984 Ruth Struik
  • 1983 Joan Fisher Box, George Box
  • 1982 Alfred Willcox (in conjunction with the North Central Section Meeting)
  • 1981 Doris Schattschneider, Leonard Gillman, Don Koehler
  • 1980 Mary Ellen Rudin
  • 1979 Paul Halmos

Lectures will be geared toward a general audience