Thursday, 07 February, 2013
SPEAKER: Dr. Amy Sczcepanski, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
TITLE: Big Data and Big Computers: Quantitative techniques for solving big problems
ABSTRACT: Technology has advanced to the point where data-driven solutions are replacing experts' hunches when it comes to decision making. The coverage of the 2012 presidential election included headlines like, "How Obama's data crunchers helped him win" (CNN, November 8), and Nate Silver is one of the most famous nerds in the country. An article in the New York Times Magazine (February 16, 2012) explains how Target extracts information from its transactions to make business decisions; grocery stores will give you a discount in exchange for tracking your data with a loyalty card. Tech companies, like Facebook and Google, use information about their users to sell ads. In the scientific realm, big data challenges appear in fields ranging from bio-informatics to astrophysics. Solving big data problems requires a clever mix of techniques from statistics, mathematics, and computer science. We will introduce the mathematics behind some of these strategies and talk about directions in the field. This talk should be accessible to any undergraduate with an interest in a quantitative field. (There may also be tangents about interesting mathematical applications to not-so-big data as well.)
Pizza will be available at 3:00.