By the Numb3rs Spring 2018 - Events


Edmund R. Michalik Distinguished Lecture

Thanks to the generosity of the Michalik family and in honor of Edmund R. Michalik, the Department of Mathematics this semester brought Professor Martin Nowak to Pitt for two exciting events that provided a mathematical connection with Pitt's "Year of the Healthy U" theme. Nowak is a Professor of Mathematics and Biology and the Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University. He is a world expert on evolutionary game theory (e.g, including the evolution of cooperation and other altruistic-seeming behaviors), population structures, cancer dynamics and treatment, and a range of other topics.  He has written several hundred articles and has published books on virology, evolutionary dynamics, and cooperation.

On Wednesday, March 21st, Dr. Nowak was joined by Dr. Gilles Clermont (Pitt Critical Care Medicine and long-time collaborator of several current Pitt Mathematics faculty), Public Health PanelDr. David Galloway (Pitt Public Health Dynamics Lab), and Dr. Wilbert Van Panhuis (Pitt Epidemiology/Biomedical Informatics) for a panel on "Computational Methods for Fostering a Healthy Community". This event was organized by the Department of Mathematics and was moderated by Dean Donald Burke from Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health.  The panelists discussed mathematical modeling of the complex interacting feedback loops associated with the immune response, the use of the FRED (A Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics) agent-based modeling system to predict geographic spread of disease outbreaks, the Project Tycho open-access global database of disease-related information, and how mathematical analysis of cancer as an evolving system can be used optimize cancer treatments. They also took questions from an audience eager to understand how mathematics and data can combine to revolutionize how we study and improve community health.

Martin NowakOn Thursday, May 22nd, Dr. Nowak gave the Edmund R. Michalik Distinguished Lecture on "Evolutionary Dynamics".  Nowak outlined principles of evolution, listing familiar ones such as mutation and selection but also proposing that cooperation belongs on the list as well.  He discussed how mathematical frameworks, such as Moran or birth-death processes, graph theory, and evolutionary game theory (related to the methods applied in economics by famed mathematician John Nash), can be used to study the selection process.  In particular, his mathematical analysis illustrated how certain patterns of interactions among individuals can allow a population to gain maximal advantage from cooperation.  The lecture was well attended, with faculty and students both well represented in the audience, and led to interesting discussions about language, artificial intelligence, and, of course, the role of mathematics in understanding the living world.

-Prof. Jonathan Rubin, Department Chair

Upcoming Events

From the Fundamental Lemma to Discrete Geometry, to Formal Verification:
A conference in honour of Thomas C. Hales on the occasion of his 60th birthday
June 18-22, 2018 More>

Undergraduate Graduation Breakfast
Graduating Math Majors and three guests are cordially invited to attend the Department of Mathematics Graduation Breakfast.

The reception will be held in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room located at 3959 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 on Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.  A buffet breakfast will be served.  There will be a short awards ceremony beginning at 10:00 a.m.