Senior Capstones

Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 Capstone Research

 

Mandy Buell

When Earthquakes Hit, Buildings React:  Modeling Building Response to Earthquakes Using Differential Equations and Eigenvalues

When an earthquake hits, buildings often have some kind of displacement. In some instances the displacement may cause the building to fall down, while in other cases, the building may be unharmed. The movement of a building as a response to an earthquake can be modeled using differential equations and analyzed using eigenvalues. In this talk, we will go through an example that allows us to understand the relationship between the differential equations, eigenvalues, and movement of a building. Additionally, we will see why even a small earthquake force causes a building to take an excursion.

 

Daniel Rustico

Rank Aggregation in the 2014 College Football Season

Come to this talk to hear about rank aggregation in the 2014 Division I college football season. This talk will delve into some of the different ways to combine many ranking methods into one with the hope of creating an improved method to predict games. Using simple methods, like Follow the Leader, or more complex methods, like logistic regression analysis, this talk will show the advantages to using rank aggregation to predict football games.

 

Tyler Reckner

p-adic Analysis and the Maximum Modulus Principle

First introduced by Kurt Hensel in 1897, the p-adic number system was originally formalized as a means of extending power series into the field of number theory. Nowadays, however, the p-adics have far-reaching applications throughout mathematics, including in algebra, analysis, and classical number theory. In this talk, we will introduce the p-adic number system and explore the field of p-adic analysis. We will also compare p-adic analysis to classical analysis by offering a p-adic result analogous to the Maximum Modulus Principle - a fundamental result in classical complex analysis.

 

Christina Moore

The 2008 Financial Crisis & the Gaussian Copula: What Went Wrong?

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 is considered to be the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. Behind the story of housing bubbles, mortgage loans, and complex securities is a probability formula called the Gaussian copula.  We will explore why, mathematically, the choice to implement this particular model was a poor one. How did Wall Street believe it could really reduce correlation of hundreds of assets to just one number?

 

Ryan Matzke

Fixed and Furious: Fixed Points In Mathematics

The study of Dynamical Systems involves looking into how a system changes over time. When determining the behavior of a dynamical system, one might wonder if it has any fixed points. There are many different kinds of dynamical systems, for example: complete metric spaces with contractions, compact spaces with continuous maps, partially ordered sets with order-preserving functions, and finite sets with permutations. For different kinds of dynamical systems, we need different ways of determining if they have fixed points.

 

Erin Brady

Solving the Chip Firing Game

What is a Chip Firing Game? What does a "solution" look like and how do we find one? Come to this talk to learn how to solve Chip Firing Games and the role that the Smith Normal Form Matrix plays in helping us to reach our answer.

 

Carolina Concannon

Markov Chains and Their Criteria for Regularity

A Markov chain is a system of states with rules and probabilities for moving between any two states.  These Markov chains can be represented by a matrix, or in a more visual way in the form of a graph.  We call certain Markov chains regular if a power of their matrix makes all entries positive.  Although this is a good way to determine regularity, there are ways to determine this property more visually through looking at a chain's graph.  In this paper, we will look at possible ways a chain can be regular and some criteria for regularity by looking at the graphs of Markov chains.

 

Teresa Crist

Dismal  Arithmetic

2+4=4
28+19=29
3x8=3
In the dismal arithmetic world, all three of these statements are true. Dismal arithmetic takes us away from our usual mathematical world and into one that is nothing like what we have ever learned before. We will describe these new rules and look at how they change what we think of as square numbers and prime numbers.

 

Meghan Gerber

Hat Games

There are several recreational mathematics problems with very useful applications hidden within. One such problem is known as a hat game. In it, players are given one of two hat colors, and must work together to guess their own hat color correctly. For this talk, I will explain the connection between the hat game and covering codes, an important topic in coding theory. I will also prove the maximum win percentages for games played with fewer than 9 people.

 

Alice Mitnick

For When Life Isn't Fair: Methods in Fair Division

Fair division has many applications in the real world: from divorces and inheritance to dividing up a cake or a stash of Halloween candy. This topic has inspired many methods dating back to the 1940s. In this talk we explore these methods, specifically looking at divisions of goods that are finite, continuous, and divisible such as division of a cake. We define a method as fair if it creates partitions that are Proportional, Envy Free, and Pareto-Optimal. Using this definition, we aim to determine what method is the best depending on the amount of participants. Come listen to find out which method is the fairest of them all.

 

Kristen Olenick

Latent Semantic Indexing – Music to My Ears

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a useful technique that relies on the notion that all text documents have some underlying meaning.  The goal then, of LSI is to determine which text documents are the most similar based on their meaning.  LSI can be applied to any set of text documents, and in this case, will be applied to a data set of 150 songs from 15 various artists from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Applying LSI to this specific data set allows us to compare the set of songs solely on the meaning of the lyrics while entirely disregarding instrumentation of the songs.  In this talk, I will discuss LSI, how it works, how it can be improved as well some of my results.

 

Yiming (Liz) Sun

How to Become Rich—Understand Forecasting Asset Return

Distributional assumptions for returns on underlying assets play a key role in valuation theories for derivative securities. It is really important to forecast future asset returns, so statisticians always seek a model for asset returns which reproduces several well-documented stylized facts. I propose to model the returns with a hidden two-state Markovian regime, conditional on the value of which the returns have different distributions. Also I focus on the properties of generalized hyperbolic distributions, which can be fitted to the empirical returns with high accuracy.

 

Ziyi (Sirius) Xu

Nash Equilibria in Non-Cooperative Games

If you have watched the movie A Beautiful Mind, you should be familiar with the name John Nash. Nash Equilibrium, named after John Nash, is a fundamental concept in game theory, a field that studies strategic interactions between rational players in games using mathematical models. In this talk, I will introduce the concept of Nash Equilibrium in the context of a type of game called non-cooperative game. I will also revisit Nash's proof of the existence of Nash Equilibria in non-cooperative games assuming Brouwer's fixed point theorem.