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Department of Mathematics
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London School of Economics
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Research Seminars and Meetings

The Mathematics Department organises regular research seminars in the following areas:

Forthcoming events:

The Summer Term 2017 seminar series has ended.  Please do check back for news on our 2017-18 seminar series.

Recent major events:

Public Lecture: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy 3 July 2017
Speaker: Dr Cathy O'Neil
Venue: Hong Kong Thetare, Clement House, LSE

cathy-oneil-profileCathy O'Neil is a data scientist and author of the blog She earned a PhD in mathematics from Harvard and taught at Barnard College before moving to the private sector, where she worked for the hedge fund D. E. Shaw. She then worked as a data scientist at various start-ups, building models that predict people's purchases and clicks. O'Neil started the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia and is the author of Doing Data Science. She appears weekly on the Slate Money podcast.

Tracing the arc of a person's life, Cathy O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives.

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - whether we get a job or a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination, creating a toxic cocktail for democracy.

The event will be chaired by Professor Martin Anthony (@MartinHGAnthony), Professor of Mathematics and Head of Department of Mathematics at LSE.

This event is hosted by the Department of Mathematics, in conjunction with SEDS, an interdisciplinary research unit established to foster the study of data science and new forms of data with a focus on its social, economic, and political aspects.

Entry to the event is on a first come, first served basis with no ticket required. Further details are available here.

Topological Dynamics, Functional Equations, Infinite Combinatorics and Probability Conference - 12 - 14 June 2017

aocirclesThe conference’s linking theme of Probability takes the wider `topological group and related structures’ context (such as hypergroups – an established tool in the analysis of random walks): thereby stepping beyond the established topological vector spaces context. In the latter, SW emerges both in the regular variation of measures and in the subspaces of differentiability of measures (as in the Cameron-Martin spaces of Gaussian measures).

Earlier topological-group analysis of SW due to Solecki recognizes local forms of amenability and combinatorial features as either enabling SW or blocking it when negligibility is expressed via Christensen’s Haar-nullity (i.e. in the absence of Haar measures).  There are alternative combinatorial versions and density versions, some of them enunciated in the infinite combinatorics of the \beta N context.  There is new work in all these areas to review and absorb.

Two One-Day Colloquia in Combinatorics - 10 & 11 May 2017
The 2017 Colloquia in Combinatorics took place on 10-11 May, jointly hosted by the LSE Mathematics Department and Queen Mary, University of London. This annual event offers the opportunity to hear talks by both prominent and promising mathematicians from the UK and abroad, on a variety of topics within the broad field of combinatorics and related areas.

Organisers: Julia Böttcher and Jozef Skokan (LSE); Mark Jerrum and Robert Johnson (QMUL)

Public Lecture: The response of Cambridge mathematicians to the First World War - 9 March 2017
Speaker: Professor June Barrow-Green

Professor June Barrow-Green is Professor of History of Mathematics at the Open University.  She is also Visiting Professor of Mathematics at the London School of Economics.  In this lecture, Professor Barrow-Green considered how Cambridge mathematicians responded to the First World War in a variety of ways.  There were those who volunteered their mathematical skills for work at establishments such as the Royal Aircraft Factory, the National Physical Laboratory, or the Anti-Aircraft Experimental Section of the Ministry of Munitions, those who followed a military path, and those who, for reasons of conscience, refused to take an active part in the War. Professor Barrow-Green discussed the war-time activities of Cambridge mathematicians and examined the impact of the War on their careers as well as on mathematics itself.

The event was chaired by Professor Martin Anthony (@MartinHGAnthony), Professor of Mathematics and Head of Department of Mathematics at LSE.

A video and podcast of this lecture are available here.

@LSE Maths Public Lectures at The Alan Turing Institute - 12-16 December 2016

The Discrete Mathematics team hosted a workshop on open problems to contribute to a better understanding of the general area of large-scale structures in random graphs.  The majority of the workshop was by invitation only but two Public Lectures were open to all:

  • Robert Morris (IMPA) - The sharp threshold for making squares
  • Stefanie Gerke (RHUL) - Matchings in random bipartite graphs

Past major events:

Public Lectures: Prof June Barrow-Green - March 2017, Prof H. Peyton Young - March 2016, Prof Robin Wilson - January 2016, Prof Frank Wilczek - July 2015
Two One-Day Colloquia in Combinatorics:
2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 20092008 & 2007 
ESRC Game Theory Workshop: October 2013, February 2013, 2011
Conference on Search Games and Rendezvous: 2012, 2010
KnKx Conference on Infinite Combinatorics: 2012