News

Emory REU student named a 2012 Marshall Scholar
Published: 11/22/2011
Alex Carney, a participant in Professor Ono's 2011 Emory NSF Research Experience in Number Theory, has been named a George C. Marshall Scholar. Alex, a senior at the University of Michigan will use the scholarship for his graduate studies at Cambridge University. Alex, together with Emory students Anastassia Etropolski and Sarah Pitman, wrote a paper in number theory which has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Number Theory. Professor Ono will be running an REU in 2012. For more information, see http://www.mathcs.emory.edu/~ono/REUs/
Emory's Robotics Club is in full motion.
Published: 11/17/2011
The Emory Robotics and Computer Engineering Club (eRACE) is an undergraduate organization at Emory University that provides students with the knowledge, skills, and resources to develop their own robots. The club's mission is simply to bring engineering to Emory through robotics and encourage learning beyond the classroom. Far from exclusive, the organization has brought together students from a breadth of disciplines including business, chemistry, math, english, and of course, computer science.

Led by senior CS major Brandon Lock, the club has organized a series of tutorials designed to allow any student to participate in the club. During the Fall 2011 semester, the club has hosted events ranging from building cardboard robotic arms capable of picking up weighted bottles to creating squishy circuits from home-made, conductive play dough to programming Arduino microcontrollers, the widely used electronics prototyping platform. Throughout these events, club members build skills in mechanical principles and structures, basic electronics, and computer programming.

In the upcoming spring 2012 semester, the club plans to continue their activities by building a variety of robotic and engineering projects designed, planned, and implemented by team members. Unlike other robotics clubs that are restricted by strict plans and guidelines, eRACE is free to create anything its members desire.

Meetings are open to all students regardless of major or skill level. Contact Brandon Lock at block [@] emory.edu or follow the club on Facebook.
Emory Mathematics Fellows search now underway.
Published: 10/27/2011
The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science seeks outstanding recent PhD graduates in Mathematics, for term appointments as Emory Fellows. These postdoctoral fellowships combine substantial independence with wide-ranging opportunities for professional development, and provide generous resources. Emory Fellowships are a central part of the department’s plan to enhance excellence at all levels. Fellows will have the chance to pursue research in conjunction with senior faculty members and graduate students, and will teach both undergraduate and graduate courses. Salaries are highly competitive. Fellows will also have access to research funds for travel, equipment and other expenses. Appointments are term-limited with an expected duration of two to three years, and are subject to final funding approval. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the department will consider candidates who specialize in an area of mathematics that is a focus of research within the department. More information on research emphases in the department can be found here.

We invite applications from outstanding junior scholars. Candidates must have (or soon receive) a PhD in a relevant discipline, demonstrate promise of exceptional research ability, and have a commitment to excellence in teaching. Applications consisting of a cover letter, CV, research and teaching statements, and three recommendation letters directly from recommenders should be submitted via mathjobs.org. In addition, applicants must specify a potential mentor and/or research group within the department. Women and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply. Informal inquiries are also invited by email: fellows_search@mathcs.emory.edu .

Screening begins January 1, 2012 and will continue until the positions are filled.

Emory University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes applications from women and members of minority groups.
Aaron Abrams and Skip Garibaldi have received the 2011 Lester R. Ford Award from the Mathematical Association of America
Published: 08/29/2011
Aaron Abrams and Skip Garibaldi, “Finding Good Bets in the Lottery, and Why You Shouldn’t Take Them”, American Mathematical Monthly, 117 (2010), no. 1, 3-26.

Lottery operators make money – lots of it apparently – so on average, players must lose money. But does this apply to rolling jackpots, where winnings can reach staggering amounts? (Rolling jackpots are those games in which prize money is rolled over from one game to the next when no one wins the jackpot.) Does there come a time when playing such a lottery makes a good bet? If so, when is that? And does that make playing a good investment?

After constructing a model of a rolling jackpot lottery, the authors of this paper consider these questions. They develop an analysis of rate of return, from which they draw their conclusions regarding bets. Two outstanding features of this work are the incorporation of concrete lotteries as examples and the mathematics (mostly elementary calculus) and statistics used. They do not end their analysis at bets however, but go on to explore the less familiar (to most readers) territory of investments. This necessitates considering risk. And so, economics and subsequently linear algebra get involved. This supports their conclusion that lotteries will almost never be good investments.

The subject matter, the mathematics used, the examples, and the conclusions, but especially the presentation of the material, all combine to make “Finding Good Bets” an exceptional article.

Pictured: Skip Garibaldi (right) receives the award from MAA President Paul Zorn.

This award-winning article can be read here without subscription.
ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) “Best Paper” Award
Published: 08/08/2011
This year's ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) annual conference best paper award was presented to Mikhail Ageev (Moscow State University), and Qi Guo, Dmitry Lagun, and Eugene Agichtein (Emory University), for their paper "Find It If You Can: A Game for Modeling Different Types of Web Search Success Using Interaction Data". The paper, written while Mikhail was visiting the IR Lab at Emory, proposes a principled formalization of different types of success for informational search, and it presents a scalable game-like infrastructure for crowdsourcing search behavior studies. The SIGIR annual conference is the premier conference in information retrieval. This year, the rate of acceptance for submitted papers was 19.8%. More details on the conference and award can be found on the SIGIR website:

http://www.sigir.org/awards/awards.html