MUMS 2012 Plenary Talks

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Midwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium

Joyati Debnath

Dr. Joyati Debnath (Winona State University)
Friday, April 13, 2012, 7:00pm
“Signals and Systems in Communication and Networks”

Abstract: What is a signal? We know that a signal can be a very abstract concept, like a flashing light on our car’s front bumper (turn signal) or a referee’s gesture in a football game.  However, in this presentation, we will be concentrating on a signal as a detectable physical quantity or impulse (as a voltage, current, or magnetic field strength) by which messages or information can be transmitted.  We will focus on two broad classes of signals, discrete-time and continuous-time.  Fortunately, continuous-time signals have a very convenient mathematical representation.  A signal can be represented as a function x(t) of an independent variable t which usually represents time.  Signals are meaningless without systems to interpret them and systems are useless without signals to process.  A system is any physical set of components that takes a signal and produces a signal.  For example, a household thermostat, which takes input in the form of a knob or a switch, and in turn outputs electrical control signals for the furnace.  There are many reasons for wanting to understand the mathematical concepts of signals and systems.  For example, one may want to design a system to remove noise in an electrocardiogram, sharpen an out-of-focus image, or remove echoes in an audio recording.  This presentation will elaborate on the concepts of signals, systems, and transforms, from their theoretical mathematical foundations to practical implementation in areas like communication and networks.

Austin Calder

Austin Calder (National Security Agency)
Saturday, April 14, 2012, 9:00am
“A Peek into the National Security Agency”

Abstract: I will introduce the NSA to you, including career fields and work roles currently available.  Then I will proceed to pose an interesting problem and show how it can be best solved with a mix of ideas from computer science and mathematics.  There should be plenty of time for questions.

Symposium Funding

Funding for MUMS 2012 is provided by NSF grant DMS-0846477 through the MAA Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences program (www.maa.org/RUMC). Additional funding is provided by the Simpson College Mathematics Department (simpson.edu/math).