2014 Conference Guest Speakers

How Math is Making Movies Better

Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University

What do the top 15 highest earning Hollywood movies have in common? Mathematics was used to make the movies better. Using examples from the movies, we will discuss how this is being done. Examples will include the movie “The Incredibles” in which harmonic coordinates and analysis were used to make animated characters move faster, Navier-Stokes equations being used to model water, in the movie “Brave” chaos theory and random walks were used to model curly hair, and in the movie “Frozen” calculus and discrete math were used to create realistic snow with varying properties.

Shape Modeling with Industry and Undergraduates

Kathryn Leonard, California State University – Channel Islands

Have you ever wondered why you can’t buy a robot to do your dishes? The main reason is that automated object recognition is incredibly challenging—the robot might wash your cat instead of your plates. This talk explores shape modeling, which is one formulation of the object recognition problem. We focus on a particular category of shape models, skeletal models, that represent an object as a collection of connected branches of curves and associated scalar function or functions. We will demonstrate how theoretical results relate to a collection of applied projects involving students and industrial/government partners, and discuss some benefits and challenges of collaborating with non-academic entities.

What’s the Best Major for Getting a Job? Do the Math!

Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University

Have you ever been asked “What can you do with a degree in math?”  Besides teaching, many people are clueless on what you can do with strong math skills. In this talk, we will talk about some of the exciting things mathematicians in business, industry, and government are doing in their careers and how these things are changing the world. And we will reveal the four things that recruiters say every math student should do to get a job.