The mathematics of DNA victim identification, communicating mathematics effectively, and how to cover sustainability issues in mathematics classes were among the topics explored during a regional meeting of the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) at St. Bonaventure University.
The Fall 2011 MAA Seaway Section Meeting was held Friday, Oct. 14, and Saturday, Oct. 15, and featured four plenary presentations, including banquet speaker Jonathan Hoyle, a Macintosh software architect at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, who discussed “Forensic Mathematics and the World Trade Center Project.”
In 2001, Hoyle was a senior software engineer and mathematician at Gene Codes Forensics and was responsible for implementing the mathematical algorithms used in M-FISys (pronounced “emphasis”), the forensic software written specifically for the World Trade Center Project. The victim identification process was the largest and most complex forensic project in history.
Hoyle’s presentation described the events of 9/11 from a forensic perspective and detail the mathematics of DNA victim identification, including DNA fingerprinting, kinship analysis and other genetic applications of forensic mathematics.
Some 125 mathematics faculty, students and practitioners attended the conference, which featured more than a dozen presentations by faculty members from colleges and universities in the region as well as a number of student research projects.
In addition to Hoyle, the other plenary speakers and topics were:
- Ivars Peterson, Director of Publications and Communications at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington, D.C., who gave a presentation on “Pancake Sorting, Prefix Reversals, and DNA Rearrangements,” and the workshop “Writing Mathematics Well.”
- Tom Pfaff, associate professor of mathematics at Ithaca College, who discussed “Sustain This! Making Math Matter.”
- Dror Bar-Natan, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Toronto, who discussed “The Hardest Math I’ve Ever Really Used.”
The MAA Seaway Section consists of New York state (except for New York City and the metro area) and part of southern Ontario.
Participants from the following organizations attended the conference: Alfred University, Binghamton University, Brock University, Broome Community College, Buffalo State College, Colgate University, Eastman Kodak, Elmira College, Everest Institute, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Mathematical Association of America, Nazareth College, Niagara University, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Saint John Fisher College, SUNY College at Oneonta, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Potsdam, The College at Brockport, University of Rochester, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Utica College, Villa Maria College, and Western Carolina University.
For more information about the meeting, please follow the pertinent link.