Davidson College mathematician to speak at conference

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March 29, 2018

ChartierA mathematician whose research interests have applications to data analytics, and more specifically sports analytics, is the guest speaker at the 39th annual Pi Mu Epsilon Conference April 13-14 at Saint John’s University.

Tim Chartier, professor of mathematics and computer science at Davidson (North Carolina) College, will deliver two addresses during the conference. The conference, which runs from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 14, at Peter Engel Science Center, is open to anyone, but is aimed for mathematics majors and high school students interested in the topic.

 His first talk, at 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, at Pellegrene Auditorium, is titled “Putting a Spring in Yoda’s Step.” Chartier will discuss the role (or, as he says, the force) of mathematics behind a few aspects of movie special effects.

His second talk, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 14, at Pellegrene Auditorium, is on “Math MATHness.” Chartier will discuss how research in ranking algorithms created brackets for the NCAA Division I basketball tournament (also known as March Madness), which beat over 90 percent of over 8 million brackets submitted to ESPN’s online bracket tournament.

Chartier has worked with the NBA, ESPN’s “Sport Science” series, NASCAR race teams and fantasy sports websites. He also directs and works with a team of about two dozen student researchers to provide analytics to Davidson College sports teams.

He coauthored “Numerical Methods: Design, Analysis, and Computer Implementation of Algorithms” with Anne Greenbaum, and authored “Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing,” which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Chartier also wrote “When Life is Linear: From Computer Graphics to Bracketology,” which won the Beckenbach Book Prize as a distinguished, innovative book.

Chartier received a national teaching award from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and has received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship for his research. He served as vice president of the MAA, and as the first chair of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of Mathematics.

Several College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students will present undergraduate research at the conference (as of March 29):

  • CSB junior Lydia DeMorett, on “Modeling Assortative Mating.” She worked with Tom Sibley, professor of mathematics at CSB and SJU;
  • SJU junior Jake Kirsch, on “Lebesque Integration.” He worked with Bret Benesh, associate professor of mathematics at CSB and SJU.

Pi Mu Epsilon is a national mathematics honor society with chapters across the country.