Math Kitchen Parties 2020

The Summer Talk Series: Math Kitchen Parties 2020 is held on Thursday evenings,  8pm – 9pm  Atlantic time, beginning June 18.

The Summer Series is hoped to be a light, informal way to give a snapshot of what some of our Atlantic neighbours are working on, and to provide an opportunity to connect with each other.

To keep it light, and to encourage “drop-ins”, short talks  (say, 15 min or less) are encouraged, but are of course not mandatory.  

Added twist: There is also encouragement for  “musical guest(s)” for each evening, someone willing to spread some joy by sharing a tune. Moreover, as a summer, home-based, evening event, everyone is free to enjoy a beverage of choice while attending!

Call for session organizers: We invite members of the AARMS community to Chair/Organise an evening, which involves Chairing the session, and arrange the speakers. Available dates appear listed below with a “TBA” designation, and can be requested by emailing Tim Alderson (

Session 1, June 18, 2020

Organizer: T. Alderson (UNBSJ)
Danny Dyer (MUN), Pokemon in the City.

{\textbf{Abstract:}} When playing Pokemon Go, trying to catch all the Pokemon in a big, grid like city is difficult, but can be discussed in terms of the watchman number of grid graphs. We present some bounds for these graphs, and argue that is better to play Pokemon Go on a toroidal space station. Gotta catch ‘em all!
Joint work with Jared Howell, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University.

M.E. Messenger (Mt. A.), Passing the buck: a chip firing game

{\textbf{Abstract:}} Suppose a group of people sitting in a row, each take out their wallets and count their money.  Then the richest person (or people), pass a dollar to their neighbours.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  We will discuss some of the dynamics of such a process and present a few results.  We’ll also pose some questions and welcome solutions from the audience.  This is joint work with Jared Howell, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University.

Musical Guest(s): Jason Brown (Dal), Iain Beaton (Dal)

Session 2, June 25, 2020

Organizer: Patrick Reynolds (UNB)

Danielle Cox, (MSVU), Source Sink Diffusion

{\textbf{Abstract:}} We will introduce the diffusion process on graphs with the addition of sources and sinks. In particular, we will provide some results regarding the periodicity of the process. This is joint work with Todd Mullen (Dalhousie University), Shayne Breen (MSVU),  Emily Wright (MSVU) and Jesse Preston (MSVU).

Tara Taylor (StFX), More Fun with the Sierpinski Relatives

{\textbf{Abstract:}} The Sierpinski gasket is a well-known fractal that can be described as the attractor of an iterated function system (IFS) that maps the unit square to three smaller squares (scaled down by 2).  A Sierpinski relative is a fractal that is an attractor of an IFS that maps the unit square to three smaller squares but also involves the symmetries of the square.  This is an interesting class of fractals because they all have the same fractal dimension but different topologies.  Some are totally disconnected, some are disconnected with straight line segments, some are simply-connected, and some are multiply-connected.  This very brief talk will explore different ways to compare and characterize the fractals that go beyond the fractal dimension.  We will focus on the subclass that are disconnected with straight line segments, and this will involve convex hulls and epsilon-hulls.

Musical Guest(s): Patrick Reynolds (UNB)

Session 3, July 2, 2020

Organizer: Branimir Ćaćić (UNB)

Andrea Burgess (UNBSJ), The Oberwolfach Problem

{\textbf{Abstract:}} The Oberwolfach \bf Problem was posed by Ringel as a seating problem: n people attend a conference in Oberwolfach, where the dining room has round tables of sizes k_1, k_2, \ldots, k_t (with k_1 + \cdots + k_t = n). Is it possible to devise a seating plan over successive dinners in which each person sits next to each other person exactly once? In graph-theoretical terms, the Oberwolfach Problem asks whether, given a 2-factor F of order n, the complete graph K_n can be decomposed into copies of F. In this talk, we present solutions of the Oberwolfach Problem obtained via graceful labellings.
This is joint work with Peter Danziger (Ryerson) and Tommaso Traetta (Brescia).

Stijn De Baerdemacker, (UNB), The Unitary Birkhoff-von Neumann Theorem

{\textbf{Abstract:}} Birkhoff has shown that the doubly stochastic matrices can be written as a weighted sum over the permutation matrices of the same dimension. I will show that a similar theorem holds for unitary matrices with equal linesum, and talk about applications in quantum computing.

Musical Guest(s): TBA

Session 4, July 9, 2020

Organizer: Daniele Turchetti (Dal)

Jason Brown (Dal), Getting Back to Your Roots

{\textbf{Abstract:}} Polynomials arise in various combinatorial settings, and their roots are of interest for both applied and theoretical reasons. In this talk I’ll provide a few examples, and show how exploring the nature and location of the roots can connect us back to giants of the past, such as Newton, Gauss, Hermite and Julia.

Suresh Eswarathasan (Dal) , Number Theory in Quantum Mechanics

{\textbf{Abstract:}} In this lecture, I will discuss some concrete connections between two seemingly disparate fields: number theory and quantum mechanics.  The first 10 minutes will be spent giving some “standard” facts in these disciplines before spending the last 10 minutes on the implications of the Sum of Two Squares Theorem (or rather, its refinements) on certain quantum waves.

Musical Guest(s): Dorette Pronk

Session 5, July 16, 2020

Organizer: Danielle Cox (MSVU)


Gary Sneddon (MSVU), Modelling correlated count data-can I delete the zeroes?

{\textbf{Abstract:}} Correlated count data with excess zeroes arise in a number of applications. We will discuss 3 motivating examples, and some approaches to modelling these type of data. Covid-19 may be mentioned, so be prepared. This is joint work with Tariqul Hasan and Renjun Ma of UNB (Fredericton).

Karyn McLellan (MSVU) , The Shooter’s Hill Decorative Tiles: Combinatorics as Art

{\textbf{Abstract:}} This talk will explore some of the art and mathematics inspired by a mistakenly (?) placed stone tile on a terraced house in London. A set of 70 Truchet-type tiles are the building blocks for various art pieces, including an inkle loom weaving. In particular, we are interested in whether or not we can weave an overlapping strip containing all 70 tiles exactly once, and if so, how many such strips exist. Other combinatorial properties of the tiles are examined as well. Joint work with Eva Knoll(UQAM) and Danielle Cox (MSVU).

Musical Guest(s): Sean & Tessa Sneddon, and Bill Kidney (MSVU) .

Session 6, July 23, 2020

Organizers: Asmita Sodhi (Dal), and Rebecca McKay (UNBSJ)


Rebecca McKay, (UNBSJ), Tips and Tricks for Online Teaching

{\textbf{Abstract:}} Many of us will be teaching with some online component in Fall 2020. In this brief talk, I will outline some tips and tricks for moving mathematics and statistics course activities into the virtual environment.

Open Discussion Session: 8:30-8:50

Session 7, August 6, 2020

Organizer : Connie Stewart (UNBSJ)


Youtian Hao (UNBF), Hierarchical linear model with power law function on transmission of COVID-19 in Italy: Modelling and regression analysis

{\textbf{Abstract:}} COVID-19 growth data were typically collected from each region of a country, and the transmission rate usually varies in different area. By adopting a power law with exponential cutoff function into hierarchical linear model, it becomes possible to reveal the relationship between COVID-19 transmission rate and some regional level covariates of interest. A two-level hierarchical linear model is constructed, where the first level includes a PLEC function with Poisson link, and the second level incorporates parameters from level-one with regional level covariates. Modelling and regression analysis approach is implemented based on the model with Italian COVID-19 transmission data

Hugh Chipman (Acadia), Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

{\textbf{Abstract:}} Many scientific studies declare a “statistically significant” result but then can’t be replicated. What’s going on? Can we no longer trust statistics? Is this the end of the world as we know it?

Musical Guest(s): Michele Millar (MSVU), Augusto Suarez Garcia (UNBSJ)