Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MAGIC Postgraduate Student Conference 2009

Shamelessly copied from their website, I bring to your attention a conference that will be taking place at The University of Manchester, from Monday 12th January 09 to Wednesday 14th January 09. Hurry up and register if you're interested in attending! If you're an undergraduate student, there are a limited amount of places for you (and you don't have to pay anything), but send an email to the organisers first. I should hopefully be attending on some of the days (as the conference is the week before the exams- AAHHHHHHH!) Well there are certain lectures which I'm interested in you see. Anyway - please don't scare me if you're going to attend! ;)

"The MAGIC Postgraduate Student Conference 2009 will be held in the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester from Monday 12th January to Wednesday 14th January 2009. We welcome participation from all sources, but especially encourage mathematics postgraduate students at universities in the MAGIC group to register for this event. We gratefully acknowledge the support of MAGIC for this event.

Registration is free for postgraduate students at universities within the MAGIC group and we can offer a number of subsidised hotel rooms for the duration of the conference. These will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but with preference given to those presenting their work at the conference. A further reduced rate for accommodation can be offered if attendees are willing to share one of a limited number of twin rooms.

The deadline for abstract submission, early registration and reservation of subsidised accommodation is 1st December 2008 . Late registration will incur an additional fee and we may not be able to provide accommodation for late registrants.

The conference will be followed by the LMS Northern Regional Meeting 2009 and students attending the MAGIC conference are encouraged to stay on for this meeting (full details to follow).

The conference is organised by graduate students (and graduate students at heart) for graduate students and offers research students from all areas of mathematics the opportunity to:

  • present their research
  • meet others in their field
  • share experiences
  • learn new ideas.

The conference has four over-arching themes which draw together ideas from a wide range of mathematical topics; and for each theme, a plenary lecture will be given by a leading academic. Every participant is encouraged to present their work by giving a short talk or poster presentation relating to one of the themes:

  • Groups, graphs and networks,
    Plenary: Professor Norman Biggs (LSE);
  • Spaces, flows and geometries,
    Plenary: Professor Robert MacKay (Warwick);
  • Species, models and markets
    Plenary: Professor Peter Diggle (Lancaster);
  • Complexity, algorithms and methods,
    Plenary: Professor Alex Wilkie (Manchester).

The event also includes three special lectures on the topics of 'The philosophy of mathematics', 'Mathematics in industry' and 'Uncertain Reasoning' given by Professor Alexandre Borovik (Manchester), Professor Chris Budd (Bath) and Professor Jeff Paris (Manchester), respectively.

Further details of the programme (titles, abstract etc.) and registration details to follow.

For more information contact us at: magic at maths.manchester.ac.uk

Sunday, November 23, 2008


A few weeks ago I mentioned how a massive change was going to occur in my life. This change was inevitably going to unbalance me, as I tried to readjust myself and make accommodations. The change was a positive change and I am not "unhappy" by it. Alas though, this good change has perhaps inversely affected my mathematics.

Yes - I study Mathematics at University, but I don't really study it. I go to lectures, copy the notes and then do nothing. When it came to doing the coursework during reading week, I just did the questions which I could and didn't really make an effort to attempt those that were more challenging. That's not a very good thing (obviously) for the one reason as to why I enjoy studying mathematics, is that I enjoy grinding out the difficult questions (unsuccessfully on most occasions).

Worryingly for me, I have six heavy and hard modules this semester, and each in it's own special way is stabbing me all over. I can't think positively about any one module, namely because I haven't been working at them. Topology is my worst though, and then I can't decide between Applied Complex and group theory. The weird thing is that the content of these modules fascinates me. It's at this level that you see how things in mathematics are connected , but it's also at this level where the difficulty suddenly rises!

The third year is bloody hard in my opinion, but of course I would have been singing to a different tune, had the Galois Group (TGG) not existed! I'm torn now, between two things - my "love" for studying Maths, and for continuing to work hard for TGG. I have decided that it is impossible for me to ensure that my I am successful with my maths and TGG. Just impossible. I am a very poorly organised person, but even so, one thing has to always give way; which seems to be my mathematics since I started everything.

Having seen the depth of mathematics in my third year, I am convinced that a fourth year is for me. However the "changes" I spoke of above, may now influence my decision. It is my decision to make but I have to think whether it is the "best" decision to make at this moment in my life. Dr. E certainly wants me to do four years, as do a few other people, but the other question mark is the money. I now have £120 to last me until my next loan installment comes through (which is January some time!). I thankfully don't have to worry about non-trivial costs like rent etc. but I hope that people who owe me money pay some back by the end of term! I am going to borrow £100 of Po as I need it for my driving, but Po and myself have an understanding. (Yes - I'm still "learning to drive". When Prof. S finds out I'm a dead duck... :D).

When I said money I actually meant my student loan. I hate the amount the interest on my loan adds up to, and so does Pops! (Annual statement came through the post some time ago...). I am thinking that I will have to work double-time next summer, and also ask my dad to pay my tuition fees for me (INTEREST FREE!!) which I will pay him back as soon as possible. Alas, if only I had some rich relative who liked only me from my whole family, (or liked Mathematics!) so they would fund my education/{wasting my life - according to some}. I understand that the loan will be paid back as I work full time (in the future), but I hate such horrible numbers hanging over my head like a prison sentence.

Onto more less pleasant things... Well actually the only depressing things at the moment are how critically I have fallen behind in my studies, and my bank balance! Everything else is quite okay...

The Galois Group's previous two lectures went very well, and the next one is on Wednesday 3rd December by Dr. E (more details to follow). I wished for a twin during lunch the other day - or a "clone" as I was corrected by a Tweenie. One of me would study and sit the exams whilst the other would work on TGG full-time. However, both of these copies of "me" would have a shared conscience (???), so both would understand the maths and what's happening with TGG. Sounds like a great plan right? Well I'm enjoying the wonders of such an impossibility in my head if any one's asking, so I know that it's great! (I'm obviously not mentioning the problems of such a wonder... ).

Anyway - I have to run now as I am tutoring for two hours. One hour GCSE Maths and the other hour C3. Why do I tutor when I cannot afford the time to do so, i.e. the time which should be spent on my own studies? Well honestly speaking, this weekend I was going to cancel the lessons but then I realised that I need the money for my driving lesson next week so I had to lethargically plan the lessons... Pft.

I'm alive though, if anyone was concerned. Sadly the "changes" have meant less Internet access for me, and I must confess that I am particularly pleased at how easily I have slipped away from my laptop. (No blogging has also meant no maths if you follow me!) This week has flown and so has the weekend. Next week is the Postgraduate open day at the Maths department, and I do have a funny story to tell you about that one day.... I might attend it though, to keep a few people happy!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two Student Lectures by The Galois Group (Wed. 12th November)

Dear All,

The Galois Group returns with another set of general audience lectures, but on this occasion you will be presented with two lectures given by undergraduate students. Please show support to your fellow classmates and attend on Wednesday 12th November at 1:10-2pm in room G.207 (Alan Turing Building).


Wednesday 12th November 2008 at 1:10-2pm
Alan Turing Building, room G207

Student 1 - Bootstrapping - Not just securing your footwear!
Ever needed more data than you were able to collect? Ever needed to solidify some statistics or create confidence intervals with a small sample size? Then bootstrapping your sample could be a very useful solution!

Third-Year student ____ gives a basic introduction to this simple, but powerful Monte Carlo sampling method, along with some real-life applications and worked examples!


Student 2 - Building a machine that makes money!
Student 2 is going to talk about a machine that beats the stock market! He will try to explain the concept of financial modelling and also touch on topics such as money, ethics of financial markets, genetical algorithms and MatLab.

There will be discussion of the theory behind making this machine along with some of the issues he encountered while working on the project.

In the end you should get some interesting ideas about money and our society with recommended articles for further reading.


The lectures are open to everyone, and registration is not required. Please do come along, for apart from an interesting lecture you will also have some refreshments to chomp on afterwards!

For further information or any queries please feel free to contact Dr. M.D Coleman or myself.

See you all there!

Kind Regards, Me

Monday, November 03, 2008

To New Beginnings

I haven't posted in a while I know, but there is a very good reason behind this. You see last week a lot happened which I was busy burying in my little closet and which I didn't want to blog about. Non-mathematical stuff obviously, but I knew that if I was to post anything then I would write "there's something that I don't want to write about" and then end up writing that "something"!

Indeed I have wondered, had my non-mathematical life been less chaotic would I have done a better job at mastering my mathematical life?! As it stands, both aspects of my life look quite messed up to me! Since the end of my first year at University, things went slightly pear shaped. They weren't pear shaped all the time, but there were times when I was like a lost sheep looking for guidance. I got misguided along the way, but eventually I got myself to today.

Today. Today. Today.

I wish I could say that from today my non-mathematical life will no longer be as pear-shaped as it is, but sadly I can't. Reassure myself I do, and constantly trying to think positive I am, but it is senseless to predict the pattern of such things. Instead I hope that I am able to cope with change. That I am able to keep the promises that I once made. And most importantly I hope that my mathematical life will have some stability! (Well not initially of course, but in the long run...).

Yes - I talk a lot of rubbish (again), but this post is for me. It is to tell me that I'm no longer me any more, but I am me. I just have to make sure that this doesn't change.

Time has started to move unbelievably fast and I know how apprehension can leave me for contentment. That is the main thing I hope that will follow from today. I have hope - does that make me optimistic? I think that hope gives us consolation that anything is possible - especially our dreams - which is enough for me at this moment.

Do we ever expect ourselves to be standing at the place where we are standing? Did I ever expect myself to be in this situation in life? Yes, I think I did, but we imagine ourselves very differently in them situations you see. For example, I imagine myself to hopefully one day graduate, but one can't ever imagine that day in itself (if you follow me!).

An part of me is actually quite excited. Namely because the challenges that lie ahead and the possibilities that face me in life. Also not knowing about tomorrow excites me. By tomorrow I mean my life after today.

Enough of that non-mathematical life of mine. Sadly one does exist (!) but hopefully the testy waters ahead will prove to be a tonic for me. My mathematical life is sadly quite dull at the moment, for due to my worries I have honestly let it go completely for a week. I was in a chemical reaction last week, where the reactants were yet to be used up. Today that reaction is complete and the previous worry has all been used up. I like how that sounds!

The Galois Group proved to the best tonic last week as it did last year, for busying myself with it allows me to forget a lot of things. The posters you will find are not stuck up as one had envisaged. Perhaps I shouldn't have boldly stated that I will show the department how things are done! (Egg on my face time....). On Thursday I had sent the necessary email to get the printing done, and after the Measure Theory lecture (and after "cheekily" grabbing tea from the open day stall) I had gone to see if the printing had been done. I was informed by Dr. C that he had no posters for me, upon which I actually didn't get "mad" for a change! (Hey - I'm calming down now... it is my third year after all!)

Come Friday though, before my first lecture of the day, I found to my dismay that the posters still hadn't been printed - this time by Dr. P himself. I pleaded with him to have them done by today, as I would stick them up after my imminent lecture but he informed me that I could now print them myself in the Brian Hartley room. I didn't know how to take this news, but I carried on pleading with him to print this batch for me as time was an issue here. Getting affirmation (I suppose) I legged it to my lecture but not before telling Dr. C that he will be getting some posters soon. After my lecture I had made sure to eat my lunch, which was a lucky thing indeed as when I had gone to see Dr. C, no posters had greeted me.

Now this is when my calm nearly went out of the window: "People are busy you know." I was told, "Well I'm busy as well, and I sent the email on Thursday". "But we do have a lot of other things to do." "So do I, but that doesn't mean that you ensure that I always have more to do!" Ah-- doesn't it feel great to sometimes put your "three year old head" on and have a tantrum. Dr. C was not amused though and told me to ask Dr. P but he obviously was not to be found! (This is a ploy I tell you...).

Huffing and puffing I left a bemused Dr. C to his work and trudged to the Brain Hartley (BH) room. I crossed the atrium bridge too and this time I didn't care the slightest! Installing the printers on your user account is a messy process and it took me quite a while to figure out how to do it. (The system on the computers in the BH room is different to the ones in the cluster, although not too different). I managed to print a grand total of two posters before my next lecture, but it was a start I suppose!

At the end of the day I managed to print about 13 posters in total. How you ask? Well I think the stupid printer is configured to only let me print one copy of the document at a time! Next time I'm going to see if PG is around instead... . Humbug! I should be going into University on Wednesday to print and stick the remaining posters, which leads us to the next problem. The mailing lists are down at the moment so I can't send annoying emails to students reminding them about the lecture next Wednesday!

Last year I didn't face these problems as the first lecture happened to be in week 8 (7?) after reading week, and not before. The mailing lists are always scheduled to go down so they can be updated. I have managed to get an email to first and second years (TLO!) but they can't send it to third years.

Didn't I tell you that TGG is quite good for making you forget a lot of things! One wonders how one remembers to breathe at times... \lame (don't kill me!)

Okay - that's enough from me. I'm tired now but I will have to say that not having the Internet available at all times is quite the nuisance (if not quite cool). I better get used to it I suppose, which means posts in word pad posted whenever possible!

PS: On Saturday I went for a long local walk and decided to take Po with me. What possessed me to do this I don't know, but Po's company made up for his ability to walk! It was a good day but I'm going to try and "not" take Po next time (and from this Saturday I don't think that's going to be too hard a thing to do!) Po doesn't walk "consistently" and I hated how Po deliberately walked backwards to annoy me. The weekend has been non-mathematical and mightily busy. The next few days are going to follow suit and I worry about getting the chance to do any proper maths.