**John
B. Little**, College of the Holy Cross

*Counting the number of solutions of a system of
polynomial equations*

Many problems in pure and applied mathematics lead to the basic problem
of solving systems of polynomial equations with real or complex coefficients in several variables. The situation where the set of complex solutions
is finite is fundamental and we will focus on that. While iterative numerical methods (for instance, the multivariable Newton's Method)
are usually effective for approximating individual solutions, they give no direct information about how many solutions a system actually has.
Using them, it is sometimes difficult to know when to stop looking for new solutions!

Other, more algebraic, techniques for determining (or bounding) the total
number of solutions have been much studied. In this talk, we will discuss some of these ideas, starting with the most basic result of this type -- the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, and its generalization to the classical Bezout theorem. We will then turn to some quite recent work
and show how a more refined estimate, called the BKK bound, comes from the combinatorics of the particular "shape" of the terms in the polynomials
(encoded via the so-called Newton polytopes).

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**Lisa
Fauci**, Tulane University

**Biological fluid dynamics - successes and
challenges **

Problems in biological fluid
dynamics typically involve the interaction of an elastic structure with the
surrounding fluid. Examples of these coupled fluid-structure systems
include blood flow in the heart, air flow through the lungs, and sperm
motility in the reproductive tract. These biological processes can each
be described by a system of time-dependent, coupled, nonlinear partial
differential equations. While the explicit solution of these
complex equations is impossible, scientists are making progress in
understanding these systems using computational methods.

In this talk, we will present an
overview of biological fluid dynamics, and discuss the interdisciplinary
nature of the research in this field. We will focus on the
examples of ciliary and flagellar beating in microorganisms, as well as the
swimming of nematodes and leeches.

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**Reinhard
Laubenbacher**, New Mexico State University

**Oh what a tangled web we weave: The age of
networks**

An important paradigm of science at the beginning of the
twenty-first century is the view of our social, physical, and technological world as an interconnected collection of networks.
It is important to understand these networks as a whole rather than as a collection of their parts. For instance,
the World Wide Web is more than just a collection of linked web sites; it takes on a life of its own that cannot be explained
through the functioning of its parts. Modern genetics has taught us that the processes in our body are controlled by a
network of genes acting together. Computers perform vast calculations by distributing the task over a network of processors that work together
as a team.

This talk will describe several such networks, analysis methods, and
scientific challenges we are facing in understanding the networked world around (and inside) us.

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**Rosa
C. Orellana**, Dartmouth College

**On Hecke algebras**

The Hecke algebras of type *A*
arise naturally in the study of knot theory, quantum groups, and Von Neumann
algebras. Their relation to the symmetric and braid groups allows for their
study using combinatorics and low dimensional topology.

In this talk I will give an
introduction to Hecke algebras of type *A* and *B* and show their
relation to the symmetric group and the braid group (this groups will be
defined in this talk).

I will also construct a beautiful
homomorphism from a specialization of the Hecke algebra of type *B* onto
a reduced Hecke algebra of type *A*. This homomorphism has proven
to be an useful tool to reduce questions about the Hecke algebra of type *B*
To the Hecke algebra of type *A*. If time permits, I will give
applications of this homomorphism.

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**Irena
Swanson**, New Mexico State University

**Mayr-Meyer ideals**

Grete Hermann proved in 1926 that
for any ideal *I *in an *n*-dimensional polynomial ring over the
field of rational numbers, if *I* is generated by *k* polynomials
each of which has degree at most *d*, then it is possible to write each
element *f* of *I* as a linear combination of the given generators
such that the coefficients of the generators have degree at most (*kd*)^{2^}^{n}^{
}more than the degree of *f*. In other words, the
ideal membership problem is doubly exponential in the number of variables.
There are ideals for which singly exponential degree can be easily verified.
For a long time there was hope that singly exponential bound was indeed the
upper bound. However, in 1982, Mayr and Meyer found (generators
of) ideals for which a doubly exponential bound in *n* is indeed
achieved. This talk will be about these Mayr-Meyer ideals, the
properties they do and do not satisfy, and how one can approach the
computational complexity problem from the point of view of algebra.

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**Louis
Billera**, Cornell University

*Geometry of the space of phylogenetic rees*

We consider a continuous space
that models the set of all phylogenetic trees having a fixed set of leaves.
This space has a natural metric of nonpositive curvature (i.e., it is CAT(0)
in the sense of Gromov), giving a way of measuring distance
between phylogenetic trees and providing some procedures for averaging or
otherwise doing statistical analyses on sets of trees on a common set of
species. This geometric model of tree space provides a setting in which
questions that have been posed by biologists and statisticians over the last
decade can be approached in a systematic fashion. For example, it
provides a justification for disregarding portions of a collection of trees
that agree, thus simplifying the space in which comparisons are to be
made.

Implementing this model requires
computational techniques that make use of the dual combinatorial and
continuous nature of this space. Such techniques are currently being
developed.

This is joint work with Susan
Holmes and Karen Vogtmann: http:www.math.cornell.edu/~vogtmann/papers/Trees/lap.pdf

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**Carlos
Moreno**, City University of New York

**Number theory and its applications **

The distinguished place that the
squares 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100, ... hold within the set of all
natural numbers is discussed in connection with Gauss' law of quadratic
reciprocity. This will serve as an introduction to exponential sums,
also known as trigonometric sums, and their applications in number theory
(Gauss sums). The application of exponential sums in computational mathematics
("the fast Fourier transform"-FFT) and the application of Galois'
theory of finite fields in cryptography (the new "Advanced
Encryption Standard"-Rijndael) will also be discussed. Furthermore,
the elementary level of the talk will discuss the historical relation between
these developments and the rest of mathematics

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