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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Mathematics Awareness Month events to be held at NMSU

April is Mathematics Awareness Month and the department of Mathematical Sciences at New Mexico State University is recognizing the occasion with three events.

The theme for this year is Mathematics and Voting and speakers will use mathematics and statistics to attempt to answer the question, "What makes your vote matter?"

The department is hosting a panel discussion on the topic at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, in Science Hall Room 107. Nancy Baker, associate professor of Government, will be moderator. The panel will include representatives from the departments of Mathematical Sciences, Psychology, Communication Studies, and Government.

The panel will discuss how procedures for counting votes can influence the outcome and how polling and predictions in the media influence voter psychology and results.

Lane. A. Hamaspaandra, professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, will be guest speaker at lectures at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, and 1:10 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in Science Hall Room 107.

In the first lecture, Hamaspaandra will discuss how computational complexity, already used to protect commercial Internet transactions, can be used as a shield to prevent bribery and control of elections. He will show that an election system developed by the 13th century Catalan mystic Ramon Llull and the closely related Copeland election system are both resistant to all standard types of electoral control.

In the second lecture, Hamaspaandra will discuss a voting system created in 1876 by mathematician Charles Dodgson, who wrote "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" under the name Lewis Carroll. Hamaspaandra said the system has long fascinated political scientists and the algorithm used in the system never incorrectly declares a non-winner to be the winner.

Mathematics Awareness Month is held each year in April. Its goal is to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics.

All events are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by the departments of Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science, Psychology, Government, Communication Studies and History and the office of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information call (575) 646-2030.