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Math department at NMSU holds 'Data Deluge' talk

Hundreds of millions of people flood Facebook each month with personal information. Companies such as Facebook and Google then gather the data to gain insight about users' online habits.

Dan Ramras standing next to a structure
Dan Ramras, an assistant professor in the mathematics department at NMSU, stands near a sculpture depicting Boy's surface, a way of visualizing the projective plane in 3-dimensional space, outside of the Mathematical Research Institute of Oberwolfachin, Germany. (Courtesy photo)

To explain the increasing role of data in everyday life, the mathematics department at New Mexico State University will hold a data analysis workshop where researchers will talk about the methods they use to extract information. April is Mathematics Awareness Month and "Data Deluge" will be held from 4-5 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the Walker Room, Room 107, in Science Hall. A reception will precede the event at 3:30 p.m. in Room 234.

"Astronomers collect massive data sets from telescopes and observatories around the world and physicists perform increasingly complex experiments," said Dan Ramras, an assistant professor in the mathematics department at NMSU. "Extracting meaningful information, such as evidence of a new subatomic particle, can be like looking for a needle in a haystack."

Researchers from the College of Arts and Sciences creating a panel for the discussion include Mike DeMers, a professor in the geography department; Jim Kroger, an associate professor in the psychology department; and James McAteer, an assistant professor in the astronomy department. Laura E. Boucheron, an assistant professor in NMSU's Klipsch School of Electrical Engineering, is also on the panel.

Additionally, the mathematics department is continuing its series, "Math Happy Hour" with "Math in the Movies," at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in Walden Hall, Room 68. The event includes free food and door prizes, and is open to all students.

"We will focus on films such as "Moneyball," that involve data and statistics in interesting and surprising ways," Ramras said.

For more information about the talk visit NMSU's Math Awareness Month website at http://math.nmsu.edu/~ramras/MathAwarenessMonth.htm.