Saint Michael’s hosts major regional math conference

March 24, 2016

Saint Michael’s College on Saturday, April 2 will host the 23rd annual Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (HRUMC), a one-day mathematics student research conference that is held annually each spring at various institutions throughout New York and New England.

“This is one of the premier conferences of its kind in the country,” said James Hefferon of the host Saint Michael’s Mathematics Department faculty.

About 275 students and faculty will attend from universities, colleges, and community colleges all over New York and New England to hear and give short talks on mathematical topics. The keynote speaker will be Scott Aaronson from MIT, a noted computer scientist, whose topic will be “The P vs.NP Problem.” The keynote topic refers to a major unsolved problem in computer science. Informally speaking, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly verified by a computer can also be quickly solved by a computer. Aaronson is an international expert on the subject, and well-known for his articles, blog posts, and talks about it, both for specialists and for wider audiences.

The conference’s goal is to provide undergraduates with the experience of attending and presenting at a professional mathematics meeting — although one designed primarily with the student in mind. Saint Michael’s has been a participant at the conference for many years, nearly back to its founding in the 1990s. Most of the College’s mathematics graduates and many computer science graduates have participated in and spoken at this event.

This year the Hudson River Conference is sponsored by the Saint Michael’s Academic Affairs Office, and by the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science. Additional support comes through the Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society, through NASA-VT Space Grant Consortium, and from student and faculty volunteers and the College’s Special Events staff. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. in the Dion Family Student Center, with events at various sites across campus until 4:25 p.m.

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