Math Encounters

Math Encounters is MoMath’s popular free public presentation series celebrating the spectacular world of mathematics, produced with support from Simons Foundation International.  For further information, call the National Museum of Mathematics at 212-542-0566 or email mathencounters@momath.org.

Upcoming presentation

"Piecemeal Puzzle: the Graph Reconstruction Problem"

featuring Rik Sengupta

Wednesday, August 7
Presentations at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm

(in person)

Imagine being given a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of the cover of the Beatles’ White Album, which is famously almost entirely white.  What’s worse, instead of solving it directly, you are only allowed to take a few pieces randomly out of the box, examine them, and then put them back into the box.  How long would it take you to fully reconstruct the White Album cover, assembling your information piece by piece?  This strange little problem has deep connections with a computer science problem called trace reconstruction, as well as the classic graph theory problem of graph reconstruction, with a rich history and many active lines of current research.  Join Rik Sengupta, Research Scientist at IBM Research in Cambridge, as he sets up the problem mathematically, gives some insights into solving it, and connects it to important computational problems from today such as mapping the internet, understanding the power of random coin flips, and identifying evolutionary patterns to identify common ancestors of seemingly unrelated animals.

Math Encounters is MoMath’s popular free public presentation series celebrating the spectacular world of mathematics, produced with support from Simons Foundation International.  Light refreshments will be served.

Register to attend

 

Photography notice

By registering for a Math Encounters presentation, you acknowledge that you may be photographed or videotaped by Museum staff and associates and agree to abide by the MoMath General Policies for Events and Photograph Release.

Books by the speakers

We are happy to offer books edited or authored by Math Encounters speakers through our online shop.

Math Encounters available on YouTube and DVD

Math Encounters presentations are generally posted to our YouTube page within one to two months of filming.  Due to copyright issues, some presentations may not be reproduced on the internet.  Presentations posted online are also available for purchase via our online shop.  Click here to purchase yours today!

Presented by Simons Foundation International and the National Museum of Mathematics.

Please note that all children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.