Day 17 and 18: SNCURCS – State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium

So I didn’t post yesterday because I was travelling. I was at SNCURCS this weekend (apparently it is pronounced “snickers”, which was news to me) to present some work that I did at my REU last summer. I was pretty nervous because I thought that I didn’t remember the work very well since its been a while since last summer.

As it turned out, the talk went fairly well, even though I had to speed through my slides and risk losing people due to the time constraints. I also realized that \today in LaTeX does in fact print the current date, but only at the last time you compile it. So it ended up the date on my slides showed up as the day before, but no big deal. The group of people that I was presenting with also did graph theory related projects, so I thought that was pretty cool. I saw an interesting presentation  about quantifying and mapping not only our social networks, but also our “meta-network”, which includes shared knowledge and the like. Network science sounds like pretty interesting stuff after hearing him talk about it.

My problem that I presented on was based on a variation of the game Nim but played on mathematical graphs. Instead of removing tokens from a pile we can remove a number of edges connected to a single vertex in the graph. The player that removes the last edge is the winner. We used these rules to analyze and determine the Sprague-Grundy number, or nimber of different states in the game and different types of graphs. I’m planning to do a whole post on this one of these days.

A side note: I’m realizing that this post-every-day schedule has led to some good ideas and writing experience but also has led to (in my opinion) a drop in quality. It was a learning experience for sure, but I’m not going to push myself to get out a post every day for the rest of the month I think. I have graduate school applications and school and work that I need to attend to. I’ll still be posting, I’ll just save up until I have a few good ones. Thanks for reading!


Day 16: Research Things

Tomorrow I’m giving a talk about my research. I’m cozied up in my hotel room, and ready for a good sleep and hot breakfast in the morning if we’re being honest. It wasn’t a bad drive down here (3 hours), but I felt like I was racing the sun the whole way, because I was arriving just as it had gotten dark. Nature always wins.

Things haven’t been going too well personally, but giving this presentation tomorrow will be good research experience. It’s called Champion Spiders in the Game of Graph Nim, and involves a modification of a classic game to give it a graph theory bent. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll talk about it in more detail.

Day 9: IBM Trip

Today I took a field trip with some people to the IBM Campus in Research Triangle Park. The facility was really nice, although I didn’t get to see much of it. Today was both their University day and their Cyber Security day, and so I watched multiple talks about security, cryptography, and privacy. There were some interesting ones, some boring ones, and some that went straight over my head. I was surprised to see that at a conference with presumably esteemed speakers, only one used Beamer for her slides. The others used Power Point…really badly. There were moving graphics galore and lots of complicated diagrams. I felt like almost all the slides were far too cluttered.

One talk that I did find interesting was this guy that was talking about implementing rules in our “monitoring systems” to control when and when we can share our info with the world. With social networks and smart phones and the increasing interconnectedness of people today, this also means that people are (intentionally or not) sharing more information about themselves. He proposed a rule-based system where you could tell your GPS “while I am on IBM Campus, you may track me, but when I leave, stop recording information”. Something like that would be really cool and useful to have I think. He also talked about “fooling the system” such as with Google’s location services. While a normal GPS will show your actual location, he purposely enters in false locations to confuse the system and kind of beat them at their own game of targeted advertising and tracking. I’m a very big proponent of controlling your data and your privacy on the internet, so I thought these were definitely cool ideas.