ACEMS Public Lecture Series

The PageRank Algorithm

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 25 November, 2021

Prof Peter Taylor, ACEMS Director, The University of Melbourne

The success of Google is widely attributed to its initial use of the PageRank Algorithm developed in the late 1990s by Stanford University PhD students Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page. Although its primary purpose was to rank web pages, the PageRank Algorithm can be used to rank nodes on any directed graph and, in particular, it can be applied to social networks of all kinds. In this talk, Peter shall discuss the mathematical ideas in the 1999 paper `The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web’.

Extreme Diffusion

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 4 November, 2021

Prof Ivan Corwin, Columbia University (USA)

In this lecture, Professor Corwin looks into Einstein's simple and powerful theory describing the behavior of a single diffusing particle, and explores a failure of this theory when applied to systems with many particles diffusing in the same environment.

Statistical Methodology Development & Software Dissemination

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 28 October, 2021

UTS Distinguished Professor Matt Wand

In this lecture, Professor Matt Wand (ACEMS @ UTS) will discuss statistical methodology development in the context of this relatively new era of organised software dissemination.

Optimal decision making: a tribute to female ingenuity

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 12 October 2021 (Ada Lovelace Day) 

Professor Kate Smith-Miles & Alison Harcourt AO

Optimisation is the branch of mathematics that supports optimal decision making. In this lecture, we will discuss how everyday decisions – made by governments and corporations, and everyday people when using apps like Google Maps - are powered by optimisation techniques. We will take a whirlwind tour through some of the breakthrough ideas that have enabled optimisation techniques to help us make decisions faster, better and cheaper. Some of these breakthrough ideas have been due to female ingenuity, and on this Ada Lovelace Day we will pay tribute to the game-changing contributions of two more remarkable women – Ailsa Land and Alison Harcourt (née Doig).

Hypocrisy ++ : the clash between the philosophy & the science of probability

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 15 September 2021

Professor Krzysztof Burdzy, the University of Washington (USA)

What does it really mean when we discuss the 'probability' of an event? There are two popular, but competing, philosophical theories which attempt to answer this question, usually referred to as the 'subjective' and the 'frequency' approaches. These theories are often claimed to form the foundations, respectively, of the Bayesian and frequentist interpretations of statistics. In this public lecture, Prof Burdzy will explain why this is not actually the case, and will outline logical contradictions with both these philosophical theories.

The Origami of Data Science

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 2 September 2021

Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen, ACEMS Deputy Director, QUT

In this public lecture, Professor Kerrie Mengersen will discuss her attempts at the origami of data science. These include folding new methods and computational approaches into products such as an online atlas of cancer, a virtual Great Barrier Reef, an ethical social discourse platform, and a personalised learning program.

Uncertain Futures: What should we forecast & when should we give up?

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 24 August 2021

Prof Rob Hyndman, ACEMS Chief Investigator at Monash University

In this lecture, Professor Rob Hyndman will demonstrate how forecasting is used to inform major social, economic, and business decisions.

A song of wind & fire: a statistical journey through an uncertain world

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 14 July 2021

Dr Rachael Quill, ACEMS at The University of Melbourne

In this lecture, ACEMS Associate Investigator Dr Rachael Quill will explore how shedding light on the uncertainties of wind flow across the environment can support informed decision-making in bushfire management and renewable energy generation.

(Mis)(Dis)information, online social networks, and mathematics

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 9 June 2021

A/Prof Lewis Mitchell, ACEMS Chief Investigator at The University of Adelaide

In this lecture, Associate Professor Mitchell will explore mis/disinformation online, and in particular, some of the underlying mathematics governing how all kinds of information spread over social networks.

Playing God with Virtual Hearts

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 26 May 2021

Dr Brodie Lawson, ACEMS & QUT Centre for Data Science

In this lecture, Dr Brodie Lawson explores how mathematical models and computer simulations can help us better understand the complexities of the heart.

The Road Ahead for Women in STEM

ACEMS Virtual Panel Discussion for International Women in Mathematics Day: 12 May 2021

This discussion explored how we can get more women in higher-level positions in universities, as well as more women in STEM and, specifically, the mathematical sciences. Our Panellists:

- Prof Ana Deletic, Executive Dean for QUT's Faculty of Engineering

- Prof Moira O'Bryan, Dean of Science at The University of Melbourne

- Prof Asha Rao, Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences at RMIT

- Moderated by: Dr Rachael Quill, Chair of ACEMS' Equity and Diversity Committee

The Mathematics of Knots

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 1 April 2021

Prof Jessica Purcell, Monash University

In this lecture, Professor Jessica Purcell provides an introduction to knot theory looking closely at some of the modern tools used to study them.

The Lives & Deaths of Ethical AI

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 11 November 2020

Ellen Broad, 3A Institute at The Australian National University

This lecture explores recent evolutions and transitions in ethical AI, its influences and failures, and looks to what might come next, against the backdrop of a year of profound social, economic and environmental upheaval for us all.  


Just how much water is down there, and will it last?

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 14 October 2020

Distinguished Professor Louise Ryan, ACEMS Chief Investigator, UTS & Dr Stephanie Clark, ACEMS Research Fellow at UTS

In this lecture, Professor Louise Ryan and Dr Stephanie Clark explore various approaches to modelling underground aquifers, which are a significant water source for many parts of Australia.

When Mathematics Becomes Art

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 7 October 2020

Professor Kate Smith-Miles, ACEMS Chief Investigator, The University of Melbourne

In this lecture, Professor Kate Smith-Miles will describe how her research quest to generate mathematical functions that are challenging and “stress-test” optimisation algorithms has led to a large collection of intricate and beautiful 2D images, arising as contour plots of mathematical functions that have been mathematically generated to create challenging landscapes.

Bikes & Analytics

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture: 2 September 2020

Prof Shane Henderson, Cornell University

In this ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture, Professor Shane Henderson discusses how mathematics, statistics and computational methods improved bike sharing systems.

"Improving" prediction of human behavior using behavior modification

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture

Prof Galit Shmueli, National Tsing Hua University

In this ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture, Prof Shmueli discussed several dilemmas, challenges, and trade-offs related to behavioral big data.

Teaching Culture = Deep Learning. Teaching mathematics from an Aboriginal perspective

ACEMS Virtual Lecture

Professor Chris Matthews, Chairperson for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance, and Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) in the Science Faculty at University Technology of Sydney (UTS)

The presentation explores the connections between mathematics and Aboriginal culture and how this can be used to transform mathematics education for Aboriginal students and how this education is important for all students.

Looking at the Great Barrier Reef from organisms to ecosystems: how maths can help translate observed patterns into management-ready information 

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture

Dr Juan Ortiz, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

In this lecture, Dr Ortiz highlights how he has used relatively simple mathematics to help understand and contextualize patterns in empirical and experimental observations to reach conclusions that are relevant for the management of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Second Convict Age: Explaining the Return of Mass Imprisonment in Australia

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture

Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Australia now incarcerates a greater share of the adult population than at any point since the late 19th century. Much of this increase has occurred since the mid-1980s. In this lecture, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh shows how incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians have risen dramatically and how the increase in the Australian prison population also does not seem to be due to crime rates, which have mostly declined over the past generation.

Learning from COVID-19 Data in Wuhan, the USA and the World

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture

Professor Xihong Lin, Professor of Biostatistics, Coordinating Director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of Statistics at Harvard University

In this talk, Professor Lin will provide the analysis results of COVID-19 data to estimate the transmission rates and evaluate the effects of different public health interventions on controlling the pandemic, such as social distancing, isolation and quarantine, as well as summarizing the epidemiological characteristics of the cases.

How to evaluate evidence in a criminal courtroom

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture

Professor David Balding, Professor of Statistical Genetics at The University of Melbourne and Director of the Melbourne Integrative Genomics (MIG).

Prof. Balding discusses DNA profile evidence, addressing general issues about evidence evaluation and the use of statistical analysis in evaluating that evidence.

The Sydney Data Science Industry

ACEMS Public Lecture @ UTS

Dr Eugene Dubossarsky, Director & Principal Trainer at Presciient and founder of Data Science Sydney

Dr Eugene Dubossarsky has been at the centre of the data science industry from its earliest days in the 2000s. In this lecture, he reflects on its inception, discusses its growth, and speculates on its future.

Cancer & you: understanding the Australian Cancer Atlas

ACEMS Public Lecture @ QUT

Dr Susanna Cramb, QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation

This talk highlights the key findings from the Australian Cancer Atlas, give insights to the methods and data used, and answers the question: "what do the results mean for you?"

The mathematics of evolution within species

ACEMS Public Lecture @ Monash Conference Centre, Melbourne

Prof Robert Griffiths, Oxford University & Monash University

Understanding the process of evolution within species is a fundamental topic in biology, but also in mathematics. By studying and utilising the random nature of how gene frequencies change over time, mathematics has made significant contributions to our understanding of within species evolution. Moreover, these studies have motivated deep results in mathematics itself, for example, in quantifying properties of random permutations. This talk gives a non-technical overview of the two-way interaction between mathematics and population genetics.

Using data to discover new insights into terrorism

ACEMS Public Lecture @ QUT

Dr Gentry White, QUT

This public lecture will look at how we can use publicly available data to explore issues around terrorism and discover new insights into the fundamental questions surrounding terrorism.

Data science helping to create a better justice system

ACEMS Public Lecture @ UTS

Dr Suzanne Poyton & Dr Joanna Wang, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

This ACEMS Public Lecture provided an overview of how data science and in particular statistical modelling can be used to inform a more effective criminal justice system.  

Random Stuff

ACEMS Public Lecture @ UQ

Professor Dirk Kroese, University of Queensland

ACEMS Chief Investigator Dirk Kroese presented a public lecture on randomness, and how we can better understand it through mathematics. Randomness is all around us, from the movement of the stock markets to the atoms that form us. It can be both a source of surprise (I have just won the lottery) or of great frustration (I'm stuck in traffic again!).

For slides & Github site