Math minds to gather at WSU next month

11:41:58 AM CDT - Friday, September 22, 2006

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Some of the top mathematical minds on the planet will gather at WSU for a three-day conference Oct. 5-7.

The keynote speaker for the 20th Midwest Conference on Combinatorics, Cryptography and Computing will be George Chaitin from the IBM Academy of Technology, who started working on an algorithmic information theory as a teenager in the 1960s. He’s written a number of books including “Conversations with a Mathematician: Math, Art, Science and the Limits of Reason” and “The Limits of Mathematicians.” According to conference organizer and WSU mathematics professor Dharam Chopra, Chaitin has helped in developing software for IBM and Unix.

The conference is expected to draw mathematics professors from all over the country, even though it’s billed as a Midwest conference because of its early beginnings as a regional mathematics conference.

A gathering like this allows those in the fields of codebreaking and trying to solve various mathematical problems to talk about the latest research.

“There are so many problems awaiting solutions,” said Chopra. “You’d be amazed that these problems aren’t solved.” One example, he said, is that of prime numbers, which are numbers that can’t be divided. One perplexing problem is how to determine prime numbers when working with hundreds and hundreds of digits. Not even computers can help solve those problems, said Chopra.

The conference will be held in the Rhatigan Student Center. More information, including registration forms, can be found at http://www.math.wichita.edu/events/MCCCC2006/index.html.

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