M A T H E M A T I C A L   S C I E N C E S   N E W S L E T T E R


                                                                                      November  2000  Issue

                                                                                                    Editor: G. Ludwig



In this issue:



·       I. Chairman’s Report

·       II. Report from PIMS

·       VII. The High-School Teachers Upgrade Program




Editor’s comments: This is the second of this year’s departmental newsletters. The editor relies on being supplied by its readers with newsworthy items of current interest in this Department. The amount of information received determines the frequency of this newsletter. Please send any correspondence for future issues to gludwig@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca, with “Newsletter” in the subject line.






Akbar Rhemtulla


Teaching is in full swing and it keeps us too busy to spend time on discretionary activities! My comments will be brief for this reason.


APO:  Richard Mikalonis is the departmental Administrative Professional Officer. He takes over the administrative chores of the Department from Ivan Baggs who will return to being a regular teaching faculty member. Please welcome Richard to the Department.


Associate Chairs:  With his return to regular teaching, Ivan will retire as Associate Chair - Administration starting January 1, 2001, and the position will be eliminated. However, we plan to create the position of Associate Chair - Research. The duties of this person will be to enable the Department, faculty members and students to achieve greater awards and grants by supplying us with relevant information and assistance in the application process. Department of Biological Sciences has such a position. I would like to hear your comments and suggestions on this matter. The initial appointment may have to wait until the next Chair gives his/her approval.


Positions:  As you know, Mark Lewis has been nominated for a Senior Canada Chair and if all goes according to plan he will join the Department on July 1, 2001. In addition, we will try to fill four other positions, one in each of the following areas: Actuarial Science, Mathematics of Finance, Geometric Banach Space, and Mathematical Biology. All four are regular positions, but the last two were created to go along with the nominations of Nicole and Mark as Canada Research Chairs. This is a commitment the university has made to build strength in the areas of Senior Canada Chairs.


Mathematics Courses for High School Teachers:  The Edmonton Public School Board now requires all Junior and Senior High School mathematics teachers to have 18 credits in proper mathematics courses. This naturally puts additional demand on us. Beginning January 2001, we shall offer evening sessions of Math 160 and Math 222 to enable in-service teachers to upgrade themselves. Andy Liu has put in a lot of effort in this program and can provide additional information.


Some New Space:  We now have the lab space on the fourth floor vacated by Computing Science. Our plan is to use this space for one term to bring back the graduate students who are presently in Temp. Lab. The move will take place during the Christmas break. Once we get the rest of the requested space (by May 2001?) this lab space will be equipped with 20 stations for use by graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and visitors. We are also working on getting the post-doctoral fellows who are presently in Temp. Lab. back to CAB.


Department Dinner Party:  Please try to make it to the Department Dinner on December 2nd in the Faculty Club. Tickets from Sandra in the General Office.





Bryant Moodie




Funding for the University of Alberta’s PIMS Site


As of Nov. 9, 2000









5 @ $18,000


 $          90,000.00





PIMS Distinguished Scholar




Stephen Donkin


 $          10,000.00





PIMS Industrial Collaborative Program Associates



3 @ $15,000


 $          45,000.00





PIMS Industrial Support for the Collaborative Program



3 @ $15,000


 $          45,000.00





PIMS Educational Activities




Pi in the Sky


 $          39,000.00


Math Fairs


 $             2,000.00


Alberta High School Math Competition

 $             1,000.00





PIMS Events








Algebra 2000


 $          54,500.00


4th Industrial Problem Solving Workshop

 $          35,000.00


2nd Annual Summer School in Environmental and Industrial Fluid Dynamics

 $          25,000.00


Statistics and Health Conference

 $          15,000.00


International Workshop on Computing Science and Applications

 $          14,500.00


PIMS Graduate Seminar

 $          14,000.00


Integral Methods in Science and Engineering

 $          10,000.00


Biophys. & Biochem of Motor Proteins

 $             3,000.00





PIMS Next Events




Waves III


 $          26,700.00





Mitacs Projects




Predictions in Interacting Systems

 $        130,000.00


Industrial Funds


 $        176,500.00






Mathematical Modelling in Pharmaceutical Development

 $        130,000.00


Industrial Funds


 $        313,000.00







Grand Total

$      1,179,200.00





Gerald Cliff


Enrolment in our Honors program is 33 students this year, up from 16 last year. In our Specialization programs, enrolment is 78 students this year, up from 72 last year. Enrolment in first year Honors Calculus, Math 117, was 59 as of the beginning of October; this is the highest in over 15 years. Last year's enrolment was 27. Enrolment in Math 217 is 24; this is the highest since 1992. Last year we had 13.





Chris Kuethe


By now, I'm sure that we've all heard of Sherwood's departure to Yotta Yotta, a company doing highly salable network storage. Sherwood's doing much the same as he was doing here - fixing things, rolling out new stuff - and from the last time I had a chance to talk to him, they had plenty of things to occupy his time. This means that suddenly we're a man down. To that end, Marvin's task list and my task list have grown by about 50% each. By all reasonable estimates, the earliest we're likely to see a replacement for Sherwood is February. Marvin and I would like to ask for your patience and understanding while we try sort this out.


Network news:


The first two servers in our vega-replacement cluster have arrived, along with four shiny new application servers. Integrating them into the existing network architecture without breaking anything is turning into a bigger problem than I thought. Mail services, for example, are somewhat tricky due to the fact that we receive and store mail on one machine and read it from a whole bunch of others.

We’ve also installed a new router. This machine should make firewalling a fair bit easier and faster. There are still a few minor issues to be resolved with it, but the status quo has mostly been restored, with improvements to come in the near future.

Some of you may have noticed my absence during the second half of October. I was away at the Network Security 2000 conference. I took the intrusion detection track, which specialized in detecting attacks (over the network) before they get too far. While I don’t mind the overtime, I’m sure that no one likes to have their computer out of service for a few days because it got broken into.  Besides bringing home over 10 kg of textbooks, I also picked up some very good information concerning things that we should be doing to improve security while not breaking anything. When you think about it, improved security systems lead to better service; a high-availability system will withstand a random fault at a random time, whereas a secure system will withstand pathological fault at the most inopportune time.

To put the idea of security causing reliability into perspective, this means that things like banner ads and spam aren’t permitted to waste resources, and netscape zombies don’t clog the servers - a good thing by all accounts. This also means that with proper filtering, desktop machines aren’t vulnerable to a raft of remote denial-of-service attacks. It only takes one packet to hijack a network connection or to crash a box, and sadly, these sort of attacks are nearly trivial to prevent. Finally, traffic analysis can be used to determine what machines need an upgrade the most - if the mail server seems to be constantly generating the same amount of traffic, this might be an indication that it’s overloaded and needs to be moved to a more capable box.





Hubert Chan


Since its launch in the spring of 1999, the MITACS-PINTS Centre of Excellence, based at the University of Alberta, has made several advances in filtering theory.

Filtering deals with finding a signal which behaves according to some stochastic process, based only on noisy, partial observations of the signal, and a model of the signal’s behaviour. Filtering has applications in many different areas such as mathematical finance, search and rescue, manufacturing, narcotic smuggling prevention, and air traffic control, and has attracted the attention of companies such as Lockheed Martin, VisionSmart, Stantec, and Acoustic Positioning Research.

The MITACS-PINTS centre researches many types of non-linear filters, such as convolutional-based approaches, Markov chain filters, and particle filters, and investigates the computational effectiveness and real-world applications, in addition to the theoretical properties, of these methods.

Recently, as a result of work by Dr. Michael Kouritzin and students David Ballantyne and Hubert Chan, the centre has introduced a filter which is capable of smoothing, that is, filtering the entire historical path of a given signal in an asymptotically optimal way. The only other known filter with this capability was developed by members of the centre and the results have been submitted for publication. This method works recursively and is extremely computationally efficient.

In certain situations, an exact model for the signal is not known. Often, the model may contain unknown parameters which cannot be determined before-hand. In order to solve this problem,
Dr. Michael Kouritzin and Dr. Ruisheng Li developed a method based on particle systems to perform combined parameter and state estimation, and Hubert Chan is developing computer simulations to test its practical effectiveness.

Post-doctoral fellows Dr. Hongwei Long and Dr. Wei Sun have been working on random environment modelling, which will allow us to develop more realistic signal models, while students Michelle Prefontaine and Calvin Chan are applying convolutional-based methods to financial market applications using a mean-reverting volatility model. Work is beginning on estimating the parameters to be used in the models.

The centre has been featured in articles in Silicon Valley North, the Globe and Mail, the PIMS newsletter, NSERC success stories, and the Report Magazine. Members have given talks at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Minnesota, the MITACS annual general meeting, and at the AeroSense conference.





K.C. Carriere


(i) The Training Consulting Centre (TCC) was established in April 2000 with funding from the Department of Mathematical Sciences (1) to provide job training of our graduate students and (2) to improve quality of research done at the University of Alberta.

The services are available to all University of Alberta faculty, staff, and students concerning statistical questions related to research at no direct cost to the clients. This student-operated centre has served virtually every faculty on campus to date. The student consultants gained significant confidence at consulting with non-statistically oriented clients, developing friendship across campus. Most importantly, it played a major role in planting two recent statistics graduates with full-time jobs! The TCC welcomes three new consultants: William Midodzi, Meseret Hailemariam, and Amrit Shresta. The current  consultants Abdulkadir Hussein, Alex de Leon, Melody Gahrhamani, Xiaoming Sheng, and Rong Huang (the Coordinator) continue to assist clients needing their statistical expertise. More information can be found at: www.stat.ualberta.ca/~brg


(ii) We welcome Dr. Saumen Mandal (PhD. Statistics, 2000, University of Glasgow, U.K.) who joined us as of November 1, 2000.  He will be working with K.C. Carriere as a postdoctoral fellow. His area of research is in constructing optimal designs.


(iii) Good news to those who wanted to have a one or two day brainstorming workshop on SAS. The Department of Public Health Sciences is organizing a one to two day SAS workshop with CNS. Depending on the number of participants, it could cost $135/student. The software SAS is an essential tool for any consulting statistician. Anyone interested in taking up this opportunity should send e-mail to kathleen.forbes@ualberta.ca who coordinates the time and date for this event.


(iv) Do we need more doctors in Alberta? In Canada? Currently, females make up about 33% of generalist physicians in Alberta, while female medical students make up over 60% of their classes. It was hypothesized that female physicians tend to spend more time with patients and thereby handle  fewer patients. Alberta Health and Wellness is concerned that the trend of increasing number of female physicians might create a doctor shortage in dealing with the demand for physician services. Predicting the need has been the focus of a recent project, funded by Alberta Centre for Health Services Utilization Research (PI: KC Carriere). While this research is in progress, we recently completed a project comparing the effect of outsourcing cataract surgery to private clinics. The general conclusion is that while private clinics definitely have shorter waiting times, there are other primary factors that determine waiting times. Many statistical issues arise in trying to solve these real world problems; some find an approximate solution relatively easily, while others get very rigorous treatment in an attempt to find a solution.





Andy Liu


In June 2000, the trustees of the Edmonton Public School Board passed a motion nine to nothing that as of September 2000, no teacher will be allowed to teach any mathematics course in junior or senior high school unless she or he has had six half-courses of university level mathematics. This is indeed exciting news. After years of complaining about the low level of preparation in mathematics of the average high school graduates we can finally help to do something about it. Mr. Stuart Wachowicz, the Supervisor of Curriculum, Programs and Standards, is to be congratulated in spearheading this drive.

It should be mentioned right from the start that this requirement is not a substitute for the existing program in secondary education with a major in mathematics, or in the mathematics stream of the BEd/BSc joint degree program. The intention is to prevent schools assigning teachers without the necessary qualification to teach mathematics. Up till now, this is often done out of expedience, since there is a perpetual shortage of mathematics teachers.

A special program is being set up between the Edmonton Public School Board and our Department. Evening courses, meeting once a week for three hours, are being scheduled for the teachers. Courses to be offered include MATH 160, MATH 222, MATH 241 and MATH 260 as well as a new course to be introduced later. It is tentatively numbered MATH 164 and titled Higher Algebra, covering material in classical algebra embodied in textbooks such as the one by Hall and Knight, with supplementary material from more modern topics.

The Edmonton Public School Board is paying the tuition for those teachers who have not taken six half-courses of university level mathematics and are interested in upgrading themselves. Some who are nearing the end of their careers may not be interested in taking advantage of this offer. Their jobs are not threatened; they would simply be reassigned away from mathematics. However, younger teachers may see this as a golden opportunity to improve their portfolio, and an ability to teach mathematics provides much greater flexibility and security against future cutbacks.

A preliminary survey indicated that for each of the five courses offered, at least 70 teachers are interested in taking them. MATH 160 and MATH 222 are scheduled to go in the coming January, with other courses to follow in subsequent terms. Teachers may also take other courses during the summer session.





Michael Li


Planning is under way to host two concurrent international conferences at the U. of A., with themes on Differential Equations and Mathematical Biology, in the Spring of 2002. The first conference is the Fourth Geoffrey J. Butler Memorial Conference on Differential Equations and Population Biology. The past three Butler conferences were all held here at the U. of A., in 1988, 1992, and 1996. The second conference is the Fifth Americas Conference on Differential Equations and Nonlinear Dynamics. This biennial conference has been held since 1994, with the participation of researchers from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. The first four meetings took place in Mexico (1994), Brazil (1996), USA (1998), and Venezuela (2000).



     IX.     ALGEBRA 2000


Akbar Rhemtulla, Robert Moody, Bruce Allison


The PIMS Thematic Programme in Algebra, called Algebra 2000, took place at the University of Alberta over a 4-week period from June 19 to July 14. The programme, which was organized by the algebra group at the University of Alberta, consisted of summer schools and workshops in three areas of algebra: Lie Theory, Group Theory and Representations, and the Mathematics of Aperiodic Order.  Each area was featured for 2 (overlapping) weeks. The programme was very successful and attracted over 100 participants.

In the first week, the Lie Theory summer school featured 2 series of introductory talks for graduate students. Stephen Donkin of Queen Mary and Westfield College gave 5 lectures on Algebraic Groups and Arturo Pianzola of the University of Alberta gave 5 lectures on Lie Algebras. The Lie Theory workshop in the second week included one-hour talks by experts from Europe, United States and Canada on recent developments in the subject. Topics included vertex operator algebras and various infinite dimensional generalizations of finite dimensional simple Lie algebras. Many of the talks, as well as much informal discussion, focused on the increasing interplay between Lie theory and mathematical physics.

The Groups and Representations summer school started in the second week with introductory lectures for graduate students given by Peter Kropholler of Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, Gerald Cliff of University of Alberta, Alexander Olshanskii of Moscow State University, Dan Segal of University of Oxford and Alexander Turull of University of Florida. The workshop in the following week was devoted to hour long talks. Half of these were in representation theory and the rest in infinite groups. Topics included representations of finite groups, profinite groups and Burnside problems.

In the third week of the programme, we began the summer school on Aperiodic Order. This school included four lecture series (a total of 10 lectures):

“Introduction to long-range aperiodic order”:  Michael Baake, Universität Tübingen;

“The geometry of point sets”: Jeffrey Lagarias, AT&T Research Labs;

“Tilings and dynamical systems”: Boris Solomyak, University of Washington;

“Stochastic and other directions”:  Michael Baake, Universität Tübingen.


These beautifully prepared talks were of a consistently high standard. Because the subject is new and has quite diverse mathematical components, these lectures were enjoyed immensely by students and researchers alike. In addition, Uwe Grimm gave several hands-on computer demonstrations illustrating the main features of aperiodic tilings.

The final week of the programme consisted of a workshop on Aperiodic Order with 4 to 5 one-hour talks per day. The talks from the participants covered the entire spectrum of the subject from the spectral theory, through diffraction, substitution systems, automatic sequences, random tilings, aperiodic Schrödinger operators, and aperiodic approaches to random number generators.

Many of the participants in Algebra 2000 took advantage of the weekend between their summer school and workshop to go to Jasper where they stayed at the Palisades Science Centre. This extraordinarily good bargain provided continued discussions throughout the weekend and helped enormously to develop the fine spirit of the entire programme.





Roma Tatchyn


I completed a 16 month internship on August 31, 2000 with the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Alberta. I was very curious to discover what opportunities would be available to me with a science degree specializing in mathematics. I wanted and needed to learn which and what applications would be expected of me and how to apply them successfully in the work force.

The position I received demanded several different tasks of me such as updating web sites, creating quizzes, scanning course notes/solutions/assignments and determining optimal methods to display/view/print mathematics on the web.

I discovered several techniques to do this: PDF, TEX, images (created from MathType, Maple or any drawing software) embedded in HTML, HTML paired with Java applets, Powerpoint, Flash, PS and MathML. The latter is still in its preliminary stages and hasn't yet reached its full potential, but it may be very worthwhile to keep track of its progressions.

HTML with Java applets, Powerpoint, and Flash were the main techniques used to create lessons to supplement in-class discussions and/or lectures. Each have positive and negative aspects and can accommodate an instructor in different ways.

HTML with Java applets allows interactivity, easy to understand graphing applets, clean and clear text to supplement the applet. It can amount to a large file size and download time because of the embedded math. images and the time for the Java applet to be enabled.

Powerpoint is of point form style, has basic animation, minimal interactivity and a relatively small file size. Microsoft Powerpoint allows you to convert the presentation into HTML directly through the software so there is no extra effort needed to post the material on the web. This works well for posting course notes on the web.

Flash is a newer method of posting material on the web. It is user friendly. You can create simple and complex animations, it is typically a smaller file size (approximately 100-200 K per animation), you can import images or manually create math. symbols in Flash with the drawing tools that Flash supplies. It is not worth using Flash simply for course notes, announcements or any type of lengthy text. Flash is great for creating live graphs to show students exactly how to apply certain mathematical concepts.

I realized how challenging it is to display mathematics successfully on the web and obtain an ideal final result. The several methods available are not complete - but with constantly upcoming newer versions of software and applications you are able to step closer and closer to a desired final result.





Lynn Erbe


I came to Alberta in 1968 on a two-year post-doctoral fellowship and joined the regular academic staff of the Department of Mathematics in 1970. After leaving Alberta in 1995, I spent two years at Kuwait University and have been at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, since September 1997.


The following comments describe some of my impressions concerning mathematics departments with which I have been involved over the last several years. I have not included many remarks about Alberta since, presumably, the readers will have some experience and knowledge of the Alberta environment.

Kuwait University has about 55 faculty members in the Department of Mathematics and Computing Science (Statistics and Operations Research are separate). Most of the faculty members are non-Kuwaiti (and therefore on two-year contracts, which are renewed at the pleasure of the administration). The largest minority of the staff members come from Egypt—prior to the Gulf war, this position was held by the Palestinians and Iraqis). There are also quite a few faculty members from Eastern Europe. Classes are taught in English, although first-year classes are often taught by Arabic-speaking staff members (to help some of the students over the rough spots). The enrolment is about ten thousand, mostly undergraduate, and mostly women. It seems that many of the brighter Kuwaiti male students go overseas to study, many to the Boston area. Although classes begin at about 8:00 am (Saturday-Wednesday), most university offices close for the day by 2:00 pm, and most faculty members leave the campus at that time. Most students are Kuwaiti. It seems that they are often much more interested in a good grade than in mastering the material in the course since, for the most part, they are guaranteed employment after completing their degrees. Decisions taken at the departmental level are made after careful consideration of the desires and wishes of the Kuwaiti staff members (about ten). There is a small graduate program (M.Sc. only), but since most of the students are “locally produced”, it is much better on paper than in reality.

The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, serves about 23 thousand students and the Mathematics and Statistics Department is regarded as one of the top departments in the University, having won the Statewide Teaching Award in 1999 and also received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in recognition of its success in mentoring female graduate students. At the present time more than half the teaching assistants are women (27 out of 50). There are approximately 145 undergraduate math. majors, 58 of whom are women. The Department is home to the American Mathematics Competition which sponsors the high school mathematics competition that leads to the selection of the U.S. Math Olympiad Team. Each Fall, the Department sponsors a Math Day, which involves about 1300 students from more than 100 Nebraska high schools. In addition, several faculty members are involved in the annual All Girls/All Math summer camps for high school girls. The number of faculty is about 35-36, about one half the size of the University of Alberta’s. The Department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences and so seems to be not as top heavy with administration as the U. of A. The Department is friendly, has a very hard-working chair, and, by and large, seems to have been spared major problems between the various groups within the Department, which is often not the case elsewhere. Research productivity (the faculty average about 1.5 papers/year) is strongly encouraged, and there is pressure from the administration to apply for external grants. Within the past 3 years, about 75% of the faculty have had some form of external funding. NSF grants are, of course, substantially more difficult to obtain than NSERC grants, with probably fewer than 30% of the NSF applications being successful. It seems to me, however, that the Canadian NSERC program is better than the NSF program since it provides funding for a much larger percentage of staff members—smaller grants, but more flexible.





                 i.          Colloquium (Hans Brungs)


The following colloquium talks have so far been presented during the fall 2000 term:


Patrick Muldowney, University of Ulster

“Alternative approach to Black-Scholes pricing using Henstock integrals”


Garth Dales, University of Leeds

“Derivations and the measure algebra”


Noriko Yui, MSRI, Berkeley

“The modularity conjecture for rigid Calabi-Yau threefolds over Q”


Michael J. Ward, University of British Columbia

“The stability and dynamics of spikes for a reaction-diffusion system”


Sharon Lohr, Arizona State University

“Optimal design for variance components”


Again, I would like to invite everybody to contribute to a successful colloquium series by suggesting speakers or bringing in visitors who will tell us about new and exciting things that are happening in the mathematical sciences. Please contact Hans Brungs, or Dana in the main office.



               ii.          Seminar on Approximation Theory (Bin Han)


The seminar on approximation theory is up and running this semester. The seminar is held every Wednesday from 1:00 pm-2:00 pm in CAB 657.  Bin Han gave the first two talks on the canonical dual frame of a wavelet frame which is joint work with Professor Daubechies at Princeton University. Professor Rong-Qing Jia gave the next two excellent talks on spectral analysis of the transition operator and its application to wavelet analysis. Stimulating recent results in wavelet theory were discussed in Professor Jia’s talks.

The schedule for the rest of the semester is:

Nov. 15, Professor Alexander Kushpel, “Levy means and its applications I”.

Nov. 22, Professor Alexander Kushpel, “Levy means and its applications II”.

Nov. 29, Professor Zeev Ditzian, “A new measure of smoothness on the sphere”.

Dec. 6,   Professor Zeev Ditzian, “A new measure of smoothness on the sphere”.

Dec. 13  Qun Mo, “A discussion on multi-wavelets”.

Dec. 20  Songtao Liu, “Multilevel precondition for elliptic PDEs by wavelet method”.


All those interested in attending (or presenting), please contact Bin Han at bhan@ualberta.ca. For more information and all the announcements for this seminar on approximation theory and another informal seminar on wavelet-based applications, please visit



             iii.          Seminar on  Mathematical Biology (Gerda de Vries)


About a dozen faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students with an interest in Mathematical Biology meet weekly (Thursdays, from 12:30 to 2:00, in C E 4-36) to discuss current research projects. The usual format of our meetings is for each of us to give a brief synopsis of what we've been working on since the last meeting. This round-robin is followed by an extended informal presentation by one of the participants on a topic of his/her choice. Topics range from the theoretical to the applied. Anyone with an interest in Mathematical Biology is welcome to attend and participate. For more information, contact Gerda de Vries, or visit




              iv.          MITACS-MMPD Seminar (Gerda de Vries)


The newest MITACS project, Mathematical Modelling in Pharmaceutical Development, led by Jack Tuszynksi from the Physics Department is up and running. Gerda de Vries leads the seminar series. So far, we've had two seminars from our "sponsors": Michael Hendzel from the Cross Cancer Institute spoke about the architecture of cellular nuclei, and Doug Ridgway from Kinetana, a local biotech company, spoke about modelling drug absorption. For more information on the MITACS-MMPD project, visit




                v.          Seminar on Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems (Michael Li)


The departmental Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems Seminar is up and running this semester. The seminar is held every Friday at 2:00 pm in room CAB 229.

Dr. Yuming Chen, who is a Killam PDF working with Dr. Muldowney, gave the first two talks on global dynamics of neural networks with delays. Connell McCluskey, one of our Ph.D. students, gave the next two talks on a mathematical model for infectious diseases with different infectious stages. These interesting talks were followed by an excellent presentation given by Dr. Ming Mei, a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Joseph So, on stability of waves for 2X2 relaxation models.

The schedules for the rest of the semesters are:

Nov. 10, Michael Li, “Disease dynamics: a new approach to old models”.

Nov. 17, James Muldowney, TBA

Nov. 24. Gustavo Carrero, TBA

Dec. 1, Jack Macki, TBA


All those interested in attending are welcome. All those wishing to present, please contact Michael Li mli@math.ualberta.ca.



              vi.          Seminar on Algebra (Bruce Allison, Benjamin Klopsch)


The Algebra Seminar meets each week on Friday afternoon for 1 hour. The seminar gives local faculty and students the opportunity to give one or two talks on their recent work and interests in algebra. This is valuable for all of us since it allows us to keep in touch with the work that is being done within the algebra group. The seminar also provides a forum for visiting researchers to speak to us about recent developments in their areas.


The speakers in September and October were


Günter Krause (Winnipeg), Benjamin Klopsch (Alberta), David McNeilly (Alberta), and

Keqin Liu (UBC).


The speakers scheduled for November are


Jorgen Rasmussen (Lethbridge), Terry Gannon (Alberta), Jürgen Ritter (Augsburg), and David McNeilly (Alberta).

The talks cover topics from ring theory, group theory, knot theory, Lie theory and number theory.



            vii.          Seminar on Differential Geometry (Peter Antonelli)


The geometry (research) seminar has been running weekly for the last 3 or 4 years. Topics are extremely variable, largely because “geometry is everywhere”. Some years there has been an accent on Finsler geometry and also algebraic geometry (Hodge theory). This year, so far, we have had fair attendance, ca. 8 – 10 people, and have had Noriko Yui, Don Stanley, Michael Li, Paul-Eugene Parent, and Peter Antonelli on topics in, respectively, Algebraic Geometry, Algebraic Topology, differential equations, algebraic topology, and Finsler Geometry and application.

We have scheduled James Lewis, Dragos Hrimiuc, Ioan Bucataru and, possibly, John Bowman for future talks.





a.     Long – term Service


The following staff members will be honoured for their service to the University of Alberta on November 23, 2000 at the Myer Horowitz Theatre from 3:00 pm to 6:00 p.m. At this ceremony, altogether one hundred and ninety-one recipients will be recognized for their years of service. The Department extends its best wishes to all.


30 years of service:

Walter Allegretto, Peter Antonelli, Hans Künzle, Anthony Lau, Sherman Riemenschneider.


25 years of service:

Gerald Cliff, Christine Fischer, Laura Heiland, Douglas Kelker, James (Ted) Lewis.



b.     Neighbours for 30 years


Walter Allegretto, Tony Lau and Garry Ludwig recently completed 30 years of peaceful co-existence, even friendship, with their offices next door to each other on the sixth floor of CAB. The event was duly toasted at a dinner celebration at the Faculty Club.



c.      Farewell


Charlotte Uhrig joined the support staff of the Department of Mathematical Sciences on May 27, 1999. She advanced to an Academic Personnel Assistant position in the Office of the Vice-President (Academic) & Provost on October 23, 2000. We wish her all the best.

The secretaries said good-bye

To Charlotte with a sigh.

They took her out to dine

Wednesday night, which was devine.

They laughed and reminisced

Of the past year in the office.

They gave her their good wishes

And said farewell with gifts and kisses.



d.     New APO


Welcome to Richard Mikalonis, formerly APO in the Sociology Department, who joined the Mathematical Sciences Department as an APO on November 1, 2000. Richard will be a great addition to the Department. He will take over the administrative duties of Dr. Ivan Baggs.



e.      New Office Staff Member


It is a pleasure to introduce to you our new office staff member, Dona Guelzow. Dona has previously worked in a variety of positions at Canadian universities including the University of  Alberta.


Some of Dona's duties in our Department will include providing secretarial and administrative assistance for the Honors and Specialization Program, assisting with a variety of activities involved in the administrative work associated with the Graduate Program, FOIPP Officer for the Department, preparing material as required for Department Council meetings, providing secretarial support for the Industrial Internship Program and our Pre-Calculus Program, typing mathematical materials and general correspondence.



f.       Marriage


Sam Shen married Snow Suet Man LEE on October 1, 2000. Snow is from Hong Kong, not from Alaska! Their wedding  ceremony took place at the Lansdowne Chinese Baptist Church, and the reception, dinner, and dance were at the Delta South Edmonton Hotel. One hundred fifty guests attended the events.



g.     Retirement


The Statistics Centre hosted a conference in honour of the retirement of Professor Douglas Kelker on September 28. Professor Jack Macki was appointed statistician-for-a-day in order to open the conference with some reminiscences  of Doug’s early days in the Department. This was followed by stimulating lectures by Professors Peter Hooper and Subhash Lele, and by a banquet at the home of Professor Lele.



h.     Christmas party

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is pleased to announce the annual Holiday Buffet Dinner will be held on December 2, 2000 at the Faculty Club. There will be a cash bar starting at 6:00 pm. The buffet will commence in the main dining hall at 7:00 pm and features breast of chicken, red wine and mushroom sauce and filet of salmon, hollandaise sauce. Arrangements have been made to have vegetarian items added to the buffet. The vegetarian dishes include pasta primavera, poached salmon and an extensive salad bar.

Following dinner there will be dancing with music supplied by a D.J.


Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased from Sandra in the general office. Please note that cheques or credit cards are not accepted, only cash. The final day to purchase your tickets is Monday, November 27th. Prices are as follows:


$15 per person for academic and retired staff and their guest.

$10 per person for sessionals, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and non-academic staff and their guest.


If you have any questions or concerns, Sandra can be reached by phone at 0446 or by email at sandras@ualberta.ca.




A sample of mathematical humour found on the internet:

A physicist, an engineer and a mathematician were all in a hotel sleeping when a fire broke out in their respective rooms. The engineer woke up, saw the fire, ran into the bathroom, turned on the faucets full-blast, flooding out the entire apartment, thereby putting out the fire, and he went back to sleep.

The physicist woke up, saw the fire, ran over to his desk, pulled out his CRC, and began working out all sorts of fluid dynamics equations. After a couple minutes, he threw down his pencil, got a graduated cylinder out of his suitcase, and measured out a precise amount of water. He threw it on the fire, extinguishing it, with not a drop wasted, and went back to sleep.

The mathematician woke up, saw the fire, ran over to his desk, began working through theorems, lemmas, hypotheses , you name it. After a few minutes he put down his pencil triumphantly, exclaimed "I have proved that I can put the fire out!" and went happily back to sleep.