Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference Preparation

The Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (CUMC) is an annual conference for mathematics undergraduates in Canadian universities.

To help you prepare talks for this year’s conference, we will be holding a series of workshops between the 28th of June and the 30th of July.

Registration: If you would like to attend any of these sessions, please fill out the following form to join our mailing list. (Zoom links to all events will only be available to people on the list.)

Please check this page for updates!

I – Workshops

Professor Micheal Pawliuk (UTM) will be running the following three workshops:

Note: The following workshops will be recorded. Please make sure to join our mailing list if you would like access to the recordings.

Monday June 28th at 3 PM EDT (Toronto time) – What to expect at the CUMC.

This workshop will feature a panel of students who have previously been to the CUMC. They will share their experiences and you will be able to ask questions. By the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the format and participants of the CUMC.
  • List common expectations for the conference (dress code, what kind of talks are appropriate, who gives talks, etc.)

Monday July 5th at 3 PM EDT (Toronto time) – Coming up with a good presentation topic.

This workshop will focus on coming up with good ideas for presentations at the CUMC. By the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Create multiple appropriate presentation topics for the CUMC. Create learning objectives for a presentation.
  • Refine a given topic to be memorable and engaging.

Professor Pawliuk is also happy to give advice and feedback by email to students who don’t know what they want to present! You can contact him at:

m [dot] pawliuk [at] utoronto [dot] ca

Monday July 12th at 3 PM EDT (Toronto time) – Making a good 20-minute video presentation.

This workshop will focus on creating good 20-minute video presentations for the CUMC. It will be primarily “low tech” in that it will focus on making effective, memorable presentations because of the fundamentals of good presentations (and not just fancy editing). By the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Modify a presentation based on audience, learning objectives, and personal preference.
  • Create a video presentation in multiple ways and adjudicate their appropriateness.

These workshops will be beginner friendly, and you can attend any of them even if you do not plan on attending the CUMC!

II – Peer-Feedback Sessions

The second set of activities will consist of peer-feedback sessions. Interested participants will be sorted into groups of three or four (each group containing at least one experienced presenter) to share their talks and give each other feedback. We will send out a registration form for the peer-feedback sessions after the workshops. Please make sure to join the mailing list if you wish to receive this form!

You do not need to have a complete presentation to take part in these peer-feedback sessions: the group discussions can also be used to chat about your abstracts, or to go over the outlines of your presentations, for example.

Details will be sent on July 16th so that you can meet between the 19th and 30th of July. Groups will need to schedule their own meetings during this time.

We will try to match people from different schools together wherever possible, keeping in mind your availabilities and presentation topics.

III – Mock Conference

About a week before the CUMC, we will have a small mock conference for participants to practice their talks. Last year, this mock conference had both asynchronous and synchronous components. We asked participants to submit video recordings of their talks ahead of time, and we hosted live Q&A sessions with the presenters.

How the mock conference will work this year will depend on how many interested students we have. Due to time limitations, capacity for this event may have to be capped, with priority going to UofT students.

Contact: If you have any questions, please contact Yuveshen Mooroogen at yuveshen [dot] mooroogen [at] mail [dot] utoronto [dot] ca.

Micheal Pawliuk: A History of Functions

We’ll have a Math Union talk next week on Tuesday, March 10 at 6:10pm in BA 6183. Prof. Micheal Pawliuk will be speaking about the history of functions! As always, there will be food.

Title: A History of Functions

Abstract: What is a function? Our current definition is surprisingly recent, and it figuring it out was a result of important questions in mathematics and physics. Updating our definition resulted in having to “redo” a bunch of seemingly solved mathematics.

We’ll trace the history of functions from the mid 1800s forward to the birth of topology.

Kasun Fernando: Statistical Properties of Dynamical Systems


There will be a Math Union lecture on Wednesday, March 4, at 5:10pm in BA024. Kasun Fernando will be speaking about the statistical properties of dynamical systems. Food will be served!


Title: Statistical Properties of Dynamical Systems


Abstract: Since the work of Boltzmann in statistical mechanics, physicists and mathematicians alike were interested in looking at deterministic chaotic systems with a probabilistic eye. Later, with the mathematical foundations laid out by Birkhoff, Kolmogorov and von Neumann, the systematic study of statistical properties of dynamical systems aka Ergodic Theory started to flourish. My talk will be a brief introduction to this probabilistic approach to making sense of chaotic phenomena.

Christian Ketterer: Synthetic curvature bounds – A friendly introduction

Hi everyone! We will be having our first talk of the semester on Tuesday, January 28th, 2019 at 4:10pm. A post doc Christian Ketterer will be speaking.

Details of the room will be announced shortly!

Title: Synthetic curvature bounds – A friendly introduction

Abstract: In this talk I will explain the concepts of synthetic sectional curvature bounds and synthetic lower Ricci bounds and the ideas behind them. Synthetic lower Ricci bounds originated in the last 20 years from the encounter of several mathematical fields, including Riemannian Geometry, Optimal Transport and Information Theory. I will briefly describe these fields and show how they mixed.

Graduate Applications Workshop – this Thursday

Hi everyone! Just a reminder that this Thursday, Jan 9, there will be a graduate applications workshop at 4pm in BA6183. For those of you who are applying to graduate schools now or are interested in applying in the future, this is a great opportunity to hear about the application process, what can be expected, and to ask specific questions to faculty and graduate students. Please fill out the (short!) RSVP form below if you are interested in attending – there is a space to ask specific questions in the form in advance!

The form:

Happy new year!

Graduate Application Workshop

Hi everyone! For those of you applying to graduate schools with deadlines in January, as well as those who are perhaps thinking of applying to graduate schools in the future, we will be holding a graduate applications workshop on January 9 at 4pm in BA6183. There will be a faculty panel, as well as a graduate student panel, and an opportunity to ask questions about the application process and the like.

If you are interested in attending, please fill out the Google form below and include any questions you have for the panel.

Happy holidays!

Justin Martel: Energy vs. Mass Transport

Join us for our last talk before the new year, given by Justin Martel, a former graduate student at U of T. The talk will be Thursday, December 12th at 5:10pm in BA6180. Pizza will be served in the Graduate Lounge at 4:40pm.

Abstract: Is the distance from Toronto to Moscow today the same as the distance 2000 years ago? To the mathematician, ”Surely not!” when the distance is reckoned at 7500 kilometers ac- cording to the model globe in his office. But ”Distance” as- sumes entirely different dimensions when measured in terms of Energy-variables. A distance changes when the actual transit is taken into account. And how is it possible for the Hominid, capable of sustaining only an average of 75 Watts throughout an eight hour day, to transverse such great dis- tance?

This talk will describe, in simple terms, the principles of Optimal Transportation. We will focus on elementary physical models, energy, and Least Action Principles.

Three CUMC 2019 Talks

Hi everyone! Our next event will be talks from the 2019 Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (CUMC) by three students, Isabel Beach, Curtis Michael and Nikki Sigurdson. It will be Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 6:10pm, in BA 6183.
Pizza and pop will be provided!

The talks:

The Beauty of the Hyperbolic Plane, by Isabel Beach

An Introduction to Mapping Class Groups and the Nielsen-Thurston Classification of Mapping Classes, by Curtis Grant

Finite Model Theory and First Order Definability, by Nikki Sigurdson

Professor Candidate Talk: Cindy Blois

Cindy Blois, Thurs Jan 31, 4:30-6:00, BA6180

Title: Path-Ordered Exponentials

Abstract: In this talk, we will look at calculus through a new lens as we approach the definition of the path-ordered exponential. We will see that the path-ordered exponential arises naturally in the solution of first-order linear systems of ODEs (with variable coefficients) and is also a stepping stone toward path integrals in quantum physics.

99% of this talk will be accessible to undergraduates that have some experience with introductory analysis and linear algebra. However, 1% will be accessible to no one, because it will be utter nonsense.

Professor Candidate Talk: Yu-Wen Hsu

Yu-Wen Hsu, Wed Jan 30, 5:00-6:30, BA6180

Title: The Power of Geometric Evolution Flow

Abstract: What numerical characteristics do geometric shapes have? You will probably think of the length of a curve, or the volume of a 3-dimensional shape, or an angle between two directions in space. In this talk we will discuss a characteristic of curves called curvature, which measures the sharpness of a turn while moving along a path.

It turns out that this characteristic controls the process of curve evolution, called the CSF, “curve shortening flow”. We will talk about some important work that was done in the 80s on curves in R^2 and see how the CSF can reshape a curve.