MUMS Talk February 14 – Paul Sacawa: “Universal Algebra using the language of Category Theory”

Hi everyone,

The next Mums talk will occur next Friday 14. It will be an introduction to the principles of universal algebra using categorical notions. In particular, we want to impress on the listener the importance of the notion of universal constructions in algebra. The beauty of universal algebra and category theory lies in their broad descriptive power, rather than in their depth.

Time: 5pm – 7pm, Friday February 14, 2014
Location: TBD (somewhere in BA, check Facebook for the update)
Speaker: Paul Sacawa
Title: Universal Algebra using the Language of Category Theory

Abstract: An introduction to universal algebra using the language of category theory. Cats, functors, universal constructions; omega-algebras, free objects, varieties, and the isomorphism theorems. We end by describing some universal constructions with easy descriptions in varietal categories.
Intended audience: It’s enough to know some basic algebra (which we use just as examples): group, normal subgroup, quotient group, ring, ideal, quotient ring. It would be nice to come in with the idea of categories in your head.

MUMS Talk January 24 – Paul Sacawa: “Computational Complexity and the Cook-Levin Theorem”

Hi everyone,

This talk already occurred. Here is the writeup. Notes from the available upon request (send me an email).

Time: 5pm – 7pm, Friday January 24
Location: BA 6183
Speaker: Paul Sacawa
Title: Computational Complexity and Cook-Levin Theorem

Abstract: An introduction to the modelling of computation, computability, connections to incompleteness in logic, time complexity of problems, completeness in the class NP, and a proof of the Cook-Levin theorem. We’ll end by discussing a modern approach to the famous P v. NP problem based in geometry if there’s time.
The whole talk will be very elementary.

Public lecture – Prof. James Brown: “Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning”

Hello everyone,

You are cordially invited to a free public lecture hosted by the
Mathematics Undergraduate Union. This Thursday, Nov. 28th, 4-6 pm at

The subject of the talk is “Proofs and Pictures: The Role of
Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning.” Given by
Prof. James Brown a philosopher of science and mathematics. More
details below.

Prof. James Brown is a professor of philosophy here at the University
of Toronto. His areas of interests are the philosophy of science and
the philosophy of mathematics. He is one of the foremost modern
advocates of Platonism in the philosophy of mathematics. In the
philosophy of science he is most widely known for his ideas about
thought experiments. In 2007 he was chosen to be a fellow of the Royal
Society of Canada.

Among his numerous books are “Philosophy of Mathematics: An
Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures”, “The Laboratory of
the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences”; and a new
books published in 2012: “Platonism, Naturalism, and Mathematical

MUMS Talk November 7 – Samer Seraj: “On Diffusion”

Hi everyone,

This Thursday, Samer Seraj, and undergraduate student here at UofT, will be giving a talk on his original research in cryptographic security. In his talk titled “On Diffusion”, Samer will outline the ideas of his solution to an open problem in security posed to him in an undergraduate research course. Spanning more than one year of work, Samer  prepares from his latest results, in conjunction with materials from his earlier talk in Normandy, the awaited conclusion to his research. Samer will finish his talk by proposing 3 open problems to the audience as directions for further research. This talk is accessible to math students in all years of study at UofT.


Time: 4pm – 5pm, Thursday November 7

Location: BA B024 (Basement of Bahen centre)

Speaker: Samer Seraj

Title: On Diffusion

Abstract: We first precisely define the space and structure of cryptographic information. We then proceed to compare two rival definitions of diffusive (scrambling) functions between such spaces, and produce optimal versions of each. The interesting fact is that some use the two definitions interchangeably, but they are quite different. Finally, we propose new directions of research and open problems. The material is from a paper by the speaker, under the supervision of Dr. Kumar Murty.

First years welcome social

The Math Union will be holding a casual social in the Undergraduate Specialist Lounge (BA6202) this Friday from 4:30 to 7:30 as a welcome event for first year mathematics students. There will be drinks and desserts served in the Mathematics Graduate Lounge at 5pm. Drop by BA6202 and meet fellow math students!

First MUMs talk of the year: History of Mathematics Education

Hello! Welcome back to the new school year!

Coming this Friday September 20th, we have a guest speaker, Mariya Boyko, a PhD student in History of Mathematics.

The MUMs talk will be at 5-6pm in BA6183.

Here is the abstract for the talk!!

The 1950s and 1960s were marked by education reforms in US and USSR. Those changes to the curriculum originated in a desire to connect mathematics education at all levels to what was happening in “modern” research mathematics. The reforms were very fortunate to enjoy vastly increased financial resources that were devoted to science education because of concerns arising in the Cold War, the “space race”, “arms race” and general public unrest. We will discuss the mathematics curriculum reforms promoted by professor of mathematics A. Kolmogorov in its intellectual, political and social context, explore Kolmogorov’s pedagogical innovations and trace the development of his ideas to the present day mathematics curriculum in Russia and the USA.

Mock CUMC Announcement

Hello everyone,

MUMs is proud to announce to host Mock CUMC!!

This event is in the spirit of upcoming CUMC.

Since not everyone can make it to CUMC for this year, the purpose of Mock CUMC is to have student speakers in CUMC from UofT to give a talk in the University of Toronto. Any Undergraduates in UofT are welcome!

For now, the schedule is the following:

  • Tuesday July 2nd, BA6180, 3-4pm: Samer Seraj
  • Friday July 5th, BA4010: Anne Dranovski at 1-2pm, Seonghyun (Daniel) Park at 2-3pm, and Matt Sourisseau at 3-4pm
  • Monday July 8th, BA4010: Christopher Mahadeo at 1-2pm, Changho Han at 2-3pm, and Dylan Butson at 3-4pm
  • Tuesday July 9th, BA6180, 3-4pm: Tomas Kojar

Talk topics and abstracts will be available soon.

Stay tuned~

CUMC 2013

The CUMC is an annual conference for undergraduate students interested in mathematics. Asides from being an opportunity to meet aspiring and established mathematicians from across Canada, it’s a great way to learn awesome new math, and an excellent place to present a talk. The Math Union is putting together a dream-team of motivated undergraduates to represent U of T at this year’s conference in Montréal.

Thanks for participating! Application is now closed.

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