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SIAM Chapter Seminar

Glenn Young
University of Pittsburgh
Title: Modeling Extinction Events with a Galton-Watson Process

Abstract: Galton-Watson processes were introduced by Sir Francis Galton and Reverend Henry William Watson in the mid 1870s as a method of investigating the extinction probabilities of family names. In the 1.4 centuries since, mathematicians and others have applied Galton Watson theory to study Y-chromosome transmission in genetics, the propagation of cancer cells, and the spread of AIDS, to name a few examples. In this talk, I will formulate and discuss the mathematics behind the classic Galton-Watson model and derive the probability that a surname goes extinct (or equivalently and more happily, survives). I will then present recent results on an application of Galton-Watson theory to the study of disease transmission in a well mixed human population. The first 80% of this talk should be accessible to anyone who has passed calculus I and has seen power series, and the last 20% will rely on some basic differential equations/dynamical systems.

Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Wean Hall 8220