Skip to main content

Milne Lectures

Portrait of William Edmund Milne.

The Milne Lectures is a collaborative series of distinguished lectures launched in 1981 to honor founding Mathematics Department Chair William Edmond (Ted) Milne. A pioneer in numerical analysis, Milne was known around the world for the “Milne method” of solving differential equations, for his three textbooks and many technical papers.

Support for this lecture series comes from a generous gift from the Milne family as well as support from the College of Science’s Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, the College of Engineering‘s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and from OSU’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.

Join us for our next Milne Lecture in 2023

Information coming soon.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Michael I Jordan from University of California, Berkeley joined us to present "On Computational Thinking, Inferential Thinking and Data Science."

The rapid growth in the size and scope of datasets in science and technology has created a need for novel foundational perspectives on data analysis that blend the inferential and computational sciences. That classical perspectives from these fields are not adequate to address emerging problems in "Big Data" is apparent from their sharply divergent nature at an elementary level — in computer science, the growth of the number of data points is a source of "complexity" that must be tamed via algorithms or hardware, whereas in statistics, the growth of the number of data points is a source of "simplicity" in that inferences are generally stronger and asymptotic results can be invoked. On a formal level, the gap is made evident by the lack of a role for computational concepts such as "runtime" in core statistical theory and the lack of a role for statistical concepts such as "risk" in core computational theory. I present several research vignettes aimed at bridging computation and statistics, including the problem of inference under privacy and communication constraints, and methods for trading off the speed and accuracy of inference.

On Monday, November 23, 2015, Peter Bickel from The University of California, Berkeley joined us to present "Statistics, the transfer science, Big Data, and an experience with ENCODE."

Using examples, I’ll argue that statistics/data science is the transfer agent for methodology having to do with extracting information from aggregates. I’ll discuss the new challenges posed by “big” and complex data, and a contribution of my group to the ENCODE project.

On Monday, March 30, 2015, Michael S. Waterman from The University of Southern California joined us to present "DNA Sequencing in the 21st Century."

Beginning in the 1970s the ability to read DNA sequences has dramatically increased. This general lecture will describe some of that development with attention on mathematical and statistical aspects. After the Human Genome Project new technologies (known as Next Generation Sequencing ) have been developed. NGS has impacted the approaches to solve some basic problems that were previously considered solved.

On Tuesday, April 8, 1997, Andrew Odlyzko from the AT&T Labs joined us to present "Zeros of the Riemann Zeta Function: Conjectures and Computations."

The Riemann Hypothesis is now the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics. It has stimulated extensive computations, including development of novel algorithms that are similar to those used in astrophysical simulations and in signal processing. These computations have so far confirmed the predictions of the Riemann Hypothesis, as well as of other, even more speculative conjectures. However, there is still a serious question of what these results mean.

On Tuesday, May 18, 1993, Peter L. Montgomery from Oregon State University joined us to present "Links Between Number Thoery and Numerical Analysis."

On Monday, January 8, 1990, Persi Diaconis from Harvard University joined us to present "The Search for Randomness."

On Tuesday, October 18, 1988, Stephen Smale from University of California-Berkeley joined us to present "On the Mathematics of Computation."

On Wednesday, May 18, 1988, Ron Graham from AT&T Bell Labs joined us to present "Computers & Combinations."

On Tuesday, November 18, 1986, David Blackwell from University of California-Berkeley joined us to present "Are Probability Limits Identifiable?"

On Tuesday, March 5, 1985, Werner C. Rheinboldt from University of Pittsburgh joined us to present "Some Computational Studies of Bifurcation Phenomena."

On Tuesday, May 22, 1984, Dr. Ralph L. London from Tektronix, Inc. joined us to present "Understanding Computers Using Algorithmic and Mathematical Ideas."

On Tuesday, May 5, 1981, Richard M. Karp from University of California, Berkeley joined us to present "Algorithms That Toss Coins."