University News

Mathematics Lecture is April 24 at WIU

April 8, 2014

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MACOMB, IL — Western Illinois University's Office of Student Activities, Visiting Lectures Committee, the School of Computer Science and Information Systems and the Departments of Economics and Decisions Sciences and Mathematics are sponsoring the joint lecture, "Mathematical Models: Uses, Abuses and Non-Uses" at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, April 24 in Morgan 101A.

The speaker, Andrew Odlyzko, is a professor in the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics. He is also the current vice president of the American Mathematical Society.

While at the University of Minnesota, Odlyzko has been the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Digital Technology Center, interim director of the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute and the assistant vice president for research (2001-2008). Earlier he devoted 26 years to research and research management at Bell Telephone Laboratories, AT&T Bell Labs and AT&T Labs. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from CalTech and his Ph.D. from MIT.

Odlyzko will discuss models and how they are indispensable, but have to be used with caution. Some early quantitative models from the early history of British railways, related to the ubiquitous gravity models of transportation, urban planning, spacial economics and other related areas will be presented. This will demonstrate how even clearly false models can be useful and how sometimes they are misused or not used.

This event is open free to the public. For more information, contact Melissa Wayland at (309) 298-1054 or at

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Office of University Communications & Marketing