POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -Computer Scientist Margaret Wright of NYU will present real world applications of mathematics in February in the Computer Science and Mathematics Departments annual Asprey lectures (Feb 19, 20). The lectures are free and open to the public. Professor Wright's February 19 lecture will begin at 5:00pm in Rockefeller Hall, room 300, and her second lecture on February 20 will take place in Rockefeller 300 at 3:30pm.

On Thursday, February 19, Professor Wright will discuss "The Remarkable Saga of Linear Programming: the Problem, the Methods, the Continuing Mysteries." Linear programming, or LP, is arguably the most important application of the mathematical sciences. Essentially, it determines how to achieve the best outcome, such as maximum profit or lowest cost, in a given mathematical model. LP models are routinely used in business, engineering, energy, telecommunications, and manufacturing. But for many computer scientists, LP remains a controversial, perplexing application. Wright will examine these issues in her lecture.

Professor Wright's second Asprey Lecture, is entitled "Non-Derivative Optimization: Mathematics, Heuristics, or Hack?" This talk will briefly survey the current state of the art of non-derivative optimization methods, trying along the way to highlight a few of the interesting open mathematical questions. It is intended for an audience with some sophistication in mathematics.

ABOUT MARGARET WRIGHT

Wright is Silver Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, and Chair of the Computer Science Department. Before joining NYU in 2002, she worked at Bell Laboratories (Lucent Technologies), where she headed the Scientific Computing Research Department and was named a Bell Labs Fellow.

Currently a member of the advisory committee for the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Wright also serves on the Board of Governors of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in Minnesota and the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Research Foundation Research Center Matheon, a mathematics institute in Berlin whose focus is to develop mathematics for key technologies. In addition, she has served as the president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and has chaired the advisory committee for the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the 2006 Nevanlinna Prize Committee of the International Mathematical Union. She recently served on the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science, and the National Science Foundation Blue Ribbon Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. Professor Wright was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (1997), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001), and the National Academy of Sciences (2005).

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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.