Mathematics Events

Beling Lecture Series

Fall 2022 lectures

Every Tuesday 12:15-1:00 in CNS E204

September 20 through November 1, 2022

Computational Complexity Seminar

Dr. Trevor Jack

Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, IWU


Computational Complexity Seminar schedule

Sept 20 – Turing Machines: Alan Turing is widely considered the father of computer science and formalized a mathematical definition for computers, allowing mathematicians to analyze their theoretical limitations. We will discuss this definition and work through several examples.

Sept 27 – Complexity Theory: Using Turing’s formulation, mathematicians have defined a “zoo” of complexity classes. We will define several of the most common classes and give examples of problems in those classes. We will also discuss reductions, completeness, sand the famous million dollar problem P vs. NP.

Oct 11 – Rubik’s vs. Sudoku: Which puzzle is harder for a computer to solve? We will start with fun facts about the two puzzles and the difficulty of their size-3 versions. We will then define higher-order versions and demonstrate which is harder for computers to solve. For Rubik’s Cubes, we will briefly discuss groups and the Schreier-Sims algorithm.

Oct 18 – Transformation Semigroups: We will define semigroups, transformations semigroups, and decision problems involving finite semigroups. We will then review several of Dr. Jack’s complexity results and some of his shorter proofs.

Oct 25 – Partial Bijection Semigroups: We will define partial bijection semigroups, their relationship with transformation semigroups, and several of Dr. Jack’s complexity results.

Nov 1 – Inverse Semigroups and Conjugacy: We will begin by defining inverse semigroups and comparing them to groups. We will then define group conjugacy and discuss several ways scholars have extended this definition to inverse semigroups. We will conclude with a review of key results for this new field of study.


Monday, November 7, 2022 at 4pm

Ramanujan: More Than a Century of Inspiration

Dr. Bruce Berndt

Professor Emeritus, UIUC


Previous Beling Lectures

August 8, 2022

Stochastic and Deterministic Models of Biochemical Reaction Networks

Dr. Tung D. Nguyen ‘15

Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Texas A&M University


Glenn Harris Beling lecture fall 2020


Two talks by Dr. Eugenia Cheng
February 12, 2020

Eugenia Cheng IWU talk

Eugenia Cheng ISU talk

A Matter of Gravity lecture on Nov 1 4-5 PM
First Beling lecture of the year: Prof. Steven Krantz from Washington University in St. Louis.   Image credit: Panxi Chen '20.


November 1, 2019: A Matter of Gravity.  Prof. Steven Krantz, Washington University in St. Louis.  


January 16, 2020: Introduction to Chemical Reaction Network TheoryTung Nguyen '16, University of Wisconsin -- Madison.


February 13, 2020: The Favorite Sites of Random Walks.  Prof. Steven Noren, Illinois Wesleyan University.


March 2020: Title TBA.  Prof. Bruce Berndt, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.






math cookout 2019
Titan Analytics cookout to kickoff the year.  Image credit: Panxi Chen '20.

The Putnam Exam

This is one of the most challenging math exams in the world.  Undergraduates all across the US and Canada participate.  Prof. Shallue has organized a weekly practice session through the fall 2019 semester. 

The MATH Challenge

This is a regional team-based math contest.  Once again, Prof. Shallue has organized practice sessions for the IWU team.  If you are interested, then we are looking for more teammates.  Contact Prof. Shallue in the Computer Science department.  Side note: IWU has taken first place before.