In this talk we will take a look at different ways that mathematics is done using computers and networks. We will discuss some large scale distributed computing projects like GIMPS (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search), as well as other mathematical computing efforts. The talk will review the past, present, and future of the complicated but deep relationship between computing and mathematics. We will also touch on some applied mathematical computations in which the speaker is currently engaged, e.g. the Humor Genome Project.
Dr. Lew Lefton has a Bachelor of Science degree in math and computer science from New Mexico Tech, and he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1987. After visiting for two years at the University of California at Riverside, he took a position in the mathematics department at the University of New Orleans. In 1999, he moved to Georgia Tech where is currently a faculty member in the School of Mathematics and the Assistant Dean for Information Technology in the College of Sciences.
Lefton's research interests are in scientific computing, parallel processing, numerical analysis, and applied mathematics. He has authored many articles and the textbook "Introduction to Parallel and Vector Scientific Computing". He is also a co-founder of the Humor Genome Project, where he works with Georgia Tech students to explore aspects of computational humor, data analytics, and applications of humor and improvisation.
Lefton's interest in comedy stems from his professional life outside of traditional academics. He is an accomplished and experienced comedian who has done stand up and improv comedy for over 30 years. He is well known for his engaging style of geeky comedy, and he may just be the funniest mathematician in America (albeit a low bar). Lefton has also been actively involved with many STEAM outreach efforts including the Atlanta Science Festival and as a leader in the maker community in the greater Atlanta area. He is a co-founder and acting executive director of Decatur Makers, a family-friendly makerspace in downtown Decatur and a co-organizer of Maker Faire Atlanta.
Perhaps his unique talents are best summed up by his business card which reads:
"He's funny and he can prove it"