Speaker: Jonathan Kane

Abstract (or see the poster): Some teachers will drop one or more grades earned during a course in order to help raise students' grades. In this talk we consider the problem of finding the best r grades to drop from a collection of k grades. Many examples will be given showing that when the k grades are not all worth the same number of points, the optimal solution can be non-intuitive and tricky to identify. Many of our natural assumptions about how to find the best solution prove to be wrong. A brute-force algorithm for finding the best grades to drop would be to calculate the average grade for each subset of k - r grades of the k grades. This algorithm is inefficient and impractical to use. The talk will include a very efficient algorithm which works well in practice.

Prof. Kane will also give a short introduction about the Purple Comet! Math Meet. This is a free, annual, international, online, team, mathematics competition designed for middle and high school students run from the web site http://purplecomet.org. The 2013 contest runs from the evening of Monday April 16 through the evening of Thursday April 26. To keep the contest running smoothly the organizers will hire mathematics students to monitor the helpline during the entire eleven days of the contest, 24/7. Come and find out how you can help, earn money, and sign up for what hours you would like to work.

Free Pizza will be served.

**When:** Monday, February 18, 4:35 p.m. **Where:** Room 901 Van Vleck.