Title: ECMWF: Numerical Earth System Modelling, impact of observations and applications
Title: The beauty of fractals.
Our speaker for the Seventh Annual Distinguished Morley Seminar was Professor Gwyneth Stallard, OBE, Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University. The Seminar was held on Wednesday 23rd October 2019.
Abstract: In this talk we discuss the fascinating structure of geometrical objects known as fractals, beginning with classic fractal sets such as Cantor sets and the von Koch snowflake. We will then explore fractals which arise as Julia sets in the subject of complex dynamics. These are sets on which the iterates of a function behave chaotically and they have structures such as a Cantor bouquet and an infinite spider's web. Major advances in complex dynamics have often come from applications of powerful techniques in topology and complex analysis, and have also led to new results in complex analysis with wider applications.
Gwyneth read mathematics at King's College, Cambridge finishing in 1985 and earned her PhD from Imperial College London in 1991. When Gwyneth became a Professor of Mathematics at the Open University, she became the first woman to be a professor in the department. Her research is in the area of complex dynamics and concerns the iteration of transcendental meromorphic functions; she is particularly interested in the possible dimensions of the Julia set and in the structure of the escaping set. She was awarded the Whitehead Prize in 2000.
Gwyneth has a long standing interest in the issues surrounding women's careers in mathematics and chaired the London Mathematical Society's Women in Mathematics Committee from 2006 to 2015. This work was recognized by the award of an OBE in 2015. In 2016, she was honoured as part of the Suffrage Science Scheme and was among 12 women receiving awards to celebrate their scientific achievements in maths and computing, and their ability to inspire others.
Title: When to trust a self-driving car...
Marta Kwiatkowska spearheaded the development of probabilistic and quantitative methods in verification on the international scene. She led the development of the PRISM model checker, the leading software tool in the area and widely used for research and teaching and winner of the HVC 2016 Award. Applications of probabilistic model checking have spanned communication and security protocols, nanotechnology designs, power management, game theory, planning and systems biology, with genuine flaws found and corrected in real-world protocols. Kwiatkowska gave the Milner Lecture in 2012 in recognition of "excellent and original theoretical work which has a perceived significance for practical computing" and was invited to give keynotes at the LICS 2003, ESEC/FSE 2007, ETAPS/FASE 2011, ATVA 2013, ICALP 2016 and CAV 2017 conferences.
Marta Kwiatkowska is the first female winner of the 2018 Royal Society Milner Award and Lecture. She is a Fellow of ACM, member of Academia Europea, Fellow of EATCS and Fellow of the BCS. She serves on editorial boards of several journals, including Information and Computation, Formal Methods in System Design, Logical Methods in Computer Science, Science of Computer Programming and Royal Society Open Science journal. Kwiatkowska's research has been supported by grant funding from EPSRC, ERC, EU, DARPA and Microsoft Research Cambridge, including the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant VERIWARE "From software verification to everyware verification" and the EPSRC Programme Grant on Mobile Autonomy.
Title: "Physics, meteorology, the Sun and how I ended up in an exciting career I didn't anticipate"
Title: "Meeting the Scientific and Policy Changes of the Antarctic Ozone Hole: A Global Success Story"
Professor Alison Etheridge FRS (Professor of Probability and Deputy Head of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division of the University of Oxford and Fellow by Special Election at Magdalen College) gave the 2015 Edith Morley Seminar on Wednesday 30 September in Meteorology.
Abstract: Since the pioneering work of Fisher, Haldane and Wright at the beginning of the 20th Century, mathematics has played a central role in theoretical population genetics. One of the outstanding successes is Kingman's coalescent. This process provides a simple and elegant description of the way in which individuals in a population are related to one another. It is based on the simplest possible model of inheritance and is parametrised in terms of a single number, the population size. However, in using the Kingman coalescent as a model of real populations, one does not substitute the actual census population size, but rather an 'effective' population size which somehow captures the evolutionary forces that are omitted from the model.
It is astonishing that this works; the effective population size is typically orders of magnitude different from the census population size. In order to understand the apparent universality of the Kingman coalescent, we need models that incorporate things like variable population size, natural selection and spatial and genetic structure. Some of these are well established, but, until recently, a satisfactory approach to populations evolving in a spatial continuum has proved surprisingly elusive. In this talk we describe a framework for modelling spatially distributed populations that was introduced in joint work with Nick Barton (IST Austria). As time permits we'll not only describe the application to genetics, but also some of the intriguing mathematical properties of some of the resulting models.
2015 Morley Distinguished Seminar: Professor Alison Etheridge FRS (centre) - Professor Simon Chandler-Wilde (left) - Professor Ben Cosh (right)
Title: "Weather forecasting and climate prediction: Recent successes and future prospects"
Professor Julia Slingo (Chief Scientist at the Met Office and Visiting Professor at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading) gave the second Morley Distinguished Lecture at the University of Reading on 18 March 2014.
Professor Slingo's lecture addressed a selection of recent scientific advances from the Met Office science programme including new developments in local scale weather forecasting, seasonal prediction and the pause in global surface warming. Julia's presentation looked at some of the new developments on the horizon and how increased supercomputer power would help.
2014 Morley Distinguished Seminar: Sir David Bell, KCB (Vice-Chancellor), Professor Julia Slingo (Chief Scientist at the Met Office and Visiting Professor at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading) and Professor Simon Chandler-Wilde (Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences).
Title: "The unfinished story of a popular yet controversial method for derivative-free optimization"
Professor Margaret H. Wright, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
First published in 1965, the Nelder-Mead "Simplex" algorithm remains, after almost 50 years, one of the most widely used methods for derivative-free optimization, despite known flaws such as stagnation and slow/failed convergence. Although its implementation is straightforward, researchers have struggled to obtain minimal convergence results and (even harder) to explain its observed performance, which varies from successful to erratic. This talk will touch on selected interesting properties of the Nelder-Mead method.
2013 Morley Distinguished Seminar:
Professor Margaret Wright (Silver Professor of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University), Professor Simon Chandler-Wilde (Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences), Emeritus Professor Roger Mead (formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading), and Professor Christine Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation.