Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Department of Mathematics and Statistics
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Department News & Events

Department News & Events

Machine learning lands Canadian Researchers $1M Turing Award

Machine Learning

March 27th, 2019

Three researchers, two of them Canadian, have won the world's top award in computer science for developing the ability of computers to learn like humans, by imitating the human brain and how it functions using networks of "neurons." 

That allows computers to acquire new skills by looking at lots of examples and finding and recognizing patterns, as humans do.

Machine learning — based on "deep learning" and "neural networks" —  has led to the development of artificial intelligence that now powers everyday web and smartphone applications from voice, image and facial recognition to language translation. It's increasingly being used in more complicated tasks like generating art, creating text and diagnosing cancer from images.

Read more here...

Source:  The CBC


Your Academic Success (YAS) survey

Students in Classroom

March 25th, 2019

The ‘Your Academic Success (YAS)’ survey is part of a longitudinal cohort study being conducted by the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University that aims to look at how undergraduate students are thriving academically. The findings of the study will help inform the design and delivery of key academic support services.

The survey will be open until March 25, 2019, takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, and all answers are confidential.  Students who fill out the survey can choose to enter a draw to win one of 30 $30 Campus Bookstore gift cards.

Start the Your Academic Success survey here


Google employee breaks world record for calculating pi

Pi-Day image

March 14th, 2019

A Google employee has broken the world record for calculating pi just in time for the mind-bogglingly long number's special day.

Emma Haruka Iwao spent four months working on the project in which she calculated pi to 31.4 trillion digits.

Pi holds a special place in the realm of math. It's an irrational number that continues infinitely without repetition. You calculate it by dividing a circle's circumference by its diameter.

Iwao did her number crunching primarily from Google's office in Osaka, Japan, where she works at as a developer and advocate for Google Cloud. Fittingly, she used 25 Google Cloud virtual machines to generate the enormously long number. It's the first pi record calculated on the cloud.

Read more here: San Francisco (CNN Business)


Queen's University Scientista present annual luncheon, Facing Forward

Queen's University Scientista present its 3rd annual discussion panel luncheon, Facing Forward

March 2nd, 2019

Queen's University Scientista is thrilled to present its 3rd annual discussion panel luncheon, FACING FORWARD. Through an invigorating discussion between five diverse panelists from different sectors of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) along with two keynote speakers, we hope to empower individuals to Face Forward with us as we look into the future of women in STEMM. 

Scientista was established with the purpose of providing women in science with the resources and support necessary to help them succeed in their current and future endeavors. With this event, we aspire to promote the advancement of undergraduate and graduate women in STEMM as well as connect them to a larger network of women in these fields.

We invite you to join us at the Delta for an afternoon of enlightening discussion, lunch buffet, a raffle draw and much more to do just that!

Early Bird Tickets are $15 and are only available until February 9th in the link as follows:
Regular ticket sales will commence during February 11-15 in the ARC, so keep an eye out!

For more information, please visit out Facebook event page at:

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

As always, please follow and keep up to date with our social media links regarding further inquiries and event information.

INSTAGRAM: @scientista.queensu


Math and Engineering Student part of gold-medal winning QGEM Team

Math and Engineering Student part of multi-disciplinary gold-medal winning QGEM Team

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Eric Grewal is a fourth-year student in the Math and Engineering program, specializing in computing and communications. This year he put his sophisticated modelling skills to work with the Queen’s Genetically Engineered Machine team (QGEM).

QGEM is an undergraduate research and design team with a prestigious pedigree. Each year, a new team is chosen to plan and execute a project using synthetic biology to tackle real world problems in medicine, sustainability, and more. In several recent years the team has won gold at the International Genetically Engineered Machine jamboree held in Boston. This year they were the only team in Ontario to receive a gold medal.

This year, the team developed a pacifier that detects the stress hormone cortisol in babies’ saliva, and transfers the levels to a mobile device. It’s not hard to imagine how much parents would appreciate this innovation. Team leader Elisha Krauss told the Queen’s Journal that he met with members of Autism Ontario over the summer. He said parents of children with autism who are non-communicative were "blown away" by this potential tool for understanding their children’s wellbeing.

So how did Eric’s mathematical skills contribute to this ingenious device? The team comprised biologists, computer scientists, and mathematician Eric. Being able to communicate across disciplines was crucial, Eric says. "As a team we all had to understand what the problem was that we were trying to solve. I had little biology knowledge beyond high school, but had team members who were very knowledgeable in the subject. We were able to perform effectively because the team was able to teach others the relevant knowledge to their field, which allowed everyone to have a more in-depth view. For example, a biologist would explain a concept to a Biology and Computing student, who could then explain the problem to me in terms that I understood, allowing me to create a model." Specific mathematical learning that Eric applied to the problem included ordinary differential equations, Brownian motion and random walks.

More broadly, he applied the mindset that math and engineering has taught him; stepping up to solve big, open-ended problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable problems. Eric loves the challenge of the Math and Engineering program. He finds it equips students with skills that give them a head start in the job market. When he worked a summer job at a financial firm, he was recognized for problem solving ability way beyond what was expected from an undergraduate. The skills he has learned have a wide range of applications, from modelling complex solutions to measure babies’ hormone levels, to applying machine learning to the stock market – Eric’s undergraduate thesis project.   

For anyone interested in joining the QGEM team, Eric recommends asking for volunteer positions and being persistent – the team is competitive to get into, but very rewarding if you do.

Credit: Queen’s Journal November 9 2018.