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Bowdoin scholar to share math secrets

March 1, 2013

Bowdoin scholar to share math secrets

March 1, 2013

Bowdoin College Professor Jennifer Taback
Professor Jennifer Taback,
Bowdoin College

Jennifer Taback of Bowdoin College will present a talk Thursday, March 7, as part of the Seminar Series sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

“Secret Sharing Among Mathematicians” is the title of her presentation, to begin at 6 p.m. in Room 203, Harder Hall. Taback will discuss two solutions to the “Bank Teller Problem,” which she describes as follows:

“Suppose you manage the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and hold the combination to a safe containing millions, billions or perhaps even trillions of dollars (who really knows, after all?). You have n people working under you, and on any given day, k of them are at work. You can't trust any with the entire combination to the safe, but require that any set of k of these people are able to open the safe together. How can this be done?” She describes one solution as “classical, and very adaptable to other situations. The other is less so, but very, very clever.”

A professor of mathematics at Bowdoin, Taback is an expert in geometric group theory and topology. She has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation in support of her research, and has included several Bowdoin students in her work. She is widely published in journals including Journal of Algebra, Geometriae Dedicata and the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, and has presented at mathematics conferences and seminars internationally.

Taback earned a B.A in mathematics at Yale University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from the University of Chicago. She joined the Bowdoin faculty in 2002.

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