BAMA presents, absolutely free

Francis Edward Su

Harvey Mudd College
Who will show us

"How to Cut a Cake (and Other Things) Fairly:
The Mathematics of Conflict Resolution"

At San Jose State University
in the Engineering Auditorium room 189
on Wednesday November 3, 2004
at 7:30 pm

You and a friend are sharing a cake and wish to know how to split the cake in such a way that both of you are happy with the piece you get. The age-old answer is: "one cuts, the other chooses." But what if three or more people are involved? Upon reflection you will see that this problem is a bit more complicated. In fact, the general n-person case was not solved until 1995. In this talk, I will discuss some of the algorithms that have been developed for "fair division" of entities, which involves ideas from many areas of mathematics. These procedures have found applications in economics, political science, negotiation analysis, as well as in a problem that every student faces--- the "rent division" problem: how to split the rent so that housemates will prefer different rooms.

Francis Su is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. He earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics at Harvard University. His current research interests are in geometric combinatorics and applications to mathematical economics, and many of his papers have been coauthored with undergraduates. He has received recognition for his writing and his teaching from the Mathematical Association of America, who awarded him the Merten M. Hasse Prize in 2001 (for excellence in expository writing) and the Henry L. Alder Award in 2004 (for excellence in teaching). In his spare time he enjoys writing music, photography, outdoor sports, and deep theological discussions.

How to get to San Jose State University:
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Last revised on 4 October 2004