Portland State University Discrete Mathematics Seminar

Winter 2015: Neuberger Hall 373, Mondays, 4:30pm–5:30pm (previous quarters)

January 12, 2015

James Mahoney, Portland State University
Pattern or coincidence?: The strong law of small numbers

Broad areas of mathematics are devoted to discovering, describing, and proving the existence of patterns. Sometimes the general formula for a pattern can be produced after observing just a few terms. Conversely, sometimes a pattern holds for a very long time before a counterexample rears its head. In this talk I will present to you a plethora of "patterns" that arise from peculiar places. Your job will be to decide whether a pattern truly exists or if what you see is just a coincidence. This is a great opportunity to test your mathematical intuition as well as to see some interesting problems. Answers and explanations will be provided at the end, and there is a prize!