The Mathematics Colloquium is directed at students and academics working in the fields of pure and applied mathematics, and statistics. 

We aim to present expository lectures that appeal to our wide audience.

Information for speakers

Information for speakers

Maths colloquia are usually held on Mondays, from 2pm to 3pm, in various locations at St Lucia.

Presentations are 50 minutes, plus five minutes for questions and discussion.

Available facilities include:

  • computer 
  • data projector
  • chalkboard or whiteboard

To avoid technical difficulties on the day, please contact us in advance of your presentation to discuss your requirements.


Dr Cecilia Gonzalez Tokman
+61 7 336 53271
Dr Dietmar Oelz
+61 7 336 53262

Using Stein’s Equation in Simulation - Sheldon Ross (University of Southern California)

23 July 2018 2:00pm
Stein’s Poisson equation was developed to enable one to bound the error in approximating the distribution of the sum of Bernoulli random variables by a Poisson distribution. In this talk we explain how Stein’s equation is derived and then show how it can be utilized in simulation. In particular we present evidence that our approach based on the Stein equation results in simulation estimators with extremely small variances when compared with other approaches. We will indicate this both analytically and empirically. We will discuss applications to such problems as determining the number of times that successive partial sums of random variables fall outside of defined limits; analyzing generalized birthday and coupon collecting problems; determining the probability that a reliability system functions, and determining the distribution of the time until a pattern appears in Markov chain generated data

Mathematics of Swimming: Why do the Limbs of Krill Move like a Wave? Speaker: Calvin Zhang (University of Arizona)

30 July 2018 2:00pm
Antarctic krill spend the majority of their life swimming across the ocean and use about 70% of their energy expenditure on swimming. These beautiful creatures, along with other long-tailed crustaceans (such as crayfish), swim with a remarkable stroke pattern known as the metachronal propulsion. Unlike rowing, in which the crew dip their oars into the water synchronously, the limbs in crustaceans move with a 20-25% phase difference, with the more posterior limb leading the cycle. This frequency-invariant coordinated motion resembles a traveling wave. Why and how do crustaceans do this? The "why" is a fluid mechanical question, whereas the "how" is a neurophysiological one, and both questions are mathematical ones!

From homotopy theory to representation theory

30 April 2018 2:00pm3:00pm
Dr Yaping Yang (University of Canterbury)

Symmetry through Geometry

23 March 2018 2:00pm3:00pm
Nalini Josh (University of Sydney)

Homotopy type theory

19 March 2018 2:00pm3:00pm
Richard Garner (Macquarie University)

Representation, optimisation and generalisation in deep learning

25 January 2018 3:00pm4:00pm
Professor Peter Bartlett, UC Berkeley 

Honours talks

23 October 2017 2:00pm