Department of Mathematics FAS Harvard University One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA Tel: (617) 495-2171 Fax: (617) 495-5132

Math table of February 5, 2019

Garrett Brown, Harvard Undergraduate will talk about Error Correcting Codes:

Imagine you as a child have developed a secret code with a friend that you wish to transmit over a string telephone. The problem is, string telephones aren't always quite clear, and your friend doesn't always receive the message perfectly. To solve this problem, you would like to develop a system where the message itself has added information (e.g. repetition) that makes it easier for your friend to correct a mistake if it should occur. This is the essence of error correcting codes. Error correcting codes are a surprising application of linear algebra to solve a discrete problem. In particular, it is an example of why linear algebra in its most general form is developed with the set of scalars being a field rather than just R or C. This talk will assume only that the audience has an idea of vectors in R n, and matrices with real entries. Food will be served