Ways of using various mathematical models will be the topic of the next in the Fishbowl colloquium series at Unity College.

Dr. Meredith L. Greer, Bates College professor of mathematics, will present “Agent-Based Models in Ecology and Epidemiology.” The program is 11 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, March 15, in Parsons Wing Room 204 of the Student Activities Center.

Mathematical models can take many forms. Some look at behavior of whole populations, seeking a story about what happens on average. Some allow for a few groups to exhibit different traits. Some permit every individual to manifest unique behavior. Some rely heavily on data and statistics, and some use very few numbers at all.

In this talk, Greer will focus mainly on agent-based models (or ABMs), explaining what they are and how they compare with other commonly-used models. Attendees will see several examples of ABMs, learn how each works, and posit real-time guesses at their outcomes. A peek behind the scenes at the types of data generated by ABMs will suggest several ways these data can be analyzed and visualized to improve system understanding.

Greer joined the Mathematics Department at Bates in 2002 and chaired the department from 2011 to 2015. In fall 2015, she co-led a semester-long program in Berlin, Germany, in which students studied German language, culture, and mathematics. Professor Greer also maintains a mathematical biology research program focusing on epidemiology and ecology. Current projects include dynamics of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak and effects of the cyanobacteria Gloeotrichia echinulata on lake eutrophication.

Unity Fishbowl Talks is a colloquium series for Unity College faculty and invited outside speakers to discuss ideas on pedagogy and to present their scholarly work.

These discussions and presentations address the need for a trans-disciplinary forum for teaching efforts at Unity College and also provide an interdisciplinary forum for discussions on research. It is at this intersection of teaching and research goals where speakers can make the most impact on Unity College students. A light lunch is offered prior to Fishbowl, and coffee and discussion follow the talk in the student center.

Monday, March 14, 2016