PIMS - UNBC Distinguished Colloquium: Steven J. Miller CANCELLED

  • Date: 11/14/2019
  • Time: 14:30
Steven J. Miller, Williams College

University of Northern British Columbia


Benford's Law: Why the IRS should care about the 3x+1 problem and ΞΆ(s) (and you should too!)


Please note that this event will be rescheduled after UNBC's Faculty Association returns to work.




Many systems exhibit a digit bias. For example, the fi rst digit base 10 of the Fibonacci numbers or of 2n equals 1 about 30% of the time; the IRS uses this digit bias to detect fraudulent corporate tax returns. This phenomenon, known as Benford's Law, was fi rst noticed by observing which pages of log tables were most worn from age - it's a good thing there were no calculators 100 years ago! We'll discuss the general theory and application, talk about some fun examples (ranging from the 3x+1 problem to the Riemann zeta function to partition problems inspired by physics), and discuss some current open problems as time permits.



Speaker Biography:
Steven J. Miller is a professor of Mathematics at Williams College. He received a bachelor degree in Mathematics and Physics from Yale in 1996 and a PhD in Mathematics from Princeton in 2002. Dr. Miller's research interests cover a vast range of mathematical areas such as Additive, Analytic, Combinatorial and computational Number Theory, Probability Theory, Random Matrix Theory, Random Graphs, Benford's law, Cryptography and Operations Research. He has also collaborated on various projects in Accounting, Computer Science, Economics, Marketing, Physics, Sabermetrics and Statistics. Dr Miller has written over 140 research articles and 6 books. He has also supervised more than 400 high school, undergraduate and graduate students in research projects. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, a Senator at Large for Phi Beta Kappa, and serves on the Mt Greylock Regional School Committee, where he has applied mathematics to advance a $60 million dollar middle/high school building project and to successfully regionalize three school districts.

Other Information: 

This is the inaugural Distinguished Lecture at UNBC. We look forward to hosting many more.

Location: UNBC Agora 7-158