Hello, and Welcome to all Undergraduate and Graduate Students!
The Organizing Committee of the 54th Southeastern International Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory and Computing welcomes you, and is glad that you are here!
Student Hospitality Center
Tuesday–Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Grand Palm Room
Dr. Maria W. Provost, Assistant Director
Dr. Stephen Locke, Professor of Mathematical Sciences, FAU, and SEICCGTC Organizing Committee
We invite you to look around our website and see all that we have to offer young mathematicians like yourself! We encourage you to participate by bringing your research and making a presentation. As a student, You are invited to submit an abstract for one of our contributed paper sessions, and you may also choose to submit that paper for our "Best Student Paper" competition. Either way, you can submit the full paper for consideration for publication in Springer PROMS.
We are looking for new results and high quality exposition in Combinatorics, Graph Theory and Computing.
Information and Instructions
Purpose of this event : To celebrate and encourage research that involves students at both graduate and undergraduate levels in the areas of Combinatorics, Graph Theory and Computing, and to acknowledge the work being done by the next generation of mathematicians. The Best Student Paper competition consists of two major parts. The first is to give a 15-minute presentation on your research at the conference. The second is to submit a full paper that will be judged in the competition and also be eligible for publication in the journal Congressus Numerantium.
Instructions for Submission Form:
Student Name and e-mail address
Supporting faculty member name, institution and e-mail address
Title of the student paper
Student involvement (attach authorship form if necessary)
Abstract Submission Requirements:
If you are a typical reader of this blog, then you recently wrapped up your finals week and then dutifully made a summer plan. And then came the summer. Your plan may have involved working on a manuscript, preparing for a qualifying exam or a new course coming up in the fall, drafting a grant proposal, learning a new language (human or machine), eating kale in four different forms, and perhaps some fun times under the sun. Some, like me, also made plans to travel to conferences and give talks. Gearing up to get ready for my first conference of the summer, I thought about some of the best and the worst math talks I have witnessed. And I said to myself: “Self, you have surely seen the worst!” But why? Why do so many mathematicians give truly disastrous talks? Maybe we should talk about talks a bit.
There are some commonalities in all the good talks I have seen. Below I list a few characteristics of a good talk:
The web is full of great suggestions about how to prepare successful presentations. Some are clearly intended for non-academic audiences, but they may still have some good ideas for you to ponder. And some of these may seem to be focusing exclusively on Powerpoint, and almost all math people will immediately roll their eyes at that, but the perspective gained from giving a good presentation in one context does carry over to other contexts; see for instance Jeana Mastrangeli’s article PowerPoint Unveils Coordinate Confusion for some great tips learned from a job in the industry that carry over well to the academic context. And you can find more tips on academic blogs and other sites for an academic audience, for instance on general presentation tips, on how not to use Powerpoint in the academic context. on how to give a fabulous academic presentation, and more specifically on how to create a presentation out of a completed paper.
Now besides these general-purpose advice articles, you might wish to know just what is out there on math talks specifically. If so, you should check out these AMS-sanctioned suggestions on presenting papers. A great resource for good advice on anything math-related is Terence Tao’s blog, and as expected he has some substantive things to say about how to give a good math talk. Another great resource for the fundamentals of giving a good math talk is Technically Speaking, an NSF-funded project aiming to improve the oral communication skills of STEM undergraduates. Though intended mainly for undergraduate math majors, the short videos on this site are eye-opening for most people, and not only for those who are new to giving math talks.
Friends and colleagues may have more pointed suggestions; my favorite is a list by Bill Ross (University of Richmond). I totally agree with him in all the specifics, in particular about not including any proofs in a 20-minute talk. If you insist that your proof is the most elegant and the most intellectually satisfying proof on earth, then bring along copies of your paper to share with your audience after the talk. If you really really really have to, and if you are ok with upsetting Bill, then go ahead and do include an outline of the proof in one slide, but please do not spend more than a tenth of your time on this outline (about as much as a slide deserves).
Now if you are speaking at a specialized session (with the caveat that not all AMS special sessions are as specialized as you might think), and if you have a lot more time than 20 minutes, you might want to focus on your proof a bit more. This is understandable. Proof is the heart of what most academic mathematicians do, so it is natural that you want to share your life’s work with your colleagues. Just be aware that you might lose some of your audience when you do that. It is unavoidable. But it may be worth it. You will probably even have people come up to you later on and ask you detailed questions about one of your technical lemmas, to leave you convinced that at least some of those people with the closed eyes had indeed been awake, for at least some of the time.
Coming back to the practice issue: I won’t suggest that you need 10,000 hours of practice, but it is always a good idea to do a complete run-through of your talk beforehand. Especially if you have not yet given over thirty talks in your career, you need to practice. Even if you have been a celebrated teaching assistant for years, even if you have taught your own classes for a couple years with no serious blunder, if you have not stood in front of a mathematical audience to talk about your work for over thirty times, then you have to practice. Find someone to listen to you. And time yourself. Everybody understands and nobody will blame you if you are nervous during your talk, but almost everyone will be quite annoyed if you go over time. Conference regulars in each sub-discipline know who gives great talks and who always goes over time. You can guess whose talks are well attended and whose are avoided like the dusty reruns of a decade-old reality show.
Keep in mind that you also do not want to be late to your own talk. So find out where the talk is, and visit the room before the day of your talk. If the organizers requested it, it helps to send them a copy of your talk ahead of time (another reason why it is a good idea to prepare your slides before the night before your talk!); this ensures that the transitions between speakers will not cost you precious time.
Now after all that hard work, it is still possible that you could go to your conference room on the day of your talk and then face this:
“Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham
So sit back, relax, and just try to enjoy the conference. The talk, if well-prepared, will almost certainly be a good one, and if not, there will surely be a chance for a do-over.