Saturday, September 29, 2018

Data Science

The conference didn't start until noon. Marina, my Whitman colleague, wanted to go see a nearby waterfall. Since I have a car, I drove us out there to have a look. It's called Bridal Veil Falls (like so many waterfalls in this country haha). It was a couple of miles up one the of canyon roads.




It was pretty cold up there, about 45 degrees. We didn't stay up there long. We came, we saw, we took pictures, we left.

***

This conference is about incorporating data science into math curricula. It's at Utah Valley University.  The campus is lovely. The students friendly. We couldn't find the building where the conference was being held. We stopped a student to ask for directions. She tried to explain and then said, "Why don't I just walk you over there? I was just on my way to find a place to study. I can just study there." So, she walked us over there and we had a nice conversation along the way. She really seemed to like the place. She was a senior majoring in special education.

The afternoon was a series of panel discussions. A panel of industry folks talked about the skills they like to see in their employees. A panel of math professors talked about implementing data science in their departments. A panel of students in data science programs talked about their experiences. All very useful and informative to us as we think about how to set up a data science program at Whitman.

A former student Elly Farnell (nee Smith) is here. It was fun catching up with her. Also, Michael Dorff is here and it was fun catching up with him. As busy as he is, he always makes time to talk. His family is doing well. His oldest daughter, Rebecca, is now in the PhD program in math at BYU (Michael's dept). I chatted with her for a while too. I knew her when she was just a little kid back in Kentucky. She doesn't remember me though, haha.

***

This evening there was an organized dinner at the Sundance Resort about 15 miles out of town (actually up the same canyon road as Bridal Veil Falls). This is the same resort where the Sundance Film Festival is held (or was, it's been moved to Park City). It's a beautiful, rustic resort and ski lodge. Here's a random water feature on the resort property:
Dinner was good. To my right was a USC math prof, Eric Friedlander. I talked about USC with him for a bit. Nice guy. Not sure if Emily ever had a class with him though.

***

Back at the hotel now. Conference resumes tomorrow morning at 9am.