A site for the Marsden Fund projects at the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upcoming Workshop: Constructive Mathematics

"What constructive mathematicians actually do"
University of Melbourne

Maarten McKubre-Jordens, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

I) Introduction to constructive mathematics
11:00am, Monday 14 February 2011, Old Arts-227 (Cecil Scutt Collaborative Teaching Room)

In the first of this two-part workshop, constructive mathematics is characterised as reasoning from positive definitions.
Several different schools (or models) of constructive mathematics are outlined, together with a common base. Some important non-constructive principles are outlined and and their impact evaluated, from the point of view of the practising mathematician. A small amount of familiarity with classical logic and mathematics will be assumed.

II) Constructive mathematics in action

11:00am, Wednesday 16 February 2011, Old Arts-227 (Cecil Scutt Collaborative Teaching Room)

What is the constructive role of examples, and counterexamples, in mathematics? What are some common techniques for proving theorems constructively? The second part of this workshop surveys how the role of examples in mathematical thought sets apart constructive thought, and will briefly discuss some typical strategies for proving theorems. Time permitting, we will investigate the idea of reverse mathematics as practised constructively.

III) Strange encounters and the importance of constructive thought

11:00am, Friday 18 February 2011, Old Quad Moot Court

Everyone has heard of some variation of the infinite monkey theorem:

Theorem. In an infinite collection of monkeys, given typewriters and a suitable amount of time, there is a monkey that with probability 1 reproduces the entire collected works of Shakespeare.

Of course this is not rigorously worded, but you get the idea. Now, how do you find the cheeky monkey that actually did it? In this seminar we take a look at some of the stranger and more intriguing aspects of constructive analysis — such as strictly increasing bounded sequences that do not converge, and well-defined sets in R^n from which we cannot calculate distances — and discuss their impact.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 Preview: Beyond the Possible

This year is set to be a busy and productive one, with visitors, workshops, conferences, and travels. And, of course, writing up some results. A quick preview:

>> July 27 - 29: Beyond the Possible: A Conference in Memorial of Richard Sylvan, who died 15 years ago. Some big guests for this one -- more info to follow on this soon.

>> Maarten McKubre-Jordens, a constructive mathematician from Christchurch and collaborator on our paraconsistency project, will visit in February to run some workshops and give a talk.

>> Colin Caret (St Andrews) will visit in July, for work on relevant information, paradox solution, and hyperintensionality.

>> We're also looking at visits from Walter Carnielli, Juliana Bueno-Soler, and John Bell.

>> And I'll be off to the University of Connecticut, USA!, from mid March until May, as the first "Scholar of Consequence," to work with Jc Beall and the logic group there. And to give some talks at other schools in the area (including attending a Paradox and Logic Revision workshop at St Andrews -- which is "in the area" relative to Melbourne).

Contact me if with questions, ideas, interest ... and stay tuned.