Friday Hacks Talk 16th Mar – The Mathematics of Luxury

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Talk #1 - “The Mathematics of Luxury” (by Dr Shaun Martin, Applied Cognitive Science CEO)


This week, we’ve got the CEO of Applied Cognitive Science here with an interesting topic.
Talk details:
What exactly are people buying, when they buy a Lamborghini, Rolex, or Louis Vuitton? This is a nontrivial question: US$1.3 trillion was spent on luxury goods and services in 2010, or 3.7% of global consumer spending.
In this talk Shaun will start by showing that the standard economics assumption of rational behaviour doesn’t apply to luxury goods. However, by replacing the economists’ assumption with discoveries from cognitive science, and formulating in appropriate mathematical terms, it is possible replicate and predict the structure of luxury goods markets. He will show how he and his colleagues do this, using a combination of cognitive science, mathematics, and computational modeling.

Speaker Profile:
Dr Shaun Martin is CEO and Chief Scientist of Applied Cognitive Science: a strategy and innovation research firm he co-founded in 2000. Prior to founding Applied Cognitive Science, Shaun worked in academia: holding positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Shaun holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from University of Warwick, and a Doctorate in Mathematics from University of Oxford. He has delivered invited lectures on his research at Stanford, Berkeley, Geneva, ETH Zurich, Oxford, MIT, NYU, Columbia, and Cambridge.
Applied Cognitive Science was founded to apply new discoveries in the cognitive and behavioural sciences to questions of strategy, innovation, and public policy. It achieves this by combining these discoveries with proprietary research in complex systems mathematics and computational modeling.

- Location: Seminar Room 2, UTown Education Resource Centre (ERC) Level 2 Free pizza and mingling @ 6pm General hacking commences after talk - you’re free to work on homework or personal projects, or ask for assistance from fellow programmers in attendance.
Do let us know if you are coming so that we can prepare enough food and space for everyone: //
Talk #2 - “Adding GNU Screen to your Workflow” (by Sivamani Varun, Semantics3 Founder)
This week, we’ve also got a founder of Semantics3 here with us :)
Talk details: Do you do a lot of work on the command-line through SSH? Are you looking at ways to increase your productivity while working through SSH? Varun will be talking about a really cool tool called GNU Screen which makes working on the command line on remote terminals a real pleasure. It will be a hands-on introduction, where Varun will demonstrate some of its major features.
Pre-talk Prep Tips:
It would be great if you have GNU Screen installed on your laptop or remote server before the talk.

Speaker Profile:
Sivamani Varun is the co-founder of Semantics3. He is a self-confessed command-line junkie who spends most of his time hacking away on Vim within a GNU Screen session. Some of his quirks include a passion for prime numbers (all his contact numbers are prime) and an interest in art films. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering from the National University of Singapore.

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