The Shape of Data

School of Mathematics Colloquium
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 11:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Stanford University
The general problem of extracting knowledge from large and complex data sets is a fundamental one across all areas of the natural and social sciences, as well as in most areas of commerce and government. Much progress has been made on methods for capturing and storing such data, but the problem of translating it into knowledge is more difficult. I will discuss one approach to this problem, via the study of the shape of the data sets, suitably defined. The use of shape as an organizing problems permits one to bring to bear the methods of topology, which is the mathematical field which deals with shape. We will discuss some different topological methods, with examples.