The MƒA Thursday Think Speaker Series brings accomplished speakers who dive into cutting-edge topics in STEM education to MƒA. These talks, held once a month throughout the school year, invite MƒA teachers and the general public to learn and engage with these thought leaders and professionals in mathematics, science, and education.

Legend has it that when Walt Disney designed Disneyland in the 1950s, he was remarkably intentional about the placement of trash cans. Disney decreed that trash cans should be placed throughout the park so guests are never more than 30 feet from the nearest receptacle, theorizing that this was the maximum distance a guest would hold onto their garbage before littering. Today’s electric vehicle companies must also decide on optimal placement—of charging stations—considering how to meet specific distance requirements while balancing costs. Whether choosing the placement of Disneyland trash cans or electric vehicle charging stations, it is imperative to minimize the resources used while still meeting the strict distance requirements. But how? The answer lies in the mathematical concept of a dominating set. 

In this talk, Dr. Pamela Harris and Jillian Cervantes explore resource allocation problems through graph theory concepts, including domination theory and its generalizations.

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