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3264 Conics in A Second

Bernd Sturmfels, MPI Leipzig / UC Berkeley
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
BAG 154
This lecture spans a bridge from 19th century geometry to 21st century applications.
We start with a classical theme that was featured in the January 2020 issue of the Notices of
the American Mathematical Society, namely the 3264 conics that are tangent to five given conics
in the plane. We discuss the computation of these conics, by solving a system of polynomial
equations with numerical methods that are fast and reliable. We conclude with a problem in
statistics, namely maximum likelihood estimation for linear Gaussian covariance models.