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Past MAA Distinguished Lectures

Larry Schumaker, Vanderbilt University

Abstract: I will describe the explosive development of splines and their application over the past 40 years. Splines are piecewise polynomials which are extremely useful in approximation theory and numerical analysis for fitting and approximating functions. They have also found applications in many areas of business, engineering, medicine, science, and elsewhere. I will discuss some of these applications. The talk will be quite general with little mathematical background needed.

Biography: Dr. Schumaker is a Stevenson Professor at Vanderbilt University. His research areas include approximation theory and computer aided graphical design. He is an author or co-author of 37 books or proceedings. He has been the advisor of 21 Ph.D. students. Dr. Schumaker has won the Alexander von Humboldt Prize and he has been elected a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.