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Mathematics & Statistics

The R. Kent Nagle Lecture Series

April 7, 2011

Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz explores the topic “Plants, Computers and Math”

Audience The talk is directed at a general audience and is open to the public. There is no entrance fee.
Date April 7, 2011
Time Thursday evening, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Place CWY 109, at USF-Tampa (For a map of the campus,
click here.)
Parking Will be available near CWY (C. W. “Bill” Young Hall).

Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz

Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz
Plants, Computers and Math

Description of the Talk

Until recently, the development and forms of plants were perceived as discouragingly complex. This perception is now dramatically changing through a confluence of new experimental and mathematical modeling techniques. In my presentation, I will use interactive simulations and visualizations to address the interwoven topics of development and modeling: the quest for mechanisms and processes through which plants acquire their form, and mathematical notions and computational methods that integrate experimental data into mechanistic explanations. Examples will bridge different scales of plant organization, from the molecular to whole-plant and ecosystem levels, including cell division and differentiation patterns, developmetn of leaves and flowers, and the arrangement of plant organs, branching plant structures and entire plants in space. The role of diverse mathematical concepts drawn from the theory of algorithms and formal languages, algebraic topology, differential geometry, and numerical analysis will be highlighted.

Description of the Speaker

Dr. Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Calgary, Canada. He holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the Technical University of Warsaw.

Dr. Prusinkiewicz is a pioneer of computational modeling, simulation and visualization of plant development and co-author of a book, “The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants”, which opened this area to a wide audience. His current research is focused on computational models of developmetn that link molecular-level processes to the macroscopic form of plants.

Professor Prusinkiewicz is a recipient of the Association for Compututing Machinery SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award and the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award for his work pertaining to the modeling and visualization of biological structures. For further information, see the Algorithmic Botany web site.


The Organizing Committee of the NLS consists of Nataša Jonoska, Dmitry Khavinson, Brendan Nagle (Co-Chair), Richard Stark (Co-Chair) and Vilmos Totik. The Committee thanks the USF Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the College of Arts and Sciences for sponsoring this event.