For many a college basketball fan, you know that the NCAA basketball tournament, known as March Madness, wraps up this weekend. Some of you may have even filled out a bracket, picking the winners of every game, in every round, until picking a tournament champion. But, just using your instinct won’t necessarily be enough. PNM producer Will Cushman may not be a sports fan, but he does learn in tonight’s episode of the Perpetual Notion Machine how mathematics and probability modeling can help improve your bracket. He talks with Laura Albert McLay from UW-Madison’s industrial and systems engineering. Besides an interest in sports analytics, her research also focuses on modeling and solving problems related to disasters, emergency response, public services, and healthcare. A website called fivethirtyeight.com designs their own statistical formulas to make predictions, including those involving political elections. But Laura also mentions that mathematical reasoning can be used to help organize a typical day, and make each day more efficient.
About Perpetual Notion Machine
Perpetual Notion Machine is a look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.