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Tim Chartier: “Who's Number One? From Ranking to Bracketology”

Professor Tim Chartier, 2015 Moody Lecture Speaker

Professor Tim Chartier of Davidson College presented the ninth lecture in The Michael E. Moody Lecture Series on “Who's Number One? From Ranking to Bracketology”.

Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Davidson College, Tim Chartier, specializes in applied linear algebra in the fields of data analytics and partial differential equations. In 2014, he was named the inaugural Math Ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), which also recognized his ability to communicate math with a national teaching award. His research and scholarship were recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. Published by Princeton University Press, Tim wrote Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing and coauthored the textbook Numerical Methods: Design, Analysis, and Computer Implementation of Algorithms. Tim fields mathematical questions for the Sports Science program on ESPN, and has also been a resource for a variety of media inquiries, which include appearances with NPR, the CBS Evening News, USA Today, and The New York Times.

More information about Tim Chartier is available from his website.

The lecture took place on March 6, 2015, at 7:00 PM, in HMC's Shanahan Center Auditorium.


“Who's number one?” is an inherent and often debated question in sports. Ranking algorithms supply mathematical answers to such questions. They can and are used to choose teams for the playoffs. They can also be used in predictive analysis. Who will win the next game? Who will win a tournament? This talk will present current and recent sports analytics research. A variety of questions will be explored. For example, how can one integrate late season momentum? Does it help to consider home field advantage? We will see how such research created brackets for March Madness that beat over 90% of over 8 million brackets submitted to ESPN's online tournament.