Professor Klee’s Talk

On January 7th, Professor Steven Klee from Seattle University visited WSMA to give an hour long talk regarding the importance of math after high school. Professor Klee has taught numerous mathematics courses at Seattle University since 2012 after receiving his PhD in mathematics from the University of Washington. He has published over thirty papers and recently won the Henry L. Adler award, which recognizes distinguished teaching by a beginning college or university mathematics faculty member at the national level.

In his talk, he began by questioning the definition of line of best fit. Introducing a data set of cricket chirps and temperature, he questioned how to find the slope and intercept of a line of best fit such that the error between the actual values from the data set and predicted values is as small as possible. By representing the error, Professor Klee was able to plot the slope and intercept of the best fit line as a 3D model. In such a model, the height of the 3D shape represents the error.


Professor Klee demonstrated that the line of best fit will have a slope and intercept such that the height of the model is zero. This strategy to determine the line of best fit can be applied to many real life scenarios as well. However, in real life scenarios, the amount of data significantly increases. With alarge amount of data, the line of best fit may not be the best model. Thus, Professor Klee depicted how a quadratic fit, a degree five polynomial of best fit or even a degree seven polynomial of best fit can represent the data better than a line.

Professor Klee ended with discussing the skills of solving real world problems, which includes asking interesting questions, finding and manipulating data, understanding shapes of functions, finding the best fit, understanding quality of fit, and having the ability to communicate findings to the real world. These skills relate to different fields, including computer science, mathematics, engineering, statistics and marketing. He then explained that jobs where you solve these problems include Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, UPS, FedEx, Hulu Netflix, Pacific Northwest National Lab, PWC, the Government and the military. He described that studying math leads to a wide range of career options.

Overall, Professor Klee’s talk was very inspiring. He clearly explained the role of math in solving real world problems and the importance of math in many careers. Throughout his lecture, Professor Klee stressed the benefits of studying math in high school and college and continuing math further on as a career.

| July 31st, 2018 | Posted in Uncategorized |

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