We are happy to announce the launch of a small series of talks: The Math3ma Institute Public Lectures. These events will be held in-person at The Master’s University (TMU) and also live-streamed on TMU’s YouTube channel. Here’s a brief description listed on our lectures’ main page, www.masters.edu/lectures:

Aimed at a general audience, The Math3ma Institute Public Lectures are engaging and accessible talks by TMU faculty and colleagues on a wide range of topics in mathematics, engineering, science, and technology, all from a Biblical perspective. All lectures are free and open to the public and include time for discussion and dialogue with speakers and attendees.

Our first talk is coming up soon Friday, February 18 with David Crater, chair and associate professor of Engineering and Computer Science at TMU, who will give a talk on his work in using a state-of-the-art language model called a “transformer” to translate between Hebrew and English text. The title and abstract are shared below.

In the meantime, be sure to save the date for our future talks, as well! We have three more scheduled for this semester:

  • Abner Chou, March 4 at 2:00pm PT – We are delighted to host Abner, interim president at TMU, for a Q&A session on his forthcoming article “The Queen of the Sciences: Reclaiming the Rightful Place of Theology and Creation,” which is scheduled to appear in the inaugural issue of The Journal of The Math3ma Institute, currently in production.
  • Tai-Danae Bradley, April 1 at 2:00pm PT – This talk will feature a tour of the landscape of higher mathematics and an overview of a new connection between information theory, abstract algebra, and topology
  • Monica Vroman, April 22 at 2:00pm PT – Monica is a visiting research professor of computer science at TMU and will give an introduction to her doctoral research in imitation learning, a special framework within machine learning

Want to stay up to date with these events? We now have a new mailing list for talk announcements and general updates. If you would like to subscribe to The Math3ma Institute’s mailing list, simply send an email to updates+subscribe@math3ma.institute.

We hope you’ll join us!

Upcoming Talk

Location: All talks will be held in room 100 of the Engineering and Computer Science building on TMU’s campus. Please RSVP here. Assuming there are no technical difficulties, you can also tune in via live-stream on YouTube. An embedded video will be available on the lectures’ main webpage: www.masters.edu/lectures

Date/Time: Friday, February 18 at 2:00pm PT

Speaker: David Crater

Title: “The Finger of God: Biblical Studies in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”

Abstract: The quantitative and mathematical analysis of language, including religious texts, predates the digital computer, but since the advent of the latter, sophisticated quantitative analysis of all kinds of texts has flourished, including machine translation between languages at expert level. This article reviews the history of the digital humanities as background for more recent developments as they relate particularly to biblical studies, provides a synopsis of the limited significant digital analyses completed to date on biblical texts, and presents the results of an original digital analysis of the author’s own writings alongside biblical writings to illustrate the power of these concepts and the mathematical substructure of language. The natural and recent climax of this history and these techniques is in neural networks, an altogether new way of modeling language not as statistical frequencies of phrases, words, and n-grams but as connections between millions of artificial neurons organized in layers to perform specific low-level language functions much like the brain does. The article foreshadows the use of A.I. and deep learning techniques for the analysis and translation of the Bible.

Bio: David Crater is the chair of and associate professor in TMU’s Engineering and Computer Science department. He started his career in Colorado, working on satellite systems for the Air Force—first as an officer and later as a contractor. He then worked for several years for the state legislature of Colorado, and later briefly served the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Afterward, he moved to Indiana to work for the Navy in electronic warfare systems. He then moved again, this time to Los Angeles, where he continued to work for a time as a software engineer in defense and intelligence satellite systems. All along the way during his career, he pursued various interests through graduate academic work, including in the fields of computer science and theology. This opened up the opportunity to transition his career toward academia in his current role at TMU, while still maintaining productive connections to industry. In his free time, Prof. Crater enjoys reading, golfing, and skiing.

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