Spring 2015 Fourth Meeting

Speakers: Jamie Boehme, Stephen Mayanja, and Nathan Rubin

Date & Time:

Friday, May 8, 2015
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM


O'Shaughnessy Science Hall (OSS 227)

Modeling Mortality and Dependence in Budapest Couples

Jamie Boehma

Abstract: The considerable increase in life expectancy during the 20th century proves to be one of the biggest challenges for insurance companies to face in order to not only price insurance products, but to also stay competitive in the industry. Through data taken from a cemetery in Budapest, Hungary, I will demonstrate how to analyze and assess mortality rates in men and women using Weibull distributions survival models and time series, analysis.  I will then address how to apply copula models to evaluate the dependence between life expectancy for husbands and wives. The research developed provides evidence that life longevity and dependence between policyholders needs to be considered when pricing insurance products.

Poker: Is it a Game of Skill or Luck?

Stephen Mayanja

Abstract: How well can we really rely on skill or chance to win a game of poker? Is poker really a chance game, or should we start to consider it as a game of skill. In other words, should we call it a sport? In this experiment we find out the importance of luck as compared to skill when playing fixed games, using pre-determined hands. The results revealed that skill doesn’t really have any big effect on the results when the other player has a good hand. But the results also revealed that an expert player can easily reduce his losses when he has a bad hand. 

The Effect of DHEA on the European Starling's Song

Nathan Rubin

Abstract: As opposed to most temperate-zone breeding songbirds, the European starling sings and learns new songs throughout the non-breeding season.  While singing behavior is activated by circulating steroids such as testosterone (T), the starling has minimal amounts of these in the non-breeding season, a curiosity which this study aims to explore.  Our hypothesis is that DHEA, an abundant and chemically inert steroid, is converted within the brain into active steroids such as T.  Therefore, we have looked at how the inert steroid DHEA impacts three different qualities of the starling song: song rate, repertoire size, and song diversity.  Through our analysis, we have found the DHEA increases song rate, has no effect on repertoire size, and increased song diversity. However, our analysis for song diversity was restricted to a descriptive level and could not be proved inferentially.


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