Aiming to predict future data paths and preferences
Sarah Jane Selkirk is working on a system that will help South Africa better understand and analyse dynamic data structures, which are fundamental to almost every piece of technology we use today – from storing files on a computer, to using an online search engine.
Selkirk is currently investigating special families of lattice paths. These are combinatorial objects which can be used in fields such as probability theory, statistics and computer science. She is investigating how different data types and files are stored and accessed. She will also analyse the patterns that emerge and capturing and storing such information. Selkirk’s probe is expected to eventually get her to the stage where the data captured is used to predict future data paths and preferences ie. Web 3.0. She will also gather statistics and create inferences and predictions from the patterns.
The results of Selkirk’s honours project have accepted for publication as a chapter in the forthcoming book Algorithmic Combinatorics – Enumerative Combinatorics, Special Functions and Computer Algebra. She also presented some of this work at the annual congress of the South African Mathematical Society last year, and won a third prize for a Master’s presentation, despite being an honours student at the time. Selkirk obtained a BSc and a BSc Honours in Mathematics cum laude from Stellenbosch University, where she is enrolled for an MSc in Mathematics with a focus on enumerative combinatorics.