Author Archives: Alan Chang

Grad school info session, Friday, May 9

What: info session on applying to graduate schools.
Where: Fine common room
When: Friday 5/9, 3:30pm (a.k.a. tea time!)
Seniors: If you can make it, please let me know! We will are mainly be sharing our experiences with the application process.
Non-seniors: If you’re interested at all in applying to graduate school, you should come and learn from our experiences. Bring questions!


Board Game Night, Friday, Feb 7th

(email from Andy)

Celebrate the beginning of the semester and E DAY (2/7) with the new officers at BOARD GAME NIGHT!

When: 9:00 PM Friday, February 7
Where: Fine Hall Common Room

There will be tons of great food (eclairs!), great fun, and great people. We’ll even be having an e recitation contest – be prepared to recite the digits of e! See you then!!

REU info session, Wednesday 1/22

(Email from Zhaonan)

For those of you who are interested in participating in an REU this summer, there will be some students who have done REUs before at the math departments’ afternoon tea time to share their experiences. The time and location are:

Wednesday Jan.22nd 3:30 pm
Fine Hall 3rd floor Common Room

Come talk to former REU students and ask any questions you might have! There will be cookies as well.


I’ve also copied Alan’s earlier email for your information.

If you want to learn more about REUs:
There’s quite a variety of REUs and many Princeton students have participated in the past, as you can see here:

Here is a long list of REUs:

Deadlines range from early February to early March, so you should do some research of your own before our info session. Also, please note that most will ask for 1 or 2 recommendation letters.

Want to be a Math Club officer?

Next semester is coming up, which means it’s time for math club officer elections. A few of us will be stepping down. Many of us are leaving Princeton in June. :(

If you’re interested in joining the board, please let me know. We’ll be having elections toward the end of January. The positions that will need to be filled are:

President. The President oversees other officers’ projects and provides overall leadership. This involves coming up with ideas for new programs, making administrative decisions for the Club (which officer should be given responsibility for a new project, etc.), and things like that. (Somehow, this also involves sending out lots of emails. :D)

Academic Chair. The Academic Chair is responsible for all things academic. In practice, this mostly means running the Undergraduate Colloquium lecture series (with help from an assistant, usually) and managing the Club’s Guide for Math Students.

Advising Chair. The Advising Chair is responsible for the Club’s advising activities. These include Mentoring Mobius, a “family-style” advising program, a handful of Q&A sessions throughout the year (like the January one on REUs), and the Meet Your Professors lunch/dinner series.

Social Chair: The Social Chair is in charge of the club’s social events. These are varied, but include: (1) Board Game Nights; (2) Math Movie Nights; (3) Pi Day; and (4) the annual Club Banquet. (Sometimes, the social chair writes emails in multiple colors and includes pictures.)

Treasurer: The Treasurer manages the club’s finances. Principally, this involves dealing with our accounts with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) and the department itself. S/he is in charge of getting reimbursements through these accounts, depositing checks into them, and so on.

Webmaster. The Webmaster manages our website. (this is an appointed position)

If you’ve enjoyed math club events and want to take part in organizing these things, running for a position is a great way to do it. (I’ve had a lot of fun this year serving the undergraduate math community. I’m really glad I got the chance to meet many of you through the math club!)

If you have any questions about any of these positions, please let me know. If there are things you’d like to do for the math club that don’t fall under the positions listed above, I’d be happy to discuss that as well.

Have a great final week of classes!

Tech Talk by Jane Street, Tuesday, 11/12

Jane Street is hosting a tech talk at Princeton! Food and beverages will be served.

When: Tuesday, November 12, at 5:00 PM
Where: Computer Science Building’s Tea Room.


*Why Functional Programming Doesn’t Matter*

– or –

Why purity and laziness matter less than you think, and types matter more

Much has been said in recent years about the advantages of functional programming, including languages like Scheme, Erlang, Clojure, Haskell, Scala, F# and OCaml.

One common view among backers of functional programming, perhaps best summarized by John Hughes’s paper “Why Functional Programming Matters”, is that what makes functional languages so effective is a trio of features: higher order functions, laziness and purity.

This talk will present an alternate view, based on our experiences at Jane Street using OCaml to build production software over the past decade.

We don’t disagree with Hughes’ view that statically typed functional languages are unusually effective tools. But we believe that Hughes’ paper gets the order wrong. In particular, we’ll argue that an expressive static type system, which Hughes doesn’t mention, should be near the top of the list, and purity, which many think of as the defining aspect of functional programming, is near the bottom.


About Jane Street:

Jane Street is a quantitative proprietary trading firm with over 340 employees in offices in New York, Hong Kong, and London. Trading is an intensely technological business, so writing good software is a critical part of Jane Street’s operation. We are one of the world’s biggest industrial users of functional programming, and we use it in every area of the firm: trading, research, risk management, system administration, accounting, and beyond. We bring a deep understanding of markets, a scientific approach, and innovative technology to bear on the problem of trading on the world’s highly competitive financial markets. The office atmosphere is informal and intellectual. We focus on education, and you learn about software and trading via in-house classes, guest lectures, and on the job.

Math grad school seminar, Wed. 11/6, 8pm

On Wednesday, 11/6, at 8pm, the math department is putting together an info session on applying to graduate school.

———- Forwarded message ———-

There will be a special session on the graduate school application process that will take place Wednesday, November 6 at 8 p.m. in Fine 314.

Our intention is to give helpful advice on how to go about applying and to answer any questions that students may have concerning the process.

The Directors of Graduate Studies, Professors Ionescu and Templier will discuss what they look for in graduate applications.

We will also have first-year graduate students who were very successful in their grad school applications break down the process for you.

Look forward to seeing you there!

John Mather
Senior Advisor

Game Show Talk by Jane Street

Date: Wednesday, October 9th

Time: 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Location: CS 105
Details: Food and beverages will be served.

About the talk

Jane Street is a quantitative trading firm, and the fundamental problem we work on every day is how to uncover mathematical and statistical relationships between tradable assets. We’ve found that thinking critically about game shows feels a lot like thinking critically about our problems at Jane Street. The class will talk about interesting problems that arise during game shows, and how the skills necessary to be a successful game show contestant are relevant to working at Jane Street. We will touch upon topics in probability, statistics, game theory, and behavioral economics.

About Jane Street

Our entrepreneurial culture is driven by our talented team of traders and programmers. At Jane Street, we don’t come to work wanting to leave. We come to work excited to test new theories, have thought-provoking discussions, and maybe sneak in a game of ping-pong or two. Keeping our culture casual and our employees happy is of paramount importance to us. You can learn more about us at