Harvey Mudd College

Moody lecture at Harvey Mudd

On Thursday, March 30th, come to Harvey Mudd for my talk “Identifying Lottery Scams Using Mathematics and Public Lottery Data”. This is the 2017 Michael E. Moody Lecture. Like other lectures in the series, it is aimed at a general audience. Talk abstract This talk will tell the story of how a journalist, two mathematicians,…

Math and economics of Powerball

It’s fun to think about winning enormous lottery jackpot ($1.3 billion annuity, $806 million cash value), and that alone is a fine reason to buy some Powerball tickets for Wednesday’s drawing.  But does it make sense as a gamble?  Here are some answers. The main answer is “no”, it is a bad gamble because the expected…

“Luck” paper published

My paper Some people have all the luck, giving the details about the mathematical analysis behind Lawrence Mower’s 2014 expose of the Florida Lottery, has appeared. (See also this description from MAA FOCUS.) Our analysis has since been applied to identify criminals in many other states. This paper was written with Richard Arratia (USC), Lawrence…

Skip Garibaldi on CBS Philly evening news

More frequent lottery winners in PA & NJ

CBS Philly investigated “too frequent” lottery winners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. You can watch the story by Charlotte Huffman on the station’s webpage.  I helped them with the analysis.  For Pennsylvania the details are similar to the one I did for Florida, which relies on the BKR inequality and log-concavity of the regularized Beta…

Even Hoosiers are up to something with the lottery

The Indiana Lottery has said it will improve its security procedures in response to an ABC News 6 (WRTV Indianapolis) story.  The station, with my assistance, investigated frequent lottery winners in Indiana and found several who had claimed “suspiciously many” prizes and were affiliated with lottery retailers.

Lottery spending analysis paper published

My paper Lottery-spending: a non-parametric analysis has appeared. This was written jointly with undergrads Kayla Frisoli, Li Ke, and Melody Lim, and describes the results of a project we did last spring. The problem is to understand those people who spend a lot on lottery tickets and how much they actually spend. We made use…

Suspicious lottery winners investigated in New Jersey

Shannon Mullen of the Asbury Park Press uncovered several lottery New Jersey lottery retailers who have won suspiciously many lottery prizes, see the story here.  I helped with the analysis. Update (12/12/14): As a consequence of the Asbury Park Press story, New Jersey Assemblyman Burzichelli says the state Legislature should take a closer look. Update (2/18/15): And now…

Suspicious lottery winners in California on KCBS tonight

I previously collaborated with reporters in Florida (Lawrence Mower with the Palm Beach Post) and Georgia (Sean Sposito from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) to identify people who have claimed “suspiciously many” prizes in the lottery, and tonight the results of a similar analysis for California, done with reporter David Goldstein, will air on KCBS2 on the…