A Mathematical Study of Authorship Attribution

College of Science’s Department of Applied Mathematics will host a presentation by Professor Yang Wang, Chair of Department of Mathematics at Michigan State University titled “A Mathematical Study of Authorship Attribution,” at 2 pm on Friday, April 18, 2014, in Engineering 1, Room 244.

This presentation is open to general audiences, including undergraduate and graduate students.

The recent controversy surrounding the authorship of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith had become headline news in the world. While information leakage was ultimately responsible for the disclosure, mathematics and computer science had played a significant role as well. In this talk, Wang will discuss how mathematics can be used to help with authorship attribution, including for the aforementioned book. Wang will present a case study where we analyze the long standing authorship controversy surrounding “Dream of the Red Chamber”, widely considered to be the greatest masterpiece in Chinese literature. In addition, he will examine other controversies, e.g. Did Obama write his book “Dreams from my Father” or did Bill Ayers write it? Wang will show how modern techniques such as machine learning can be effective in such investigations.