Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Math & Computer Science

Notables

Fall 2015

  • Southwestern students Emma Kathryn Groves and Yinlin Dai co-created “Cholera as a Global Issue: Measuring the Effects of National Economic and Health Indicators” in the SCOPE 2015 summer research program at SU. Groves presented the joint work, which won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award, at the national summer meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), MathFest, Aug 5-8, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Groves is a sophomore with majors in computer science and mathematics, and Dai is a senior with majors in mathematics and economics. For this Centennial celebration of the MAA, more than 2,500 faculty and students registered for the largest MathFest in history. There were 141 student presentations by more than 200 speakers representing more than 100 institutions. The work by Dai and Groves was supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Groves’ attendance at MathFest was supported by an MAA Student Travel Grant, an SU Fleming Student Travel Grant, and Shelton’s SCOPE Faculty-Student Project fund.

  • Associate Professors of Mathematics Therese Shelton, Fumiko Futamura and Alison Marr, and Visiting Assistant Professor John Ross attended MathFest, the August 2015 meeting of the Mathematical Association of America. Marr participated in a minicourse on “Creating Flipped Learning Experiences in the College Mathematics Classroom.” Shelton participated in a minicourse on “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,” and was invited to serve on the panel for the Project NExT Workshop (New Experiences in Teaching) on Aug 3, 2015, prior to MathFest. Ross is a NExT Fellow.  

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton participated in two workshops within the Professional Enhancement Program (PREP), which is partially funded by the National Science Foundation. “Advanced Techniques in the Implementation and Creation of Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) Activities” was held in Tampa, Fla. in July. “Building Community in SIMIODE - Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations” was held in Helena, Mont. in July. Shelton created inquiry-oriented modules for her classes based on these workshops and the HHMI Inquiry Initiative. She also participated in a workshop on Inquiry-Oriented Differential Equations (IODE) in August in Washington, D.C.; the workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation.  

Spring 2015

  • Ten Southwestern mathematics/computational mathematics majors also attended the Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in San Antonio in April, with nine competing in the Calculus Bowl and five giving presentations at the conference.

    • Bonnie Daniel’s “This is a Man’s World: The Standing of Women ⇔ The Security of the State” won Best Student Talk Award.
    • Eric Oden presented “A Physical Application of the Gaussian Hypergeometric Function.” 
    • Katie Lelinski presented “Chasing Cultural Identities: A statistical analysis of The Chase from the United Kingdom and the United States.” 
    • Jade Garza, Julia Sykora, William Soller and Lorena Roque presented “Permutations as Music.” 
    • Danielle King and Charles Payne presented “Measles: from data to simulation.” 
  • President Ed Burger was an invited principal speaker at the 18th Annual R.L. Moore Inquiry-Based Learning Conference, “Empowering with Inquiry-Based Learning,” co-sponsored by the Educational Advancement Foundation and the Mathematical Association of America on June 25-27, 2015 at The University of Texas at Austin. His talks was titled “The Southwestern Experience: An Institutional Commitment to Engaged Student Learning.” Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr was part of the conference’s program committee.

    Associate Professor Gary Richter presented two talks: “R.L. Moore’s Geometry–Summer 1968” and “When IBL is not Enough.” Associate Professor Therese Shelton presented a poster on “Injections of IBL.” Shelton’s and Burger’s talks highlighted IBL across the Natural Sciences and beyond under the Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded Inquiry Initiative at Southwestern. 

  • Five faculty from Southwestern’s Mathematics Department attended the Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in San Antonio, April 17-18, 2015: Associate Professor Alison Marr, Associate Professor Gary Richter, Associate Professor Therese Shelton, Professor Kendall Richards, and President Ed Burger.

    Richter presented “Limits and Composition of Functions in Calculus.” Shelton was presented with The Ron Barnes Distinguished Service to Students Award; President Burger regaled attendees with his introduction of the award. Shelton participated in the Executive Committee Meeting of the Texas Section of the MAA, moving from Chair-Elect to Chair, and participated in the Meeting of the Texas Association of Academic Administrators in the Mathematical Sciences. 

  • While attending the 2015 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in Madrid, Spain, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum won an award for best paper within the Digital Entertainment and Arts track. Nominations for best paper awards are chosen by conference track organizers based on peer reviews, and award winners are voted on by conference attendees after all competing papers are presented, of which there were two competitors. The paper, titled “Solving Interleaved and Blended Sequential Decision-Making Problems through Modular Neuroevolution,” can be found here.

  • CCSC 2015 attendees from SUCCSC 2015 attendees from SU

    Ten computer science/computational mathematics majors attended the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges South Central Contest in Austin, April 17-18.

    Rebecca Wilson presented a paper titled “CS Club: A Student Built Culture of Computing.” Christine Harbour and Jordan King presented a paper titled “An Empirical Evaluation of a k-Center 2-Approximation Algorithm.” James Byam, Jordan King and Anna Zolten presented a poster on “Integrating Off-the-Shelf and Original Code in Software Development.” Ross Warkentin and Rebecca Wilson presented a poster on “Hunting with Pirates: Building a Webapp in Ruby on Rails.” Jake Balderama, Michael Morris and Brittany Pugh presented a poster on “Storing the Gold: Databases for a Scavenger Hunt App.”

    Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony, supervisor for the papers and posters, along with Alex Le, Associate Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Barbara Boucher Owens, who founded the conference in 1990, and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the conference. 

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum’s dissertation research on the discovery of multimodal behavior in complex computer simulations using neuroevolution will be published in two upcoming articles that deal with automatic discovery of intelligent behavior in the classic video game of Ms. Pac-Man. The first, titled “Discovering Multimodal Behavior in Ms. Pac-Man through Evolution of Modular Neural Networks,” is slated to appear in the IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence in Games later this year. The second, titled “Solving Interleaved and Blended Sequential Decision-Making Problems through Modular Neuroevolution,” will appear in the Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference after being presented at the conference this July in Madrid, Spain. 

  • Senior computer science major Natalia Rodriguez presented a poster titled “Mapping Body Image with Instagram Data” at the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in Boston, Mass. in February 2015. Her work was done with the guidance of Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and John Sigmier. Four other computer science majors also attended the conference: seniors Jordan King and Brittany Pugh, junior Christine Harbour, and sophomore Valerie Vacek.

    Five SU CS majors at the 2015 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference in Boston. From left to right, Brittany Pugh, Christine Harbour, Dr. Richard Tapia, Valerie Vacek, Jordan King, and Natalia Rodriguez.  Five SU CS majors at the 2015 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference in Boston. From left to right, Brittany Pugh, Christine Harbour, Dr. Richard Tapia, Valerie Vacek, Jordan King, and Natalia Rodriguez.

  • In January, 2015, the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings were held in San Antonio. At the conference, Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony gave a talk titled “Complete r-partite graphs determined by their domination polynomial” in the MAA General Contributed Paper Session on Research in Graph Theory.

    Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura gave a talk titled “Harmonic ratios: music and art in an inquiry-based Geometry course” in the MAA Session on Mathematics and the Arts.

    Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr gave a talk titled “Some recent results on magic-type labelings of directed graphs” in the Pure and Applied Talks by Women Math Warriors presented by EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) session. Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards gave a talk titled “On the Modulus of the Grotzsch Ring” in the AMS Special Session on Inequalities and Quantitative Approximation.

    Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton gave a talk titled “POGIL Flu for Calculus: Influenza Data to Help Students Investigate Antiderivatives, Accumulations, and FTC” in the MAA Session on Inquiry-Based Learning in First-Year and Second-Year Courses. Marr and Shelton also gave a talk titled “Working to Improve Student Success in Calculus I Through Pre-calculus Support” in the MAA General Contributed Paper Session on Research in Teaching or Learning Calculus.

    Southwestern student, Matthew Miller, presented a poster titled “Scoring Cardiac Health: A Model of the Relationship between Diet and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease” in the undergraduate poster session. Southwestern student Robert Lehr and President Edward Burger also attended the meeting.

  • Therese Shelton, associate professor of math, will be presented with The Ron Barnes Distinguished Service to Students Award by the Texas section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at their April 2015 Meeting. The award represents both a teacher’s commitment to students and the respect from the teacher’s peers. For more than 20 years, Shelton has been preparing students to give math presentations, including seven recent national presentations, one of which won a national award. 

  • On January 26, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum presented his research at an event held in conjunction with the 29th annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. His interactive demo, “BotPrize 2012 Champion: A Human-like Bot for Unreal Tournament,” allowed participants to play the game Unreal Tournament 2004 while trying to determine which opponent was human-controlled, and which was Schrum’s software bot that had previously won an international competition by fooling human judges into thinking it was human. 

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony is one of 53 CS faculty and instructors from colleges and universities in 24 U.S. states that will implement classroom-based programs and solutions to help answer the question of how to keep students engaged in the pursuit of Computer Science after their initial experience in a CS class. This process will be aided by a grant of $5,000 from the Google CS Engagement Small Awards program. Specifically, the grant will be used to identify and implement solutions for increasing student engagement and reaching retention goals, especially in introductory computer science courses.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr was recently invited to deliver two talks in India. The first, delivered on Dec. 2 at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tirunelveli, India, was part of the 10th Annual Professor S. Arumugam Endowment Seminar on Graph Theory, and was titled “Three of my favorite graph theory questions.” The second was given on Dec. 4 at Kalasalingam University as part of the 8th International Workshop on Graph Labeling. It was titled “Sparse semi-magic squares and labelings of directed graphs.”  

Fall 2014

  • Barbara Anthony, associate professor of computer science, published a paper on “The Power of Rejection in Online Bottleneck Matching,” co-authored with Christine Chung (Connecticut College), in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series. The paper was presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Combinatorial Optimization and Applications (COCOA 2014). 

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura celebrated Albrecht Dürer’s mathematical and artistic prowess for the 500th anniversary of his etching, St. Jerome in his Study, in the November issue of “Math Horizons.” Her article, titled “Dürer: Disguise, Distance, Disagreements, and Diagonals!” was co-written with Annalisa Crannell and Marc Frantz and mathematically analyzes Dürer’s perspective drawing.

  • Five SU students presented at the 10th annual TUMC , Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, held this year at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Oct 17-18, 2014. Heather Gronewald presented “Computing Cophylogenetic Invariants.” Matthew Miller  presented “Scoring Cardiac Health: A Model of the Relationship between Diet and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.” Robert Lehr presented “Noisy Clustering Analysis of Landfill Distribution.” Matthew Chaltain presented “Earnings Surprise Effect on Stocks.” Megan Myers presented “A Place For All People:  Planning for Growth in Summer Camp Enrollment.” The conference program is available here, and includes abstracts for all of the talks. Dr. Therese Shelton served as faculty mentor at the conference, and supervised several of the projects.

  • Barbara Anthony, associate professor of computer science, and Natalia Rodriguez, senior computer science major, attended the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona. Both were awarded funding to attend (an Anita Borg Institute Faculty scholarship, and a GHC Scholarship grant). At the conference, Anthony was a judge in the Association for Computing Machinery Student Research Competition.

  • Senior computer science major Natalia Rodriguez was recently selected to be the new student board member on the Board of Trustees for the Anita Borg Institute, a global organization dedicated to women in technology. Natalia served in various roles in the conference including taking over their Instagram for a day to highlight some of the many activities and events. 

  • The team of students Heather Gronewald, Robert Lehr and Paris Nelson placed in the top 10 percent of the more than 6,750 teams from 19 countries that competed in the 2014 Comap Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Read more here

Spring 2014

  • Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics, has been named chair-elect of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America.

  • Students and faculty members in Computer Science attended the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, South Central Region (CCSC:SC) conference in Austin April 11-12.

    • Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, presented a paper on “Offering an Undergraduate Colloquium,’” which is published in the April 2014 Journal for Computing Sciences in Colleges.
    • Sophomore computer science major Amir Ardjomand Hessabi presented a poster and demonstrated the abilities of a robot named “Bones” that he built for a King Creativity project with Walt Potter, professor of mathematics and computer science. Hessabi’s poster was awarded second place in the poster competition.
    • Four students in the computer science capstone − seniors Garhett Bonneaux, Rob Campbell, Alex Hicks and Paris Nelson − presented a poster about their software engineering project, CodeQuest, which was supervised by Rick Denman, professor of mathematics and computer science. Nelson also presented a poster titled “There and Back Again: A Genetic Algorithms Approach to the TSP,” which was based on his independent study work with Barbara Anthony. Nelson’s poster was awarded fifth place in the poster competition.
    • Junior computer science major Rebecca Wilson presented a poster titled “An Open Source Voting Machine” that resulted from her King Creativity project with political science major Elizabeth Bell and physics major Eric Oden. The project was supervised by Steve Alexander, professor of physics.

    Barbara Boucher Owens, an emeritus faculty member who founded the conference in 1990, also attended the 25th conference. 

  • Students from Southwestern wrote three of the 21 undergraduate papers that were presented at the annual meeting of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America held in Laredo April 3-5. Brian Cohen and David Vaden presented “Magic Graphs,” which they did under the supervision of Alison Marr, associate professor of mathematics, and Kendall Richards, professor of mathematics. Robert Lehr presented “An Irrational Decomposition of Generalized Fibonacci Number,” which he did under the supervision of Edward Burger, president and professor of mathematics. Andrew Banister presented “Can You Make Change by Increasing Minimum Wage?” which he did under the supervision of Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics.

  • Barbara Owens, professor emeritus of computer science, has been invited to speak at the ACM Women’s Day program that is being held as part of the ACM India conference Feb. 13-15. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society for the computer science/IT community. ACM India was started in 2010 to increase the focus on the country. 

  • Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, had a paper on “Online bottleneck matching” published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Combinatorial Optimization. The paper was co-authored with Christine Chung from Connecticut College. 

  • Four representatives from Southwestern attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore Jan. 13-18, which is the largest meeting of mathematicians in the world. President Edward Burger, who also is a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, presented a paper titled “A 21st century curriculum that raises education to a global maximum” in the MAA Invited Paper Session on Mathematics and Effective Thinking. Fumiko Futamura, associate professor of mathematics, and two collaborators − Annalisa Crannell from Franklin & Marshall College and Marc Frantz from Indiana University-Bloomington − gave a four-hour minicourse on “Visualizing projective geometry through photographs and perspective drawings.”  Senior Heather Gronewald presented her mathematics capstone project, “Transfer Attrition: Hazards and Perseverance,” in the Undergraduate Poster Session. Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics, was the supervisor for Gronewald’s project, served as a judge in the poster session, and took a minicourse on “Using randomization methods to build conceptual understanding of statistical inference.”

  • Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, presented a paper at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Global Communications Conference in Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 12. The paper, titled “Data Plan Throttling: A Simple Consumer Choice Mechanism,” was co-authored with Christine Chung, assistant professor of computer science at Connecticut College, and published in the conference proceedings and IEEE Xplore.

Fall 2013

  • Computer science major Paris Nelson won the Natural Science Division Shearn Writing Award for his paper titled “On Random Number Generation”, a research paper he wrote for Dr. Suzanne Buchele’s Computer Systems course. The award included a $1000 cash prize.

Spring 2013

  • Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, and Alison Marr, assistant professor of mathematics, gave presentations at CombinaTexas 2013: Combinatorics in the South-Central U.S. held at University of Houston-Downtown April 20. Marr’s talk was titled “Some notes on prime labeling” and Anthony’s talk was titled “Complete r-partite graphs determined by their domination polynomial.”

  • Senior computer science major Erick Bauman gave a presentation based on his honors thesis at the North Texas Area Student Conference held at Midwestern State University April 13. The presentation was titled “Wolfscript: A Programming Language for Android.” His faculty sponsor at the conference was Suzanne Buchele, associate professor of computer science.

  • Math professors Rick DenmanFumiko Futamura and Kendall Richards published a paper titled “On sharp frame diagonalization” in the March issue of the journal Linear Algebra and its Applications.

  • Yvette Niyomugaba, Van Pham and David Scott Ryan are presenting papers this week at the annual meeting of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America. The meeting is being held April 11-13 at Texas Tech University.

  • Suzanne BucheleAlison Marr and Therese Shelton have been awarded a $4,000 Blended Learning Grant from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) for their proposal titled “Improved Calculus Preparation Through Assessment and Customized Blended Learning.” All three are associate professors in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

  • Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics, presented “Building and Feeling Confidence Intervals” at the Joint Mathematics Meetings held Jan. 9-12 in San Diego.

  • Senior mathematics major Yvette Niyomugaba won an Outstanding Presentation Award for the poster she presented at the Undergraduate Poster Session of the Joint Mathematics Meetings held Jan. 9-12 in San Diego. Her poster presentation, titled “Recycling toward a Better Earth through Math,” resulted from her ongoing honors project in mathematics, which she is doing under the direction of Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics. The work began in summer 2012 as a faculty-student collaborative research project. 

  • Fumiko Futamura, assistant professor of mathematics, presented a minicourse titled “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings” at the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings held Jan. 9-12 in San Diego along with Annalisa Crannell from Franklin & Marshall College and Marc Frantz from Indiana University. Thirty-six mathematics professors, high school teachers and artists attended the minicourse, which covered material the three have developed for an upcoming textbook.

  • Senior mathematics major Yvette Niyomugaba is presenting a poster titled “Recycling toward a Better Earth through Math” at the Joint Mathematics Meetings being held Jan. 9-12 in San Diego.

Fall 2012

  • Emeritus faculty member Barbara Boucher Owens has been named a Distinguished Educator by the Association for Computing Machinery, a 100,000-member professional computing organization. The award recognizes ACM members who have achieved significant accomplishments or have made a significant impact on the field of computing, computer science, and/or information technology.

  • Senior mathematics majors from Southwestern presented nine of the 25 student talks at the 8th Annual Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, which was held at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches Oct. 26-27. The students also performed well in the fun math problem session at the conference. Several students solved 8 or 9 of the 10 problems, and Andy Clarage and David Ryan Scott solved all 10. Read more here.

  • Computer science majors Erick Bauman (senior), Rob Campbell (junior) and Jefferson Ellinger (senior) teamed up with junior mathematics majors Alain Chau and David Vaden to compete in the 2012 South Central USA Regional Programming Contest in held in Waco Oct. 19- 20. The team su-root placed 17th overall out of 59 teams and 4th among undergraduate-only institutions. In the separate scripting contest, su-root placed 19th overall and 6th among undergraduate-only institutions. The students were coached by Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, and Rick Denman, professor of mathematics and computer science.