Colorado College News: Mathematics & Computer Science
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Rayna Ben-Zeev ’15 Wins Fulbright to SingaporeFri, 24 Apr 2015 12:45:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/rayna-ben-zeev-15-wins-fulbright-to-singapore
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/rayna-ben-zeev-15-wins-fulbright-to-singapore <p><b>Rayna Ben-Zeev ’15</b>, an environmental science major and math modeling minor, has been named a Fulbright Scholar and will conduct research at the Mangrove Lab at the National University of Singapore. Her project, “Quantifying the Fisheries Ecosystem Services Provided by Mangroves,” combines field based and remote sensing techniques to quantify the benefits to humankind provided by mangroves—specifically the fisheries resources they provide.</p>
<p>“I have always known I wanted to be a scientist,” said Ben-Zeev, of Evanston, Illinois. “I was the kid who chose to spend all my time outdoors, signing up for the ‘geeky’ nature activity at camp year after year to memorize each type of edible plant. My love for the outdoors led me to Colorado College, where I have been able to conduct my own research projects while traveling with various courses to Pikes Peak, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Utah.”</p>
<p>During the summer of 2013 Ben-Zeev participated in the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she trapped mosquitoes and predicted West Nile Virus infections with projected climatic changes. This past summer she received a grant to return to UCSC, where she conducted fieldwork and modeled amphibian extinctions with climate change.</p>
<p>She also spent a semester abroad in Thailand, where, through her host family, she gained a deeper appreciation for mangroves. “What seemed to drive them, and the entire village community, was their intimate relationship with the coastal mangrove forests. The fish eaten for dinner each night and wood used to build boats and houses originated in the mangroves. But mangroves were also valuable to villagers in other innumerable ways. My host dad told me that during the 2004 tsunami he took the entire village to the mangroves for shelter. Other nearby villages were destroyed, but this village remained safe in the reliable intertidal zone,” she said.</p>
<p>Ben-Zeev plans to pursue a doctorate degree using climate models to study changes in various types of ecosystems. “Studying the benefits provided by the crucial mangrove ecosystem and its effect on climate change will help prepare me to conduct future climate change research,” she says.</p>
<p>Ben-Zeev has numerous interests outside the classroom as well. She is co-chair of the Colorado College Hillel organization, and active with theatre, improve, and dance workshop groups on campus. Currently she is in the improv troupe “TWIT” and has one of the two speaking roles in the theatre department’s upcoming production, “Dutchman.”</p>Team Takes Top Honors in Math ContestMon, 20 Apr 2015 09:45:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/team-takes-top-honors-in-math-contest
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<p>In the international Mathematical Modeling Contest of 2015, a team of three CC students, <strong>Eleanore Campbell ’16</strong>, <strong>Melissa Jay ’16</strong>, and <strong>Nathan Mankovich ’17, </strong>wrote one of only 10 Outstanding Winning Papers. Their paper, titled “Search for a lost plane: A Probabilistic, Neighborhood-Based Model for Locating Transoceanic Flights” was selected from a total of 7,636 solution papers submitted by teams from 17 countries.<br /><br />This year, the students chose between two current problems that have mathematical applications: searching for a lost airplane or eradicating Ebola. Campbell, Jay, and Mankovich<b> </b>developed a search algorithm for a lost airplane feared to have crashed in open water on a transoceanic flight. They had to assume that there were no signals from the crashed plane and take into account the many types of airplanes. In addition, they had to write a one-page non-technical paper for the airlines to use in their press conferences.<br /><br />The two other CC teams, <b>Nelson Ding ’18, Alice Xiang ’17</b>, and <b>Zhiyao Zhu ’17</b>; and <b>Ganesh Karapakula ’16</b>, are Successful Participants of the contest and chose to model an Ebola outbreak when an effective vaccine or drug is available. They had to consider the spread of the disease, the quantity of the medicine needed, possible feasible delivery systems, locations of delivery, and the speed of manufacturing of the vaccine or drug. The students did all the modeling, numerical simulations, and writing in only four days.<br /><br />In 2014, Jay, Karapakula, and <b>Emma Krakoff </b><strong>’16 </strong>wrote one of the Finalist Winning papers and two other Colorado College teams received the Meritorious Winning team designation. CC also had an <a href="https://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/cc-students-win-prestigious-math-prize#.VS1Wgrd0zcs">Outstanding Winning team in 2013</a>.<br /><br />Campbell, Jay, and Mankovich also were the recipients of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) award. INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research, management science, and analytics. INFORMS has long recognized the importance of involving undergraduate students and faculty in an unscripted process of mathematical modeling whose problems contain many of the modern elements seen by its membership.<br /><br />INFORMS selects and designates a single outstanding team from each of the four problems as an INFORMS outstanding winning team whose modeling and analyses best exemplify the style and content reflected in its membership's professional practice. Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Andrea Bruder advised the 2013 and 2015 CC teams, and Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Amelia Taylor advised the 2014 teams.</p>Department Holds Ceremony to Name Florian Cajori ClassroomThu, 16 Apr 2015 15:15:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/department-holds-ceremony-to-name-florian-cajori-classroom
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/department-holds-ceremony-to-name-florian-cajori-classroom <p>The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science will host the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18. More than 200 attendees from all over the Rocky Mountain region are expected to attend the 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the national organization. It’s appropriate to hold this anniversary meeting at Colorado College, because CC professor Florian Cajori was instrumental in the creation of the MAA and served as one of the first presidents of the organization. </p>
<p>The department will formally rename Palmer Hall 126 as the Florian Cajori Classroom at 1:45 p.m., Friday, April 17, and the public is invited to attend. Cajori taught courses in Palmer Hall for many years. The ceremony will include the unveiling of a plaque and photograph to commemorate the occasion, and there will be light refreshments and remarks from Mike Siddoway. </p>
<p>Cajori was educated at the University of Wisconsin and Tulane University. He served on the Colorado College faculty from 1889 to 1918. While at CC he taught both mathematics and physics, and served for a time as dean of the engineering department. Cajori was an eminent historian of mathematics, and published important works on the histories of mathematics, physics, and mathematical notation. In 1918 he moved to the University of California at Berkeley, where he assumed a chair in the History of Mathematics. At the time of his departure the student CC newspaper described him as the “best-known and best-liked professor in the college.” </p>Juniors Brooke Davis, Melissa Jay Named Goldwater ScholarsTue, 07 Apr 2015 12:45:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/juniors-brooke-davis-melissa-jay-named-goldwater-scholars
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/juniors-brooke-davis-melissa-jay-named-goldwater-scholars <p>Two Colorado College juniors, <strong>Brooke Davis ’16</strong> and<strong> Melissa Jay ’16, </strong>have been named Goldwater Scholars.<strong> </strong>The Scholarship Program, designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering, is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields and is highly competitive. The two Colorado College recipients were selected from a nationwide field of 1,206 mathematics, science, and engineering students.<br /><br />Davis, an organismal biology and ecology major and film minor from Darien, Connecticut, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology, possibly specializing in marine mammals. Davis currently is in Thailand where she just completed a documentary film about the <a href="https://vimeo.com/124386121">impact of scuba divers on coral reefs</a>, which was funded by a CC Venture Grant. The film is based on research she conducted while studying abroad in the Caribbean.</p>
<p>Jay, a math major from Sharon, Massachusetts, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biostatistics and work as the lead biostatistician on hearing and diabetes research grants. “Upon finishing graduate school, I hope to work in a biomedical research institution in collaboration with medical doctors and other scientists. I am interested in a career where I can critically and creatively construct and utilize statistical methodologies to solve complex problems while working closely with others,” she said.<br /><br />A total of 260 scholarships were awarded for the 2015–16 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. Of them, 145 are men and 115 are women. Thirty-four scholars are mathematics majors, 154 are science and related majors, 68 are majoring in engineering, and four are computer science majors.<br /><br />The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.</p>
<p>Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 86 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Awards, 123 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.</p>
<p>Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed 7,428 scholarships worth approximately $48 million. Approximately 200 scholarships will be awarded for the 2016–17 academic year.</p>Professor Whitehead Receives Grant Supporting Computer Science ContentThu, 12 Mar 2015 15:00:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/professor-whitehead-receives-grant-supporting-computer-science-content
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/professor-whitehead-receives-grant-supporting-computer-science-content <p>Matthew Whitehead, assistant professor of math and computer science, has received a grant to support open computer science content generation. The funding organization hopes that these efforts will also help with the retention of women and other under-represented groups in this field.</p>
<p>The $5,000 grant is from Google and EngageCSEdu, a group managed by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT).</p>
<p>“I'm very interested in open academic content and increasing diversity in our computer science program, so it seemed a natural fit for me,” Whitehead said. “I'm planning on collecting and organizing my course notes and assignment descriptions and then making them openly available with Creative Commons licensing. The EngageCSEdu group maintains a website for sharing introductory level academic computer science content, so I hope to continue to contribute to their collection. EngageCSEdu believes that offering engaging and open computer science course materials makes computer science more accessible to students from a variety of backgrounds and this is a goal that I share with them,” he said.</p>
<p>Whitehead’s dissertation work focused on machine learning through dataset preprocessing, and his research interests include data-mining, information retrieval, artificial intelligence, cryptography, and computer security, among other topics. He joined the Colorado College faculty in 2010 and teaches courses across the computer science curriculum.</p>Steven Janke Publishes New BookThu, 16 Oct 2014 16:30:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/steven-janke-publishes-new-book
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<p>The book presents an accessible and intuitive approach to the mathematical ideas and techniques necessary for two- and three-dimensional computer graphics. Focusing on the significant mathematical results, “Mathematical Structures for Computer Graphics” establishes key algorithms used to build complex graphics scenes.</p>
<p><img src="/dotAsset/8ecbf1be-b31c-41ba-ac66-c5649edad7fb.jpg" width="250" alt="Janke book cover" class="photo inline-right" />Written for readers with various levels of mathematical background, the book develops a solid foundation for graphics techniques and fills in relevant graphics details often overlooked in the literature. Rather than use a rigid theorem/proof approach, the book provides a flexible discussion that moves from vector geometry through transformations, curve modeling, visibility, and lighting models. <br /> <br /> The text grew out of notes created for a computer graphics course taught regularly at the college during the last 20 years. It emphasizes how mathematical abstractions offer a unifying theme for theoretical computer graphics and offers practical approaches to efficient algorithms. There is unique coverage of topics such as homogeneous coordinate calculations, computational geometry, curve descriptions, and L-systems.</p>Kaleb Roush ’14 Named to Academic All-America TeamTue, 03 Jun 2014 11:07:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/kaleb-roush-14-named-to-academic-all-america-team
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/kaleb-roush-14-named-to-academic-all-america-team <p><strong>Kaleb Roush ’14</strong> capped his impressive collegiate career by earning a place on the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Roush is the second member of CC’s men’s swimming and diving program to receive the highly competitive national award since it began in 1952. He joins former teammate <strong>Jordan DeGayner</strong> <strong>’12 </strong>who was honored in 2011 and 2012.<br /><br />Roush also received another honor: The SCAC voted him the 2014 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference <a href="http://cctigers.com/news/2014/6/6/MSD_0606141956.aspx">Man of the Year.<br /></a><br />Roush, of Windsor, Colo., graduated May 19 with a 3.99 grade-point average and a degree in biochemistry and a minor in mathematics. He was named the college’s outstanding senior in biochemistry, and has served as a research and laboratory assistant in the college’s biology and physics departments.<br /><br />He started as a learning assistant and FYE mentor in the fall of 2012. More recently his duties have included directing and supervising student usage of the college’s atomic force microscope, as well as analyzing the quality and utility of the data generated by students.<br /><br />Roush’s research included investigating the morphological and physiological roles of five different genes expressed during long-term stationary phase in Acinetobacter baylyi through atomic force microscopy, fluorescent microscopy, and the generation of growth curves.<br /><br />In 2012 Roush assisted in a summer research project with Associate Chemistry Professor Murphy Brasuel. The following year, he worked alongside Stephen Dewhurst, professor in the Microbiology and Immunology Department at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, researching HIV vaccine development using nano particles.<br /><br />Roush also had an outstanding career in the pool.The co-captain posted three podium finishes and scored points in four events at the 2014 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships. He finished 6th in 400-yard individual medley, 8th in 200 breaststroke and 12th in 200 IM.<br /><br />At the 2013 conference meet, Roush set the school record in the preliminaries of the 400 IM and finished third in the championship final. He also took 5th in the 200 IM and 6th in the 200 butterfly.<br /><br />Roush was named to the SCAC Academic Honor Roll each of his first three seasons. The list of this year’s honorees will be announced later this month.<br /><br />To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale, and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at his/her current institution.</p>Gautam Webb '15 Receives Goldwater Honorable MentionWed, 07 May 2014 17:27:00 MDT
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http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/gautam-webb <p><strong>Gautam Webb '15,</strong> a math major from Golden, Colo., has received a Goldwater Honorable Mention. The Goldwater Scholarship is very competitive and is considered by many to be the top scholarship for students pursuing a career in research science. Webb conducted research on avalanche polynomials in the abelian sandpile model last summer at the PURE Math Research Experience for Undergraduates in Hilo, Hawaii. He plans on attending a second REU this summer, this time at San Diego State University.<br /><br />The abelian sandpile model is a mathematical illustration of self-organized criticality. The term “self-organized criticality” refers to the property of a system being naturally driven to a critical state, from which a disturbance produces fluctuations of a wide range of magnitudes, Webb said. In the model, such fluctuations are called avalanches. The avalanche polynomial of a graph is defined in order to study the distribution of avalanche sizes. “My research focuses on the results of a large computational experiment in Sage that has led us to conjecture formulas for the avalanche polynomials of some well-known graph families.<br /><br />“I love math and I enjoy doing research in this field,” Webb said.<br /><br />“Gautam has proved himself both through his course work and his research to be deserving of this honor,” said Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Amelia Taylor, his advisor. “He has that rare combination of being both creative in his mathematical thinking and the ability to crank through detailed computations and understands the value of both in the process of mathematics. I am always amazed at the enthusiasm with which Gautam pursues mathematical research and am excited to see the results of his research in the coming year.”<br /><br />Webb, who lived in Sydney, Australia, the first six years of his life, and in New Paltz, N.Y., the next six, attended Waldorf schools throughout, which also follow a Block Plan. “When I was looking at colleges, this was a big factor, so CC was a natural choice for me,” he said. After graduation, Webb plans to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, conduct research in pure mathematics, and teach at the university level.<br /><br />The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by the United States Congress in 1986. The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.</p>CC Students Win Prestigious Math PrizeMon, 08 Apr 2013 14:51:00 MDT
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/cc-students-win-prestigious-math-prize
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/cc-students-win-prestigious-math-prize <p>A team of Colorado College students was one of only 11 “Outstanding Winners” of a worldwide mathematical modeling contest that drew 5,636 team entries.<br /><br />The students — <strong>Yukiko Iwasaki ’13,</strong> <strong>Namgyal Angmo ’14, </strong>and <strong>Aradhya Sood ’14</strong> (left to right in photo) — wrote a paper, “Water, Water Everywhere: Meeting the Demands of Saudi Arabia’s Water Needs,” that also received the Frank R. Giordano Award. The award, named after Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Frank R. Giordano who directed the Mathematical Contest in Modeling for many years, goes to a paper that demonstrates true excellence in the execution of the modeling process.<br /><br />“The team. . . wrote a killer paper,” said Andrea Bruder, the team’s advisor and assistant professor of mathematics.<br /><br />The students built a model for determining an “effective, feasible, and cost-efficient water strategy” for 2013 to meet the projected water needs of Saudi Arabia in 2025. They were required to address storage, movement, desalinization, and conservation, and to identify the best water strategy, taking into account environmental, economic, and physical implications of the strategy. They then were asked to write a non-technical position paper that government leaders could use.<br /><br />The second team of <strong>Jenna Griffith ’15, Minqi Liu ’15</strong>, and <strong>Hannah Kim ’15</strong>, also entered the contest and received the designation of “successful participants.” The contest drew 375 U.S. teams and 5,261 non-U.S. teams.<br /><br />The winning papers will be featured in “The UMAP Journal,” a publication of the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving mathematics education.</p>Marlow Anderson Receives Award for Excellence in Teaching MathematicsMon, 04 Mar 2013 16:27:00 MST
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<p>CC Professor of Mathematics Marlow Anderson has received the 2013 Burton W. Jones Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.<br /><br />The annual award from the Rocky Mountain Section of the Mathematics Association of America recognizes extraordinarily successful teachers of mathematics. The MAA is the premier national organization dedicated to college math education, and the Rocky Mountain Section contains 50 colleges and universities. <br /><br />“I am surprised and honored by this recognition from our MAA Section. It would not have been possible without the wonderful colleagues I have in the department here at CC, and most of all, without the great students I have had the privilege of teaching over the last 30 years,” Anderson said.</p>
<p>As the award recipient, Anderson will receive a check for $271.82. These are, of course, the first five digits of the mathematically significant number e, sometimes called Euler's number, which is an important mathematical constant.<br /><br />Anderson is a graduate of Whitman College and received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, writing a dissertation on Lattice-ordered groups. Over the years, his scholarly interests have changed, with a primary emphasis on mathematical exposition and the history of mathematics. He enjoys teaching calculus, linear algebra, number theory, real and complex analysis, and of course abstract algebra, which he teaches out of a text he co-authored. Anderson also is the author of “The Physics of Scuba Diving.”<br /><em><br /></em>The Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America established Section Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics In 1991. CC Mathematics Professor Steven Janke received the award in 2008. </p>