Tag Archive for mathematics and computer science

Students Present Open Source Software at Summer Institute

Standing, Norman Danner, associate professor of computer science, speaks to students from Bergen Community College about privacy issues in medical records during the 2010 Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) Project Summer Institutes Workshop July 30. The group is developing a mobile application for use by EMS personnel for recording medical data when on calls.

Knot Workshop at Wesleyan

Mathematicians from around the country participated in a “Knot Concordance and Homology Cobordism” workshop July 19-23 at Wesleyan.

Tim Cochran, professor of mathematics at Rice University, lectured at the workshop.

Knot theory experts Matt Hedden, associate professor of geometry/topology at Michigan State University, speaks with Daniel Ruberman BA/MA ’77, professor of mathematics at Brandeis University, during the workshop.

Shelly Harvey, assistant professor of mathematics at Rice University, is an expert on knot concordance. The conference was funded by an $18,900 grant from the National Science Foundation. The event also was supported by the Mathematics and Computer Science Department’s Van Vleck Research Fund.

Specter ’11 Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Joel Specter '11 received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2010-11 year.

Mathematics major Joel Specter ’11 is ahead of the program. Despite only finishing his junior year at Wesleyan, he’s already completed all first-year graduate courses for the department’s Ph.D. program.

“When discussing mathematics with him it becomes clear that he is already thinking like a mathematician in a very serious way that one rarely sees in students until well into their graduate careers,” says Specter’s advisor David Pollack, associate professor of mathematics.

For Specter’s achievements in mathematics, he was awarded with a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2010-11 year.

Congress established

NSF Grant Improves Numerical Modeling Capacity at Wesleyan

Francis Starr, associate professor of physics, co-authored a grant proposal, which was recently funded by the NSF to support growth of the computer facilities for the university’s Scientific Computing and Informatics Center.

A $298,736 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will allow Wesleyan to remain competitive in numerical modeling research and education on an international level.

Francis Starr, associate professor of physics, David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, and Michael Weir, professor of biology, director of the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, received the grant for a project titled “Major Research Instrumentation – Recovery and Reinvestment program (MRI-R2): Acquisition of Shared Cluster and Database Computing Facilities at Wesleyan University.”

The grant, awarded over three years beginning May 1, will fund growth of the computer facilities for the university’s Scientific Computing and Informatics Center (SCIC), including expansion of the university’s high-performance computer cluster and a new genomics database server.

Wesleyan currently runs 36 Dell computer nodes for the academic computing cluster known as “Swallowtail.” Each machine is capable of processing eight jobs simultaneously, for a total of 288 jobs. Another 129 computer nodes called “Sharptail,” recently donated by Blue Sky Studios, are capable of processing two jobs simultaneously each, for a total of 258 jobs.

“With the NSF grant, we anticipate roughly doubling our capacity,” Starr says. “Think of it as setting up a virtual laboratory in the computer where we can perform experiments that might be challenging

Computer Science Majors Participate in Poster Competition

Computer Science students Sam DeFabbia-Kane ’11, Juan Pablo Mendoza ’10, and Foster Nichols ’10 all presented posters on their current research at this year’s regional conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, which was held at the University of Hartford April 16-17. DeFabbia-Kane won third place in the poster competition.

Honor Thesis Students Present Research at NSM Poster Session

Wesleyan’s Natural Science and Mathematics hosted a “Celebration of Science Theses” April 16 in Exley Science Center’s lobby. BA and MA honors thesis students presented their research to peers and the community.

President Michael S. Roth listens to Wei Dai ’11 explain his research on “Effect of Valency on the Dynamics and Thermodynamics of DNA-linked Nanoparticles Materials.” Dai’s advisor is Francis Starr, associate professor of physics. Wei has conducted extensive computer simulations to show nanoparticles can be linked together using DNA as 'bridges'. The resulting nanostructured materials have unusual properties that may be applicable to energy storage, drug delivery, optical materials and nanoscale devices. Dai also has published a peer-review journal article titled “Valency Dependence of Polymorphism and Polyamorphism in DNA-Functionalized Nanoparticles.” (Photo by Roslyn N. Carrier-Brault)

David Boznick, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, congratulates the BA and MA honors thesis students on their achievements.

5 Questions With…David Pollack

David Pollack is an associate professor of mathematics and computer science. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

David Pollack is an associate professor of mathematics. His research focuses on questions about the arithmetic cohomology of higher rank matrix groups. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we ask 5 Questions of…David Pollack, associate professor of mathematics and computer science.

Q: How did you become interested in mathematics in general, and as an
academic career specifically?

DP: Mathematics was my favorite subject in school as far back as I can
remember. At that time I had no idea that one could be a mathematician, so I imagined I would be a scientist or engineer. After my sophomore year in high school I was fortunate enough to attend the summer mathematics program at Hampshire College, where I was first exposed to professional mathematicians. I realized more or less immediately that mathematics itself was the right career for me. The next summer I attended the Ross Mathematics Program at Ohio State, an incredibly rigorous mathematics immersion course that teaches students to “think deeply about simple things” by developing number theory and basic abstract algebra from the ground up. Students get the

Collins Judges National Science Competition

Karen Collins, chair and professor of mathematics, served as a judge in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology that awarded $100,000 to high school students. In a Dec. 7 New York Times article, Collins said, ”We never expected high school students to achieve such success in examining this upper-bound aspect of graph theory.”

Book Traces Friendship Between Math Teacher Joffray ’50 and Student

Calculus_of_FriendshipIn The Calculus of Friendship (Princeton University Press), Cornell University professor Steven Strogatz chronicles the moving story of the friendship he developed with his former high school math teacher, Don Joffray ’50, over 30 years through the exchange of letters between them. For a long time, their friendship revolved almost entirely on a shared love of calculus.

Joffray goes from the prime of his career to retirement, competes in whitewater kayaking at the international level, and loses a son. Strogatz matures from high school math whiz to Ivy League professor, has a failed marriage, and experiences the sudden death of a parent. Eventually they get to know each other better beyond the world of mathematics.

In the prologue, Strogatz writes: “Like calculus itself, this book is an exploration of change. It’s about the transformation that takes place in a student’s heart, as he and his teacher reverse roles, as they age, as they are buffeted by life itself.” Their shared love of calculus becomes “a constant while all around them is in flux.”

A video about the book is on YouTube.

Haensch Organizer, Presenter at National Conference

Anna Haensch, graduate student, mathematics and computer science, is on the steering committee of Fourth Annual Spuyten Duyvil Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, which is being held at SUNY-New Paltz April 25. She also will be making a presentation titled “The Pell Equation” which will discuss the Pell equation (x2-ny2=1) which was studied by the ancient Greeks and is one of the oldest Diophantine equations, and arguably the most important.

220 Scholars Present Research at Mathematical Society Meeting

Graduate student Weiwei Pan spoke on "Categorified Bundles and Classifying Spaces" at the 2008 Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held Oct. 11-12 at Wesleyan. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Graduate student Weiwei Pan spoke on "Categorified Bundles and Classifying Spaces" at the 2008 Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held Oct. 11-12 at Wesleyan. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

During a session on algebraic topology, graduate student Weiwei Pan spoke to dozens of mathematical scholars from around the world on “Categorified Bundles and Classifying Spaces.”

Pan was one of 220 speakers who presented math-related talks during the 2008 Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held Oct. 11-12 at Wesleyan. More than 300 participants registered.

“One of the best things about being a mathematician is that there are people all over the world who share your interests, and that mathematics