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Masters Degree

Joshua Davis (Hobart '10) has completed a Master of Engineering in Computer Science from Cornell University. Josh was a double major in mathematics and computer science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. While at Hobart, he did an Honors project under the supervision of Professor David Eck, and he was awarded the John Klein Prize for excellence in computer science.

Posted 26 May 2011

Department Prizes 2011

Every Spring, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science awards several prizes to students in recognition of excellence in mathematics or computer science. These prizes have been endowed at various times in the history of the department, and they carry (small) cash awards in addition to the recognition.

Prizes awarded in Spring 2011 were as follows:

  • The Robert L. Beinert Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Mathematics, to Zhiyou Cao '11.
  • The John S. Klein Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Computer Science, to Reynaldo Kelly '11.
  • The Glen M. Lee Prize, awarded for the first time in 2011, to the Hobart Senior who has displayed the greatest proficiency in Mathematics and Athletics, to Kyle Whitaker '11.
  • The William Ross Proctor Prize, awarded to the William Smith sophomore who have achieved the highest rank in mathematics in their first two years at the Colleges, to Yanfen Wu '13
  • The Irving Bentsen Prize, awarded to the second year student at Hobart College who has the most outstanding record in mathematics and computer science, to Samuel Heinle '13 and Alexander Kittelberger '13.

Posted 30 April 2011

Students Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

ΦBK (Phi Beta Kappa) is a national academic honor society, founded in 1776, and currently having chapters at 280 American colleges and universities. According to its web site, "Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America's leading colleges and universities."

In 2011, the following mathematics students were selected by Zeta of New York, the HWS chapter of ΦΒΚ, for membership:

  • Yaoxin Liu (H'12)
  • Jessica Tarantino (WS'12)
  • Sarah Tarantino (WS'12)

It is noteworthy that all three students were elected to membership as Juniors, which is considered a singular honor.

Posted 30 April 2011

Sigma Xi Nominees

Sigma Xi (www.sigmaxi.org) is an international scientific research society, founded in 1886 to "honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering."

Each year, students who have done research in mathematics or computer science and who are in their last year at the Colleges are nominated by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science for student membership in Sigma Xi.

For 2011, the nominees are:

  • Max Beckett (H'11)
  • Reynaldo Kelly (H'11)
  • Yixiao (Selena) Sha (WS'12)

(Selena, who is in the 3-2 Engineering program, was nominated as a Junior because she will be moving on to Columbia University next Fall to complete the engineering program.)

Posted 30 April 2011


Marcela Melara '12 attended the New York Celebration of Women in Computing (NYC-WIC) in Albany, NY on April 8, along with Professor Stina Bridgeman and two other students (Yanfen Wu '13 and Kathryn Middleton). At the conference, Marcela gave a presentation based on a paper that she had co-authored with Professor Marc Corliss: "VIREOS: An Integrated, Bottom-Up, Educational Operating Systems Project with FPGA Support," SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, March 2011. The paper report on work done by Marcela and Professor Corliss in the Summer of 2010.

Posted 14 April 2011

News from Alex Bryce '09

Alex Bryce will be defending his master's thesis at RIT on April 15th. When analyzing a discrete reaction-diffusion dynamical system, one primary area of interest is locating where in the parameter space Turing instabilities occur. In his thesis Alex shows that Turing instabilities cannot occur in the react then diffuse equations if all diffusion coefficients are equal. The Replicator dynamic is a system of equations that is used in evolutionary game theory applications to study behavior types in animal populations. He also discusses conditions for a Turing instability in first order discrete replicator systems and illustrates this with computer simulations of the results.

After finishing his master's degree, Alex will be starting a job at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. as a Research Assistant/Programmer on July 5th in Washington, D.C. He will be working on a variety of statistical research projects (depending on who the company contracts with). The DC branch works more with projects relating to health care and education policy. Some of his duties will involve programming in SAS, data collection and analysis, literacy review, and writing reports.

Posted 11 April 2011

Using FPGAs to Create a Complete Computer System

On Thursday, April 7th, at 4:15PM, in Napier 101, Marcela Melara (WS '12) will give a talk on computer systems and FPGAs. An FPGA is a programmable soft-processor that can be used to implement complex digital circuits such as a processor for a computer. Marcela will describe some work she has done implementing a basic yet complete computer system on an FPGA for an architecture called Larc. A major task of this project was to add support for essential hardware devices such as a monitor, a keyboard and a small hard drive. Furthermore, she added architectural support for running an operating system called VIREOS, which includes support for a file system and timesharing, among other features. (Refreshments will be served beforehand.)

Posted 5 April 2011

Math Awareness Month

The web site www.mathaware.org has information about the annual celebration of Math Awareness Month in April 2011.

"Unraveling Complex Systems" is theme for Mathematics Awareness Month, April 2011, as per a joint announcement from the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Mathematics Awareness Month is sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM).

How do epidemics spread, birds flock, and stock markets operate?

Many of these answers fall within the realm of mathematics.

From natural entities such as living cells, insect colonies and whole ecosystems to man-made inventions like power grids, transportation networks and the World Wide Web, we see complex systems everywhere. Deciphering the mathematics behind such systems can unravel well-structured networks and discernible patterns in natural and artificial structures. That is the idea behind Mathematics Awareness Month.

Understanding these complex systems can not only help us manage and improve the reliability of such critical infrastructures of everyday life, but can also allow us to interpret, enhance and better interact with natural systems. Mathematical models can delineate interactions among components of these systems, analyze their spontaneous and emergent behaviors, and thus help prevent undesirable developments while enhancing desirable traits during their adaptation and evolution.

Posted 4 April 2011

Ariel Trent Accepted at ESP-REU

First-year student Ariel Trent has been accepted into the Emerging Scholars Program - Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates at St Mary's College in Maryland. The 12 REU participants will each join one of the three research teams in the areas of graph theory, knot theory, and game theory. The program runs from June 13 to July 22, 2011. Participants will receive a $3500 stipend for participation in the ESP-REU, in addition to room and board for the six weeks. Sounds like fun

Posted 22 March 2011

Article Published

Trevor Gionet (Hobart College '12) and Yixiao Sha (William Smith College '12) worked on a summer research project in 2010 with Professor Erika King. The goal of the project was to find a more efficient way of proving a theorem characterizing 4-regular, claw-free, well-dominated graphs, which was originally proved by Prof. King using roughly 350 pages. However, during their first week of research, Yixiao and Trevor discovered a graph that was omitted from a characterization by Michael D. Plummer originally used to prove Prof. King's theorem. Thus their research was redirected to revise Plummer's characterization.

Trevor and Yixiao were able to complete Plummer's characterization, revise a result in a paper that used that characterization, and prove a case of Prof. King's theorem. They wrote an article with Prof. King entitled "A revision and extension of results on 4-regular, 4-connected, claw-free graphs", that includes their results. The paper was recently accepted into the journal Discrete Applied Mathematics.

Posted 15 March 2011