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It is just over a year since the pandemic forced the Colleges to switch to fully remote learning in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester. It has been a long and in many ways difficult year. A lot has happened, but no news about the 2020–21 academic year has made it onto this web site.

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, like the rest of the Colleges, has been offering a mix of in-person, remote, and hybrid courses this year. With no Winter Break or Spring Break, the semesters have seemed long, and many of us — students and faculty alike — are feeling at least a little burnt out. However, we are encouraged by the rollout of Covid vaccines, and we hope that things will be mostly back to normal next Fall.

The department was joined this year by a new Visiting Professor of Computer Science, Hanqing Hu. Professors Alden Gassert and William Simmons continued as visiting professors (Professor Simmons for the Fall semester only). Professors Gassert and Hu will return as visiting professors next year. The Math Intern for the year was Hadley DeBrine WS'20.

The REU that was canceled last summer will go forward this year. Unfortunately, both the Department's Fall picnic and its Spring dinner were canceled this year, but we look forward to resuming both events next year.

Posted 4 April 2021

Department Student Prizes, 2020

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science selects students to receive a variety of academic prizes. Full descriptions of the prizes and lists of past recipients can be found on the department's Prize Page. Here is the list of recipients for 2020:
  • The Robert Beinert Prize, awarded to a a graduating Senior for excellence in Mathematics, to Hugh (Nick) Mckenny and Kaitlyn Geraghty.
  • The John S. Klein Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Computer Science, to Max Brodheim.
  • The Catherine Adele Rippey '35 Prize, awarded to a William Smith Senior to recognize excellence in Mathematics, to Kaitlyn Geraghty.
  • The Glenn M. Lee Prize, awarded to the Hobart Senior who has been most proficient in mathematics and athletics, to Andrew Koonz and Peter Thibodeau.
  • The Abigail Mosey Book Prize, awarded to a Hobart or William Smith Senior for generosity in helping others to learn and appreciate mathematical ideas, to Hugh (Nick) Mckenny, and Cody Roberts.
  • The William Ross Proctor Prize, awarded to the William Smith Sophomore who has achieved the highest rank in mathematics in her first two years at the Colleges, to Julia Bellamy, and Colleen Boucher.
  • 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 Dimosthenis Chrysochoou.

In addition to the departmental prizes, several graduating mathematics students were elected to the national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, by the local chapter of that organization: Math major Jesse Maltese and math minors Kelsey Pierce and Angus Pratt. Nick Mckenny was elected last year as a Junior.

Posted 9 May 2020

Math REU, Summer 2020

Update: Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 REU has been canceled. However, an REU is planned for summer 20201.

The Department will host a Natural Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Mathematics in Summer 2020. The National Science Foundation funds REUs at colleges and universities around the country. This will be the third year that the program has been offered at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Ten students will take part in the REU. Most of the students come from other colleges, but for each of the past two summers, one HWS student has participated: Nick Mckenny H'20 in Summer 2018 and Connor Parrow WS'21 in Summer 2019.

Topics this summer will include algebra with Professor Biermann, graph theory with Professor King, Neural Networks with Professor Hao, and mathematical virology with Professor Forde.

Applications are due by February 14. Visit http://math.hws.edu/REU/index.html for more information.

Posted 2 February 2020

Math Intern for 2019–20: Sam LeGro

Sam LeGro is serving as the Department's Math Intern for the academic year 2019–20. Sam is a 2019 graduate of Hobart College, with a major in mathematics. As Math Intern, he is available afternoons and evenings, Sunday through Thursday, to offer help to students in introductory Math courses, including Elementary Functions and Calculus I and II.

Posted 30 September 2019

HWS Computer History

The Library has posted an on-line exhibit about the history or computers and computing at Hobart and William Smith Collges, Computers at HWS: A History. The history starts in 1966, when the Colleges' installed their first computer. And has sections on each of the following decades through 1994–2013, including the beginnings of the computer science major in 1984.

Posted 30 September 2019

News from Allison Doherty (WS '19)

Mathematics and Computer Science double major Allison Doherty '19 started working at SRC, Inc. in Syracuse just after graduation. Some of what she does is classified, but she was able to tell us a little about what she does. She says, "SRC has many projects going on but I'm part of the electronic warfare division. When US Air Force planes are traveling through other countries, they have radars which constantly communicate with other war types of machinery that are on the ground. The plane can tell which are friendly and made by SRC, or which ones are from an unfriendly country. If they're unfriendly, then our plane can ping down and receive information from that specific machine from the ground and find out all sorts of things about it, such as which country it's from, if it can shoot missiles, how high the missiles can go, etc. And the plane will use this info to defend us, for instance by telling the pilot to fly at a certain height so no missiles will reach it. It can also jam the machine on the ground so it thinks our plane is in a certain location when it really isn't. I'm a software engineer on the project for improving that technology."

Posted 13 August 2019

Curiel (H '17) Finishes Masters and Heads to PhD Program

Mark Curiel (H '17), who was a mathematics and music double major, has just finished his Masters in mathematics at San Jose State University. He researched with Dr. Elizabeth Gross (an algebraic statistician), and wrote a thesis on chemical reaction network theory which involves edge colorings in a special hypergraph. In August he heads to the University of Hawaii to work on his PhD!

Posted 10 July 2019

Professor David Eck Earns Faculty Teaching Prize

While the fact that Professor Eck is a highly skilled and beloved teacher is no news to students who have taken a class with him nor to colleagues who have worked with him, this year Professor Eck was recognized as such by the entire HWS faculty. Each year the Committee on Faculty Research and Honors chooses one faculty member from all submitted nominations to honor with the faculty prize for teaching. The winner for 2019 is Professor Eck! Read more about it on the HWS website here.

Posted 2 July 2019

Professors Bring REU Program to HWS

In 2018, Professor Rusinko, together with Professors Forde and King, won a grant to run a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in mathematics at HWS. The REU runs for nine weeks each summer with ten students, at least eight of which are from other institutions across the country. In the summer of 2018, mathematics major Nick Mckenny ’20 participated in the REU and this summer mathematics major Connor Parrow ’21 is participating. The majority of the mathematics faculty in the department will be participating as research mentors at some point over the course of the grant. During the summer of 2018, Professor Rusinko lead research in mathematical phylogenetics, Professor Biermann lead research in algebraic combinatorics, Professor Gassert lead research in number theory, and Professor King lead research in graph theory. This summer, Professor Rusinko again is leading research in mathematical phylogenetics, Professor Bell is leading research in graph theory, and Professor Forde is leading research in mathematical virology. Students experience researching closely with a faculty member and a team of peers, practice and hone their mathematical writing and presenting skills, participate in a colloquium series of invited speakers, and travel to graduate schools to learn about specific programs and the graduate experience in mathematics. Below is a picture of the Summer 2018 group at the final dinner and poster session.

Posted 2 July 2019

Brautigam (H'04) Completes MBA

Karl Brautigam '04, who was a computer science major at Hobart has written us with news that he has recently received a Master of Business Administration degree. He writes:

"I recently completed my MBA with distinction at the University of Connecticut School of Business. I continue to work in the Media & Technology sectors, presently as a research and strategy professional at Disney Advertising Sales, a unit of Disney Direct-To-Consumer & International (DTCI). I work within an organization that is part of the business unit of the Walt Disney Company that houses all of Disney's advertising sales, international and direct-to-consumer operations, including the forthcoming Disney+ subscription video on demand (SVOD) service."

Posted 25 June 2019