Computer Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

March 2023

  • Kate Nguyen ’24 and Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony co-authored “Non-majors Explore Less Well-Known Contributors to Computing,” which was presented at the 54th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’23).

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum served as associate editor of a Special Issue of the IEEE Transactions on Games on the topic of Evolutionary Computation for Games. Schrum worked with several external editors on the issue, which is being published in March 2023. These fellow editors were also co-authors with Schrum on a Guest Editorial for the issue. The issue also contains a peer-reviewed contribution from Schrum, external collaborators, and some of Schrum’s former SCOPE students, Kirby Steckel ’21 and Benjamin Capps ’22. The article “Hybrid Encoding for Generating Large Scale Game Level Patterns with Local Variations” was already available via Early Access on IEEE Xplore but has now been officially published.

  • Arden Neff ’25 presented a poster at the 126th annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Sciences in San Angelo, Texas, on March 3-4, 2023. In this work, begun as a community-engaged learning project in the Fall 2022 Operations Research course, Neff and Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony investigated the use of operations research for issues relevant to small agricultural businesses. The poster, “Optimizing Grape Harvest Timing and Yield using Linear Programming,” won first place in the Mathematics and Computer Science poster section.

November 2022

  • Computer science major Chris Ojonta ’23 attended the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT/Association for Computing Machinery (CMD-IT/ACM) Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, held September 7–10 in Washington, D.C. Ojonta received a full scholarship to support his attendance in recognition of his accomplishments in computer science. He interacted with numerous undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from a variety of backgrounds at the event and explored career and graduate school opportunities.

October 2022

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum and the Texas Alpha chapter of Alpha Chi National College Honor Society were awarded the prestigious designation of Notable Chapter for the 2021–2022 academic year. This award acknowledges Schrum and Texas Alpha’s high level of involvement and Southwestern’s commitment to and support for Alpha Chi’s high academic standards and their mission to make scholarship effective for good. Schrum ensured that multiple benchmarks of exemplary chapter health were met and exceeded.

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony, Alejandro Medina ’24, and Mark Mueller ’24 participated in the 19th International Conference on Cooperative Design, Visualization, and Engineering, held virtually September 25–28. Medina presented the group’s paper titled “Prioritizing Self, Team, or Job: Trends in Sincerity in Cooperative Polls.”

August 2022

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum had an article appear on IEEE Xplore in advance of being published in IEEE Transactions on Games. The article, titled “Hybrid Encoding for Generating Large Scale Game Level Patterns with Local Variations,” represents a long collaboration with coauthors Sebastian Risi and Vanessa Volz that started at the 2019 Schloss Dagstuhl seminar Artificial and Computational Intelligence in Games: Revolutions in Computational Game AI. The following summer, Schrum’s SCOPE students Kirby Steckel ’21 and Benjamin Capps ’22 made significant contributions to the project, which led to their inclusion as coauthors of the article. The article explains a novel technique for generating video game levels based on available training data and high-level patterns. A preprint of the article is available online.

April 2022

  • Members of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science attended the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America (Texas MAA), held March 31–April 2 at the University of North Texas, the first in-person Texas MAA meeting since 2019. 

    • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross presented “An n-bubble Result on a Dense Number Line.” Ross also participated in the professional development program of the Texas New Experiences in Teaching (NExT), held in conjunction with the Texas MAA meeting. 
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton presented “From Cars to Competition to Cholera: Math Models in Differential Equations.” As section representative to the national governing body, the MAA Congress, Shelton also led events at the executive committee meeting, the business meeting, and more.
    • Emily Thompson  ’22 presented “Using Neural Ordinary Differential Equations (NODEs) to Create Models of Complex Curves,” which was the result of her mathematics capstone from fall 2022, supervised by Shelton. 
    • Mel Richey ’23 and Kevan Kennedy ’24 attended the conference. 

March 2022

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was a coauthor on a poster titled “Unplugged Parallelism for First-Year CS Majors” at the 53rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’22). Anthony also participated in the affiliated event Dream Big: Addressing Computing for the Social Good in the CS Curricula.

October 2021

  • Senior computational mathematics major Emily Thompson’22 presented “Using Neural Ordinary Differential Equations (NODEs) to Create Models of Complex Curves” at the 16th Annual Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, held virtually October 30. The work is from her ongoing mathematics capstone project supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton.

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper titled “Questions of Sincerity in Cooperative Polls” at the 18th International Conference on Cooperative Design, Visualization, and Engineering held virtually October 24–27. The paper was coauthored with Miryam Galvez ’23 and Chris Ojonta ’23, who were research assistants with Anthony during fall 2020. Using Python to analyze the responses of simulated polls, the authors demonstrated that there are reasons to question how the idea of sincerity from voting theory transfers to the approval voting that takes place in cooperative polls. The paper was published in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series.

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper titled “Using the UCSC Genome Browser in a Database Course” at the 30th Annual Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Rocky Mountain Conference, held virtually October 15–16. This work was based on a lab activity Anthony designed and piloted in the spring 2018 database management course and has used in every subsequent offering. The peer-reviewed article will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges.

July 2021

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented an article titled “Serving Rides of Equal Importance for Time-Limited Dial-a-Ride” at the July 2021 International Conference on Mathematical Optimization Theory and Operations Research in Irkutsk-Baikal, Russia. The work, coauthored with Ananya Christman, Christine Chung, and David Yuen, shows that in certain situations such as paratransit services, no polynomial-time algorithm can be guaranteed to serve the optimal number of requests; however, the paper then provides approximation algorithms with reasonable guarantees for many practical settings. 

April 2021

  • Physics and mathematics major Gerardo Gonzalez ’22 gave a talk at the 2021 spring meeting of the American Physical Society (Texas Section) titled “Transition Probabilities for a Relativistic One-Electron Atom.” Most of the research presented during this talk resulted from a 2019 SCOPE project that Gonzalez completed with Professor of Physics Steven Alexander. They are currently working on a paper that will describe their calculations.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton has a peer-reviewed paper, “Mathematical Modeling Projects: Success For All Students,” published in the journal PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies. DOI: 10.1080/10511970.2016.124932. The paper appeared online in February 2017 and will appear in the April 2018 print issue (Volume 28, Number 4).

  • Associate Professor of Math and Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two peer-reviewed submissions accepted to the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, which will be held virtually in July 2021. Both submissions were written by undergraduate coauthors who participated in SCOPE during the summer of 2020: Benjamin Capps ’23 had a full paper, titled “Using Multiple Generative Adversarial Networks to Build Better-Connected Levels for Mega Man,” accepted for publication in the proceedings and will present the paper orally at the conference. Kirby Steckel ’21 had a poster paper accepted to the conference. A two-page extended abstract of his paper, “Illuminating the Space of Beatable Lode Runner Levels Produced by Various Generative Adversarial Networks,” will appear in the companion to the proceedings and will be presented at the conference’s virtual poster session.

March 2021

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross had a peer-reviewed paper, “Supermarkets, Highways, and Natural Gas Production: Statistics and Social Justice,” published in the journal PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies. This work began with a 2016 ACS Workshop on Math for Social Justice.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton is a co-principal investigator with a newly awarded three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. This will support the mission of the mathematical community SIMIODE to encourage and support faculty in using modeling to motivate learning of differential equations in context. The award will fund faculty development, practitioner workshops, and more.

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was a faculty scholar at the National Science Foundation RESET (Re-Enter STEM through Emerging Technology) 2021 Conference March 46, 2021. The conference focused on supporting the re-entry of women in STEM, especially in emerging technology fields, such as cybersecurity, data science, mobile development, and cloud computing.

Feburary 2021

  • Miryam Galvez ’23 presented at the 124th annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Sciences, which was held virtually February 26–27, 2021. The poster in the Mathematics and Computer Science section, titled “Using Python to Question Sincerity in Doodle Polls,” is the result of collaborative work with Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Chris Ojonta ’23 and was made possible by Southwestern’s Research Assistant funds and Sam Taylor Fellowship funds. A video describing the poster can be found here.

  • Elyssa Sliheet , class of 2019, won an award for an Outstanding Poster in the Student Poster Session of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in San Diego, Calif. Jan. 9–13, 2018. Her work, “Shift Operators on Directed Infinite Graphs,” was conducted at an NSF-funded summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) with several other undergraduates under advisor Ruben Martinez-Avendao of Universidad Autónoma Del Estado De Hidalgo. There were over 500 posters in 16 topical categories at the JMM poster session. Awards were given for the top 15% in each category. Her travel was funded by the Southwestern Student Travel Fund, the MAA Student Travel Fund, and the NSF.

  • President Edward Burger was an invited speaker at an American Mathematical Society Special Session on Diophantine Approximation and Analytic Number Theory in Honor of Jeffrey Vaaler on Jan. 12 at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings held in San Diego, Calif. There he spoke on “Applications of orthogonality within non-archimedean and human contexts.” On Jan. 23, he delivered a public address on the future of undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University as well as met with their president and engaged with their Commission on Education to assess their plans for the future.

January 2021

  • Members of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science joined the virtual 2021 Joint Mathematics Meetings, with national meetings of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), and more:

      • Zariah Whyte ’21 and Evan Alexander ’22 presented the poster “Isoperimetric Problems on the Real Number Line with Prescribed Density” in the MAA Student Poster Session on Geometry. The presentation was based on work with Assistant Professor of Mathematics John D. Ross in SCOPE 2020.  
      • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John D. Ross presented “On Curves That Generate Symmetric Lambda-Hypersurfaces” in the AMS Special Session on Analysis and Differential Equations at Undergraduate Institutions. 
      • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Noelle Sawyer presented “Marked Length Spectrum Rigidity with Partial Data” in the AMS–AWM Special Session on Women of Color in Topology and Algebra.
      • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton presented “Student Engagement in Modeling Drugs, Disease, and More.” 
      • Shelton co-organized the AMS Special Session on Adopt, Adapt, Assign Modeling Activities in Differential Equations.
      • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr also attended.

November 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Noelle Sawyer co-organized Black in Math Week, November 813, a social-media event to promote visibility and community among Black mathematicians. In one of the events for the week, Sawyer cohosted an episode of the podcast Relatively Prime about Black math educators. Black in Math Week is a part of a series of ‘Black in X’ weeks, which began with Black Birders Week to normalize Black people as a part of science communities after someone called 911 to report a Black birdwatcher in Central Park. You can find the Twitter account here and the podcast episode here.

October 2020

  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented their paper “Directed Zagreb Indices” at the (virtual) 18th Cologne–Twente Workshop on Graphs and Combinatorial Optimization (CTW 2020). The presentation and slides are available here . Their paper will be published in the AIRO Springer Series  CTW 2020 Proceedings  in March. 

September 2020

  • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards and Jordan Smith  ’20 coauthored the article “A Concavity Property of Generalized Complete Elliptic Integrals,” which has been accepted for publication in the journal Integral Transforms and Special Functions.  This collaboration began in an independent study last spring and continued into the summer. This fall, Smith began his graduate studies in mathematics at Baylor University.

  • Garey Chair and Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr has been named the codirector of the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Summer Program. EDGE was founded in 1998 and is a program for women about to enter Ph.D. programs in mathematics; it has now supported more than 100 women in earning their Ph.D.s. Marr is a proud member of EDGE 2002 and will codirect the program with fellow EDGE 2002 member Raegan Higgins, from Texas Tech University. Learn more here.

July 2020

  • Eric Oden ’16 and coauthors Sanaz Aliari Kardehdeh, Bruce Golden, and Eric Oden received the Trevor Evans Award of the Mathematical Association of America for their article “ Experimental Graph Theory, ” which is accessible to undergraduates and was published during the preceding year in the journal Math Horizons  (2019). Oden majored in mathematics and physics at Southwestern and is currently in the Ph.D. program in applied mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton, with coauthor Brian Winkel, professor emeritus of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, developed a peer-reviewed classroom module, published by SIMIODE. The module implements mathematical modeling in differential equations. “3-034-S-CarSuspensions” is the student version, and “3-034-T-CarSuspensions” is the teacher version. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant #1940532.

  • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr coauthored a paper with colleagues from India, Slovakia, and Indonesia that is now online as part of the Journal of Discrete Mathematical Sciences and Cryptography. The article, “Note on In-Antimagicness and Out-Antimagicness of Digraphs,” was written at the 2014 International Workshop on Graph Labeling in India.

May 2020

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthon coauthored a paper with Christine Chung from Connecticut College that will appear in a June 2020 volume of Theoretical Computer Science . The article, “ Equilibria in Doodle Polls under Three Tie-Breaking Rules ,” considers price of anarchy and price of stability in approval voting scenarios such as Doodle polls.

April 2020

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton has joined the editorial board for the CODEE Journal. The CODEE Journal is a peer-reviewed, open-access publication distributed by the CODEE (Community of Ordinary Differential Equations Educators) and published by the Claremont Colleges Library. It features original materials that promote the teaching and learning of ordinary differential equations.

  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross has joined the editorial board for the MAA Reviews. This outlet publishes reviews of undergraduate and graduate texts in mathematics and is hosted by the Mathematical Association of America. Ross joins the board as an associate editor of analysis.

March 2020

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony had a poster accepted to the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’20). While the March 2020 presentation in Portland, OR, was cancelled day-of because of COVID-19, the poster is now displayed in the revised virtual conference. The peer-reviewed work on “Introducing Parallelism to First-Year CS Majors” (with coauthors D. Cenk Erdil, Sacred Heart University; Olga Glebova, Georgia State University; and Robert Montante, Bloomsburg University) resulted from work begun at a weeklong training in August 2019 by the National Science Foundation–supported Center for Parallel and Distributed Computing Curriculum Development and Educational Resources.

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two peer-reviewed papers accepted to appear in the proceedings of the 2020 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. Both papers were sparked by research collaborations with coauthors that began at the 2017 Dagstuhl Seminar on AI-Driven Game Design . SU computer science major Jake Gutierrez  ’22 later contributed to this line of research as part of SCOPE 2019, and major work finalizing the projects occurred as part of the 2019 Dagstuhl Seminar on Revolutions in Computational Game AI .

    • “Interactive Evolution and Exploration within Latent Level–Design Space of Generative Adversarial Networks” was written along with Gutierrez and four other collaborators: Vanessa Volz, Jialin Liu, Simon Lucas, and Sebastian Risi. It presents a method for interactively designing video-game levels for Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda  using techniques that emulate the style of levels from the original games.
    • “CPPN2GAN: Combining Compositional Pattern–Producing Networks and GANs for Large-Scale Pattern Generation” was written with Vanessa Volz and Sebastian Risi and focuses on a way of scaling up the levels generated by our method to very large spaces. This particular approach to encoding game levels still emulates levels from Mario and Zelda but can generate content of arbitrary size that is connected in a cohesive way.

  • Computer science major Jake Gutierrez ’22 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum have had their peer-reviewed paper “Generative Adversarial Network Rooms in Generative Graph Grammar Dungeons for The Legend of Zelda” accepted for publication in the proceedings of the 2020 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Congress on Evolutionary Computation, which will be part of this year’s World Congress on Computational Intelligence. This research started as part of SCOPE 2019 and continued into fall 2019 with a human-subject study, which involved members of the SU community evaluating video-game dungeons created by the artificial-intelligence methods developed for the paper.

Feburary 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross and Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards ’ book Introductory Analysis: An Inquiry Approach  was released by Taylor & Francis–CRC Press. The text is an inquiry-based exploration of the real number line, seriously examining fundamental topics in the field of real analysis. Beyond the main content, the text features an extended prologue that introduces readers to inquiry-based proof writing, as well as a suite of extended explorations into advanced special topics in the field. An early version of this text was read by SU math majors Morgan Engle  ’18 and Elyssa Sliheet  ’19, and improvements were made based on their suggestions.

January 2020

  • The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was active at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, with national meetings of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), and more. It is the largest meeting of mathematicians in the world. The meetings were held in Denver, CO, January 15–18, 2020.

    • Sarah Friday ’21 and Jordan Smith ’20 presented “Diagonalizing the Undiagonalizable,” research based and expanding on a 2019 SCOPE project with Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura. Aaron Waclawczyk ’21 was a coauthor who helped extend the SCOPE work. The presentation was in the AMS contributed-paper session on algebra and algebraic geometry.
    • Daniela Beckelhymer ’20 presented her mathematics capstone project titled “The Costs and Rewards of Pursuing Different Postsecondary Degrees“ as part of the undergraduate poster session. Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr supervised the project.
    • Marr presented “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory” in the MAA contributed-paper session “Tell Me a Story: Connections between Mathematics and Performed or Print Narrative.” D’Andre Adams ’21 and Beckelhymer are coauthors.  The presentation was based on their 2017 SCOPE research and their subsequent publication.
    • Marr  coorganized the MAA contributed-paper session on re-envisioning the calculus sequence with coorganizers Robin Cruz, College of Idaho; Tom Halverson, Macalester College; Joel Kilty, Centre College; Alex M. McAllister, Centre College; and Chad Topaz, Williams College.
    • Marr  was a coauthor of the talk “Calculus: Origins, Reforms, and New Directions” with Robin Cruz, College of Idaho; Tom Halverson, Macalester College; Joel Kilty, Centre College; Alex M. McAllister, Centre College; and Chad Topaz, Williams College.
    • Marr and Assistant Professor of Mathematics John D. Ross presented the preliminary report “A Re-Envisioning of the Calculus Sequence for the Modern Student” with coauthors Joel Kilty, Centre College, and Alex M. McAllister, Centre College.
    • Ross  presented “Exploring Big Ideas in Calculus 1 through Bite-Sized IBL Lessons” in the MAA contributed-paper session on inquiry-based learning and teaching.
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton copresented “Building Community through Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations (SIMIODE)” in the MAA poster session on projects supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Education. Her coauthors were the coprincipal investigators of their NSF grant: Brian Winkel, SIMIODE and emeritus professor from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Richard C. Harwood, Newberg University; Audrey Malagon, Virginia Wesleyan University; and Patrice Tiffany, Manhattan College. The NSF grant partly funded Shelton’s attendance. Shelton served on the SIMIODE Board of Contributing Advisors, as well as participated in a meeting of her NSF grant coprincipal investigators.
    • Shelton  coorganized the AMS special session “Wall-to-all Modeling Activities in Differential Equations Courses.” Her coorganizers were Janet Fierson, La Salle University, and Brian Winkel, SIMIODE.
    • Shelton  participated in the meeting of the national MAA Committee on Sessions of Contributed Papers.
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Safia Chettih presented the preliminary report “A Combinatorial Model for an Honest ∞-Operad” in the AMS special session on computational and categorical methods in homotopy theory. Her coauthors were L. Bonatto, University of Oxford; A. Linton, University of Southampton; S. Raynor, Macquarie University; M. Roberston, University of Melbourne; and N. Wahl, University of Copenhagen.
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John M. Osborn also attended.

  • Computer science majors Anna Krolikowski ’20, Sarah Friday ’20, and Alice Quintanilla ’20 coauthored a peer-reviewed paper with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum that was accepted to the EvoMUSART: International Conference on Computational Intelligence in Music, Sound, Art, and Design. Their paper, “Quantum Zentanglement: Combining Picbreeder and Wave Function Collapse to Create Zentangles,” presents a computational approach to generating art reminiscent of Zentangles. Examples of generated art are available here.

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura coauthored an IBL-style textbook titled Perspective and Projective Geometry  (Princeton University Press, 2019), with her colleagues Annalisa Crannell, of Franklin & Marshall College, and Marc Frantz, of Indiana University. The textbook introduces students to geometry through perspective drawing, leading students to discover ideas through hands-on activities, including drawing, analyzing Renaissance paintings and photographs, and GeoGebra constructions. The textbook also guides students to develop rigorous proofs for their conjectures and can be used as an introduction to proofs course for undergraduate math majors.

  • Computer science major Sara Boyd ’20 has been selected as a finalist of the Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for 2020. This award program recognizes undergraduate students in North American colleges and universities who show outstanding potential in an area of computing research. Boyd’s award recognizes published work she has done with Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony, an REU at the University of Texas at Arlington, as well as project work in several computer science courses.