Math and Computer Science
From developing interactive Web applications for nonprofit organizations to creating a mathematical model of the optimal free throw in basketball, you’ll learn to apply theory to real-world issues in creative and interdisciplinary ways.
Fulfilling Southwestern’s commitment to interdisciplinary learning, the Math and Computer Science Department provides an integrated approach to solving complex, open-ended problems—a skill necessary for succeeding in the digital age and beyond. Math students discover new ways of seeing and engaging with the world around them, from predicting national healthcare expenditures or timing cancer treatments to analyzing traffic accidents and visitations to a national park. More than just learning how to code, computer science students theorize about systems while developing algorithms and gaining hands-on experiences with database management.
Whether you major in computer science, mathematics, or computational mathematics, you will be empowered to make a positive impact on the world. You will hone your critical and creative thinking through such courses as Operations Research, Artificial Intelligence, Graph Theory, and Topology. But you will also have opportunities to combine your interests in math and computer science with your passion for the arts or community service. Our recent students have
- Used hyperbolic geometry to crochet models of Texas coral reefs
- Analyzed the structure of the Choose Your Own Adventure series using graph theory
- Created computer systems that generated artistic animations
- Composed a musical performance modeling how the HIV virus proliferates through the body
- Partnered with Upward Bound and GirlStart to improve their websites and databases
Collaborating one on one with our award-winning faculty to advance the frontiers of knowledge is just one advantage of the SU experience. As mentors and advisors, our faculty encourage student engagement with the broader mathematics community. Current students and alumni have participated in faculty-supervised research, but they have also initiated projects that have resulted in presentations and posters at regional, national, or international conferences. Our majors have garnered awards with faculty and coauthored publications in peer-reviewed journals. Students also participate in national competitions such as the Putnam Competition, the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling, the Binance Dexathon, and the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.
Featured Alumni Stories
Alumna uses computational modeling of “space trash” to keep astronauts, satellites, and the international space station safe.Read Full Story
National Science Foundation awards Small Business Innovation Research grant to ThoughtSTEM for its LearnToMod technology, a Minecraft Modding software.Read Full Story
Math and Computer Science News
From soloing at the Austin Civic Orchestra to presenting at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in Japan, cellist Isabel Tweraser ’19 embodies Southwestern’s commitment to interdisciplinary study.READ FULL STORY
Math and Computer Science Events
“Turning the Tables on Software Testing”
Testing software is an important and costly activity in software development. However, studies have found that even when students have been taught how to test their code, they usually write ineffective tests. Meanwhile, common measurements of testing quality can be misleading and may actually encourage poor testing practices. In this seminar, Dr. Kevin Buffardi will introduce unit testing strategies and discuss tools and measurements he developed for more accurate ways to judge the quality of software tests. With these approaches, he exposes common mistakes in testing, their impacts on software quality, and the potential for transforming how students problem-solve and receive feedback on programming assignments.