Math and Computer Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

September 2020

  • 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.

February 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.

December 2019

  • Computer science alumna Kathryn Reagan ’16 was named as the November spotlight member of the global organization Women Who Code. Read the profile here.

November 2019

  • Devon Fulcher ’19, Sara Boyd ’20, and Anna Krolikowski ’20 represented Southwestern University at the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Collegiate Programming Competition’s South Central USA Regional Competition between schools in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, on November 9 at the University of Texas–San Antonio. There were 60 teams of three students each trying to solve 12 problems as quickly as possible. SU’s team, the Pirates, solved four problems this year, beating 18 other teams. It has been over a decade since a team from Southwestern has solved that many problems in the competition.

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science Pedro Diaz GomezHazel Hedrick ’20, Joe Roybal ’21, Matt Sanford ’20, Kirby Steckel ’21, and Thomas Zschiesche ’22 participated in the cybersecurity workshop and competition at the 9th Texas Security Awareness Week, November 1–2, organized by the University of Texas at Dallas. Two teams competed in the competition, with Sanford and Hedrick winning first place and Steckel and Roybal winning third place. The students credit their preparation for doing so well in the competition. Congratulations to our students for their teamwork, professionalism, dedication, and effort in getting this exciting result!

October 2019

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura was the inaugural speaker at the newly formed Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Club at Anderson High School in Austin, TX. She shared her experiences and reflections on getting her Ph.D. in mathematics as a Japanese woman and spoke about her research in math and art.

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura , along with coauthors Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College and Marc Frantz of Indiana University, published an article “An (Isometric) Perspective on Homographies” in the Journal for Geometry and Graphics  (vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 65–83).

  • Daniela Beckelhymer ’20 was selected by the American Statistical Association to present “Tingle Therapy: An Analysis of ASMR Users’ Subjective Relief” at StatFest at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston on September 21, 2019. Beckelhymer received a scholarship for travel and lodging. In addition to presenting, Beckelhymer was able to network with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in statistics, as well as interview with recruiters from numerous Ph.D. programs around the country. 

  • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards and coauthors Elyssa Sliheet ’19 and Roger Barnard had the article titled “On Sharp Bounds for Ratios of K-Balanced Hypergeometric Functions” accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society ( ; the hard-copy publication will appear in 2020).