Math and Computer Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

February 2019

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton coauthored a paper, “Pharmacokinetic Models for Active Learning of Differential Equations,” which was published online by the journal PRIMUS. Shelton’s coauthors are Beulah Agyemang-Barimah ’17, currently a graduate student in computational biology at Cornell University, and Theresa Laurent, of St. Louis College of Pharmacy. This peer-reviewed paper will appear in a print version of a special issue on modeling in differential-equations courses. Some of the work that led to this paper was funded by Southwestern’s grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation.





  • Professors of Mathematics Alison Marr and Fumiko Futamura coauthored and published a paper titled “Taking Mathematics Abroad: A How-to Guide” in the journal PRIMUS. This paper fills a gap in the literature on developing and teaching mathematics abroad, with examples and advice from the authors’ experiences teaching a variety of interdisciplinary courses in the SU London semester program.





January 2019

  • Computer science and chemistry double major Lauren Gillespie ’19 has been awarded an Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher award from the Computing Research Association. Only students in North American universities may compete for the award, and only four such awards were given, with other awardees coming from such prestigious universities as Columbia, Harvard, and Yale. Gillespie’s award recognizes work she has done in the field of evolutionary computation since 2016, first as a SCOPE student under Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum and most recently as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Michigan State University under Dr. Charles Ofria. In addition to the recognition, this award will provide Gillespie with $1,500 to attend a research conference of her choice.





  • 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 Baltimore, MD, Jan. 16–19, 2019.

    • 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. The coauthors were the coprincipal investigators of their National Science Foundation (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 participated in the meeting of the MAA Committee on Sessions of Contributed Papers.
    • Shelton served on the SIMIODE Board of Contributing Advisors and participated in a meeting of her NSF grant coprincipal investigators.
    • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura presented “Factoring Homographies to Analyze Perspective Distortions” based on a recent paper coauthored with Marc Frantz of Indiana University Bloomington and Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College in the MAA Contributed Paper Session on Mathematics and the Arts.
    • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John 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.
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Osborn presented “Peaks and Valleys of First-Time Implementation of IBL Methods in Calculus III and Intro to Statistics Classes” in the MAA Contributed Paper Session on Inquiry-Based Learning and Teaching.
    • Mercedes Gonzalez  ’21 presented “Restrictions on Homflypt and Kauffman Polynomials Arising from Local Moves” in the AMS Special Session on Not KNerds: A Community for Knot Theory. The talk was based on a 2018 NSF REU and coauthored by Sandy Ganzell, St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Chloe Marcum, Marshall University; Nina Ryalls, University of Dallas; and Mariel Santos, St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Gonzalez  received partial funding from the REU, the Fleming Student Travel Fund, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
    • Elyssa Sliheet  ’19 presented “Mathematical Models Linking within-Host to between-Host HIV Dynamics” in the AMS Contributed Paper Session on Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory. The talk was based on a 2018 NSF REU. Sliheet received partial funding from the REU, the Fleming Student Travel Fund, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
    • Our students each presented in a faculty session rather than a session for undergraduate presentations.




December 2018

  • Art generated by the interactive evolution system AnimationBreeder was featured on the cover of SIGEVOlution (volume 11, issue 4), the newsletter of the Special Interest Group on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation. AnimationBreeder is a system developed by Southwestern University students Isabel Tweraser ’19 and Lauren Gillespie ’19 as part of SCOPE summer research supervised by Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum. Also in the newsletter is a short description of the art, as well as a reference to the publication describing this research, which was cowritten by Tweraser, Gillespie, and Schrum.





  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper on the “Inefficiency of Equilibria in Doodle Polls,” coauthored with Christine Chung of Connecticut College, at the 12th Conference on Combinatorial Optimization and Applications. She also chaired a session on combinatorial optimization at the conference.





November 2018

  • President Edward Burgerand Professor of Art Victoria Star Varner presented an invited joint lecture in the Bridges Lecture Series at the University of Waterloo, Canada, on the connections between their original research in math and art on Nov. 21. The Bridges Lecture Series “aims to rediscover points of affinity among academic disciplines…and to bring them back into productive dialogue; to raise questions that are essential to scholars in Arts, Science, and Mathematics; and to provide specialists and non-specialists alike with compelling and enriching information that uncovers the possibilities and opportunities that exist on the bridge between disciplines. Our guiding goal is to coax audiences out of their intellectual comfort zones, and to transcend narrow discipline-specific avenues of academic inquiry.”





  • Computer science majors Bobby Garza, class of 2019, and Sabin Oza and Matt Sanford, both class of 2020, competed in the 2018 ACM ICPC South Central USA Regional Programming Contest at Baylor University. In this competition, students work together in teams of three to solve challenging programming puzzles for five hours. Though the team did not advance to the World Finals, they are proud of their performance. Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was the coach for the team.





  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross participated in the professional-development program of the Texas New Experiences in Teaching (NExT) project, held at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, TX, Nov. 23, 2018. Texas NExT is sponsored by the Texas section of the Mathematical Association of America.





  • Five math majors presented at the Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (TUMC), held at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, TX, Nov. 2 3, 2018.

    • Aiden Steinle, class of 2020, presented “Staying in Shape with Real-World Mappings.” Steinle’s work was supervised by Professor of Mathematics and Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science Fumiko Futamura.
    • Gillian Glover , class of 2019, presented “Make Money with Linear Algebra: A Model of Portfolio Analysis.” Glover’s math capstone is an extension of work supervised by Dr. Futamura.
    • Stan Kannegieter , class of 2019, presented “The Kissing Disease and Differential Equations.”
    • Will Price, class of 2019, presented “Ms. Pac-Man Eats AI for Breakfast.” Price’s math capstone is an extension of his SCOPE 2018 research under Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.
    • Mercedes Gonzalez, class of 2021, presented “Restrictions on HOMFLYPT and Kauffman Polynomials Arising from Local Moves.” Gonzalez presented work from a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program, supervised by Dr. Sandy Ganzell from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton supervised the math capstone work of Glover, Kannegieter, and Price, and she moderated a session of presentations at the TUMC.  
    • Other attendees included Zariah Whyte, class of 2021, and Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross.
    • Student lodging, registration, and meals was provided by National Science Foundation award no. DMS-1834888 for 2018. Additional funding was provided by a Faculty–Student Project award, the Fleming Student Travel Fund, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Southwestern students accounted for five of the 57 presentations given by students representing 21 colleges and universities.




  • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented a talk titled “Envisioning a New Calculus Sequence”  in the “Innovation/Ideation” session at the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference, held Nov. 810, in Atlanta, GA. This talk was based on work that has taken place over the last year as part of an ACS grant titled “Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in Mathematics and the STEM Disciplines,” which is a joint project with Joel Kilty and Alex McAllister at Centre College.





October 2018

  • Computer Science and Chemistry double major Lauren Gillespie, class of 2019, received a Student Presentation Award for her poster “Comparing Direct and Indirect Encodings Using Both Raw and Hand-Designed Features in Tetris” at the 2018 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM conference organized by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. The poster was based on SCOPE research with Gabriela Gonzalez ’16 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton led two sessions at the Student Contest Using Differential Equations Modeling (SCUDEM) on Oct. 27, 2018, at the local host site for this international competition, the Highland Campus of Austin Community College. Shelton supervised all participants in inquiry-oriented learning with a modeling scenario that she recently had published in the repository at Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations (SIMIODE). She gave a faculty development session for the coaches, sharing two more of her published modules.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton, Associate Professor of Education Sherry Adrian, and Emma Kathryn Groves’s ’17 coauthored paper, “A Model of the Transmission of Cholera in a Population with Contaminated Water,” has been accepted for publication in the special issue Linking Differential Equations to Social Justice and Environmental Concernsof the Journal of the Community of Differential Equations Educators(CODEE). Groves and Shelton worked on the mathematical model in SCOPE 2015. Adrian and Shelton worked on the connections with social justice.





  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper coauthored with Valentin Cantu Jr. ’18 at the 27th Annual Rocky Mountain Conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges held Oct. 12–13, 2018, in Socorro, NM. The paper, “Modernizing the Mythical Man-Month,” provides an alternative way of presenting concepts from a classical reading in the field: while the software engineering ideas are still relevant, the authors suggest using language that is more inclusive and examples that are more relatable to students in the 21st century. It will be published in the December 2018 issue of the Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges.





  • Computer Science major Adina Friedman, class of 2019, attended the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) Symposium for Texas Researchers (TACCSTER) at the Pickle Research Campus in Austin, Texas, Sept 20–21. TACC is home to four supercomputer clusters, including Stampede2m, the most powerful supercomputer at any U.S. university. TACC collaborates with thousands of researchers across the country using applied high-performance computing to enable scientific discovery. Friedman was exposed to talks, panels, and posters from researchers currently using TACC resources in the areas of machine learning, cloud computing, and others.





September 2018

  • Elyssa Sliheet, class of 2019, and Sara Boyd, class of 2020, attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Houston, Texas, Sept. 2628. The Grace Hopper Conference is the largest meeting of women technologists in the world. The program included inspiring talks by female leaders in industry as well as talks by academic researchers and educators. There was also a massive Career Fair allowing women to seek jobs with tech companies, including some of the biggest names in industry (e.g., Google, Microsoft, and Amazon). Both students had all travel expenses funded by competitive travel scholarships. Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum also attended the conference, as did alumna Kathryn Reagan ’16.





  • Current Math and Computer Science double-major Elyssa Sliheet, class of 2019, attended the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 1922. Sliheet attended several sessions on topics such as the importance of diversity and inclusion in the field of computer science and ethics in the applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Sliheet’s travel was funded by a competitive travel scholarship.





  • Computer Science and Chemistry major Lauren Gillespie,  class of 2019, was awarded a $2500 Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) Executive Council Award. UPE is a computer-science honor society. Applications are considered based on the member’s long-term plans in the computing profession, their contributions to their respective UPE chapters, and related student activities at their college.





  • Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth, serving as President of the South Texas Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, hosted the Association’s annual convention at Southwestern University on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Collaborating with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum, she taught hands-on workshops on integrating STEM and German. Welcoming high school and college German teachers from the region to SU’s campus is a community outreach initiative that supports articulated curricular development, mentoring, and resource sharing while increasing the visibility of our campus and our programs in Modern Languages and Literatures. Recognized for her outreach initiatives and appointed as an Ortslektorin (local lecturer) for Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, German Academic Exchange Service), a professional network of 850 members worldwide, Berroth recently received a $600 resource grant from the DAAD and the German government to build a collection of contemporary German literature.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton published three peer-reviewed classroom modules with coauthors Theresa Laurent of St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Beulah Agyemang-Barimah ’17. The modeling scenarios are differential equations models of absorption and elimination of aspirin, caffeine, and digoxin in the human body. Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations (SIMIODE) published teacher and student versions for each of the three models.





  • Sara Boyd, class of 2020, Bobby Garza, class of 2019, Alexander Hoffman, class of 2020, Stan Kannegieter, class of 2019, Daniel Merritt, class of 2020, and faculty sponsor Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony participated in the Binance Dexathon decentralized exchange coding competition to improve on Binance’s current blockchain implementation this summer. Along with learning more about the blockchain and practicing their software skills, the students also gained valuable experience in project management and working with teammates in remote locations. For their submission, Binance awarded the team a 10,000 BNB grant.





August 2018

  • Though not in attendance, Southwestern faculty and students won two awards at the 2018 Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games held August 14 17 in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

    • Computer Science and Math double-major Will Price, class of 2019, won 1st place in the Ms. Pac-Man track of the Ms. Pac-Man Vs. Ghost Team Competition. This competition allows individuals to program controllers for both Ms. Pac-Man and the Ghosts in a challenging, partially observable version of the classic video game. Price’s winning Ms. Pac-Man entry was developed as part of SCOPE 2018 under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum, and is an extension of Dr. Schrum’s own dissertation research on Ms. Pac-Man.
    • Schrum and collaborators from around the world won 1st place in the Short Video Competition for their video describing work on their recent paper, “Evolving Mario Levels in the Latent Space of a Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network.” The purpose of the competition is to describe interesting research relevant to the conference in an informative and watchable manner.




  • The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was active at MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Denver, Colo., Aug. 1 4, 2018.

    • President and Professor of Mathematics Edward Burger gave the invited plenary talk, “Think. Create. Connect: To Make Meaning and Make a Difference” to Project NExT, New Experiences in Teaching, a professional-development program for new or recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences.
    • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Robert Lehr ’15 received the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award for expository excellence for their article “A New Perspective on Finding the Viewpoint,” published in the October 2017 issue of Mathematics Magazine.
    • Lehr won an award for his presentation “Perspective Drawing: How to Find the Immersion Point,” in the Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) student session.  He will begin his first year at the University of Texas School of Architecture this August. PME funded his attendance at the meeting.
    • Futamura copresented an expert class, the MAA Minicourse “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings,” with Annalisa Crannell of Franklin & Marshall College.
    • Futamura was a panelist for the Project NExT panel discussion on “Building a Diverse and Inclusive Mathematics Major.” She discussed the EQUIP program and shared her experiences in cobuilding and coteaching in the program.
    • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented “Hidden No More Lecture Series,” based on her minigrant from the National Science Foundation.
    • Marr coauthored “Re-Envisioning the Calculus Sequence,” based on her grant from the Associated Colleges of the South with Alex M. McAllister, of Centre College, and Joel Kilty, of Centre College.
    • Marr served as a moderator for the Town Hall “Shaping and Fostering an Equitable Community in Our Departments.” The results of this Town Hall discussion will be published in the Association for Women in Mathematics NewsletterMAA FOCUS, and Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Emma Kathryn Groves ’17  copresented “Incorporating Biology Topics Into Mathematics Undergraduate Experiences.” Groves just completed her first year in the Mathematics graduate program at North Carolina State University. She began work on mathematical models of cholera during her HHMI-funded SCOPE in 2016 with Yinlin Dai ’16, supervised by Shelton. Shelton also shared some of her work funded under the W. M. Keck grant at Southwestern.
    • Shelton participated in a Data Science Workshop and joined a focus group of the MAA Committee on Faculty and Departments by invitation.
    • Shelton participated in events for SIMIODE, including a meeting of the coprincipal investigators of their grant from the National Science Foundation, which partly funded Shelton’s attendance.
    • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross presented “Implementing Mastery-Based Quizzes and Tests in a Calculus Course.”




July 2018

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton was active in two workshops under the grant through the National Science Foundation for which she is a co-principal investigator. The workshops were held at Manhattan College in the Bronx, N.Y., July 1528, 2018.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton presented “An Undergraduate Mathematical Modeling Capstone” at the SIAM Conference on Applied Mathematics Education (ED18), July 911, 2018, in Portland, Ore.





  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura gave an invited talk titled “Perspectives of a Mathematician Artist” to around 90 high school students at the Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State University on July 13, 2018.





  • Isabel Tweraser (Computer Science and Music double major) and Lauren Gillespie (Computer Science and Chemistry double major), both class 2019, travelled to Kyoto, Japan, with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum to attend the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. Several notable events occurred at the conference:

    • Dr. Schrum and coauthors from other institutions won the best paper award in the Digital Entertainment Technologies and Arts track for their paper “Evolving Mario Levels in the Latent Space of a Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network.” This paper has also garnered much attention from several media outlets, such as The Register, Science Magazine, and Fast Company.
    • Tweraser presented the paper “Querying Across Time to Interactively Evolve Animations,” co-authored with Gillespie and Dr. Schrum.
    • Dr. Schrum presented the paper “Evolving Indirectly Encoded Convolutional Neural Networks to Play Tetris with Low-Level Features.”
    • Dr. Schrum addressed the entire conference as a representative of SparkCognition, Inc., in a short talk titled “AI Is Not Just Evolution; It’s Revolution.”
    • Tweraser was recognized at a recipient of an ACM-W scholarship, which provided her with free registration and paid for a portion of her travel costs to the conference.




  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony had a publication accepted for the 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems, which was presented in Stockholm, Sweden, in July 2018. The extended abstract on “How Bad is Selfish Doodle Voting?” was co-authored with Christine Chung of Connecticut College.





  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was a panelist at the Google Faculty Institute held at Google’s Sunnyvale, Calif., campus in June 2018. The institute brought together approximately 200 faculty members and numerous Googlers to learn about changing cloud technology and discuss its incorporation into the classroom. This year’s institute had a particular focus on Machine Learning, including considerations about fairness in machine learning.





June 2018

  • Two Southwestern students will present posters at SACNAS 2018, the national diversity in STEM conference organized by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. Computer Science and Chemistry double major Lauren Gillespie ’19, who has been awarded a travel scholarship to attend the conference, will present her poster “Comparing Direct and Indirect Encodings Using Both Raw and Hand-Designed Features in Tetris,” based on SCOPE research with Gabriela Gonzalez ’16 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob SchrumIan Orantes-Orellana ’19 will present a poster titled “Photobleaching Lifetimes of Cy5-Alkyne and Cy-5 Alkyne Fluorescence” co-authored by Gillespie, Mauro Garcia ’18 and Visiting Professor of Chemistry David Cooper.





  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper co-authored a state of the art report (STAR) “State of the Art of Sports Data Visualization” with researchers from around the globe which he presented at EuroVis 2018 in Brno, Czech Republic. The report will be published in the journal Computer Graphics Forum. The survey covers past work in sports visualization in both research and journalism categorized by the type of data (box score data, tracking data, and meta-data) and addresses future research in sports visualization research including new forms of sports data, the growth in volume of sports data, the rise of non-competitive sports data, and the ethics of studying sports data.





May 2018

  • Music and Computer Science double-major Isabel Tweraser, class of 2019, has been awarded a $1,200 ACM-W scholarship to help her travel to Kyoto, Japan, to present her peer-reviewed conference paper “Querying Across Time to Interactively Evolve Animations” at the upcoming Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. The paper was co-authored with Lauren Gillespie, class of 2019, and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum. ACM is the Association for Computing Machinery, and ACM-W scholarships are specifically aimed at helping female students attend research conferences in hopes of encouraging them to pursue further research opportunities in the future.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr and her 11 co-authors had a piece published in the May 2018 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society about their experiences at the Workshop on Increasing Minority Participation in Undergraduate Mathematics this past summer in Park City, Utah. The piece is available here.





  • Elyssa Sliheet, Class of 2019, and Daniela Beckelhymer, Class of 2020, attended the Infinite Possibilities Conference for Women of Color in Mathematics and Statistics in Washington, D.C., April 14–15, 2018. Sliheet presented a poster on her REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) research “Shift Operators on Directed Infinite Graphs” and Beckelhymer presented a poster on her SCOPE research with Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks using Graph Theory.” Beckelhymer won a prize for Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation at the conference.





  • Thirteen students and four faculty traveled to Dallas, Texas, April 5 7 to attend and give talks at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Texas Section Mathematical Association of America held at El Centro College.

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr co-presented “Starting Inquiry-Based Learning Consortia”
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Gary Richter presented “Revisiting a Limit as X approaches 0, the limit of sin(x)/x = 1”
    • D’Andre Adams, class of 2020, and Daniela Beckelhymer, class of 2018, presented their SCOPE 2017 research with Dr. Marr titled “Choosing Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory”
    • Morgan Engle, class of 2018, presented her SCOPE 2017 and capstone research supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Becca Edwards titled “Influence of ENSO on United States Gulf Coast Ozone Using a Surface Ozone Climatology”
    • Sam Vardy, class 2018, presented a pedagogical talk supervised by Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross titled “Taking on Statistics with R(Our) Power”
    • Taylor Axtel, class of 2019, Alan Carr and Charlie Ellison, both class of 2020, presented research supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura, “3-D Matrices: How Do They Work?”
    • Music major Jacob Wilson, class of 2020, presented a musical composition from Dr. Futamura’s Explorations in Mathematics course “Frieze Patterns in Music”
    • Aiden Steinle,  class of 2020, presented research supervised by Dr. Futamura, “Staying in Shape with Real World Mappings.” Aiden won an award for Best Presentation in Geometry.
    • The other four student attendees were Keyshaan Castle, class of  2020, Katie Dyo and Elyssa Sliheet, both class of 2019, and Bonnie Henderson, class of 2018. Dr. Futamura and Dr. Ross also attended the meeting, with Dr. Ross participating in the Texas Section Project NeXT meeting.




  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura was invited to give two talks, one on April 13 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, titled “How to Mathematically Immerse Yourself in Art,” and the other on April 17 at the Phi Beta Kappa event (En)Lightning Talks Houston titled “When Artists Become Mathematicians.” The (En)Lightning Talk was a 5-minute talk, complete with a countdown clock and an M.C. ready to hit a gong when time ran out. Futamura finished her talk in 4 minutes and 58 seconds.





April 2018

  • Senior Physics and Computational Math double-major Yash Gandhi, class of 2018, has been awarded an H. Y. Benedict Fellowship from Alpha Chi National Honor Society. Alpha Chi is a national honor society that was founded at Southwestern University in 1922, and is only open to the top 10% of juniors and seniors. Furthermore, only two Alpha Chi members from each university may be nominated to be awarded one of 10 fellowships awarded nationwide. The $3,000 in fellowship money will be used to help Yash attend graduate studies in Computer Science next year. Full press release here.





  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper, along with co-authors at Microsoft Research and Georgia Tech, had a book chapter titled “Data-Driven Storytelling Techniques: Analysis of a Curated Collection of Visual Stories” published in the edited volume Data-Driven Storytelling published by AK Peters/CRC Press. The chapter details design patterns that data-driven journalists have been using to present their work.





  • Nine Computer Science and Computational Math majors traveled to present research posters at the South Central Regional Conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges held April 6 at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

    • Valentine Cantu, Yash Gandhi, Marissa Madrid-Ortega,and Kolton Noreen,all class of 2018, won 2nd place in the poster competition for their research “Looking AHEAD: Developing an Advising Hub for EQUIP And DRAFT,” which was done as part of their senior capstone in software engineering along with students Kristen McCrary and Angus Strickland,both class of 2018, under the supervision of Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony.
    • Will Price,class of 2019, and Matt Sanford,class of 2020, won 3rd place in the poster competition for their research “Dynamic Graph-Level Operations (DGLOs),” which was done as part of SCOPE 2017 under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper.
    • Bobby Garza,class of 2019, presented “Encryption Using Nonlinear Dynamics,” which was also done as part of SCOPE 2017 under the supervision Dr. Chris Curry, former Coordinator of FIrst-Year Physics Labs.
    • Sarah “Darwin” Johnson,class of 2020, presented “Evolution of Board Game Playing Agents,” which was done as part of SCOPE 2017 under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.
    • Alice Quintanilla , class of 2020, presented “Evolving Artificial Intelligences to Compete in Real-Time Strategy Games,” which was done as part of SCOPE 2017 under the supervision of Dr. Schrum.
    • Assistant Professors of Computer Science Jacob Schrum and Chad Stolper also attended the conference.




  • 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).





March 2018

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had four full-length peer-reviewed papers accepted to appear in the proceedings of, and be presented at, the 2018 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO), to take place July 15-19 in Kyoto, Japan. The four papers are:

      • “Querying Across Time to Interactively Evolve Animations,” written with Music major and Computer Science minor Isabel Tweraser, and Computer Science/Chemistry double-major Lauren Gillespie, both class of 2019. This work deals with the simulated evolution of artistic animations, and includes the results of a human-subject study conducted at SU. The various pieces of art generated by users can be seen on here. This research will also be presented at this year’s Research and Creative Works Symposium.
      • “Evolving Indirectly Encoded Convolutional Neural Networks to Play Tetris With Raw Features,” written solely by Schrum, but extends previous research conducted as part of SCOPE 2016 with students Lauren Gillespie, class of 2019, and Gabriela Gonzalez ’16. This previous work was presented at GECCO last year. Though both papers evolve artificial agents to play Tetris, the new results are a vast improvement, due to the use of Convolutional Neural Networks.
      • “Evolving Mario Levels in the Latent Space of a Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network,” joint research with several researchers in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Games from around the world. The work began as part of a research seminar on AI-Driven Game Design held at the Castle Dagstuhl Leibniz-Center for Computer Science. One session at the seminar focused on “Game Search Space Design and Representation.” Schrum joined several researchers from this group to explore interesting ways of generating new levels for the game Super Mario Bros. based on existing game levels.
      • “Divide and Conquer: Neuroevolution for Multiclass Classification,” joint research with Data Scientists as SparkCognition, Inc., an AI-startup in Austin where Schrum works as a part-time consulting scientist. The paper is associated with a product called Darwin, which uses simulated evolution to solve various types of Data Science problems. The paper specifically explores how Darwin can solve classification problems using ensembles.




  • 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.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura organized students and faculty to create a hyperbolic crochet coral reef for a table at the Hot Science Cool Talks event on coral reefs at the University of Texas on Feb.16. To prepare for the event, she gave talks on hyperbolic geometry and crochet at SU for the 107 Lecture in Mathematics and for the Art Association, and taught students, faculty and staff how to crochet hyperbolic planes that incidentally look like coral. Nine students, faculty and alumni contributed: Kari Darr ’19, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Linda DiLullo, Christi Ho ’18, Abigail Jendrusch ’19, Jacob Jimerson ’19, Chris Nissen ’18, Aiden Steinle ’18, Natalie Young ’19. Christi, Jacob and Aiden attended the event, teaching the public about hyperbolic geometry and how to crochet. The coral reef will be on display in the entrance to the Smith Library from March 20 to the end of the semester.





  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was a panelist on the “Teaching with the Cloud” panel at Special Interest Group for Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) 2018, the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, in Baltimore, Md., in Feb. 2018.