Math and Computer Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

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.





February 2018

  • 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.





January 2018

  • 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.





November 2017

  • Nov. 3–4, three teams of SU students competed in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC) South-Central USA Regional hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Programming contests are structured as collections of problems that teams must write code to solve. Teams are ranked by the number of problems solved and then by the speed with which they solved them. Between the practice contest Friday evening and the contest Saturday afternoon, all three Southwestern teams — SU Transfer Crew (Sara Boyd and Devon Fulcher, both class of 2020, and Adanna Court, class of 2018), SU Pirates (Sabin Oza, class of 2021, Kayla Ingram and Colin Scruggs, both class of 2019), and String[ ] arghhhhhhhhs (Alexander Hoffman, Matt Sanford, both class of 2020, and Will Price, class of 2019) — solved at least one problem. This year’s teams were coached by Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper, the latter of whom accompanied the teams to the competition.





  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the Dagstuhl Research Seminar: “Artificial and Computational Intelligence in Games: AI-Driven Game Design” in Nov. 2017. The Castle Dagstuhl - Leibniz Center for Computer Science, in Dagstuhl, Germany, aims to further world class research in Computer Science by hosting invitation-only research seminars on various topics throughout the year. With various researchers from around the world, Schrum participated in workshops on the topics of “Emergence in Games,” “Playful NPCs and Games,” “Game Design Search Spaces,” and conducted a workshop on “Human-Assisted Content Creation Within Games.”





  • Elyssa Sliheet, Class of 2019,  and Adina Friedman, Class of 2019, presented  “Inventing a Mobile Service” and “How Can Technology Help At-Risk Youth Get Enough Support to Stay in School,” respectively, at Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science, a three-day research-focused workshop at Carnegie Mellon University Oct 20–22, 2017.  Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony served as the faculty sponsor.  Funding was provided by the Fleming Student Travel Fund, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Southwestern, as well as Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science and Women@SCS.





  • Five seniors presented at the Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (TUMC) on Oct. 21, 2017, held this year in San Antonio.

    • Victoria Gore, class of 2018, presented “Modeling Trends in Austin Traffic.”

    • Bonnie Henderson, class of 2018, presented “The Mathemasticks of Flower Sticks.”

    • Kristen McCrary, class of 2018, presented  “Math and Mancala.”

    • Penny Phan, class of 2018, presented “Singapore:  Model of a Savings Fund.”

    • Sam Vardy, class of 2018, presented “The Price of Health.”

    Each presentation was based on preliminary capstone work in Fall 2017 supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton who also attended.  Other students in attendance were Isaac Hopkins, class of 2018, Hannah Freeman and Aiden Steinle, both class of 2020, and Mercedes Gonzalez, class of 2021. Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross also attended the Project NExT events and aided our students. There were 28 talks by students at 14 institutions at the TUMC. Southwestern had the most students giving presentations. Approximately 115 students from 23 institutions attended. Southwestern funding for students was provided by the Fleming Student Travel Fund and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Shelton was funded through the Faculty-Student Project fund at Southwestern. The University of Incarnate Word subsidized the TUMC.





October 2017

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper titled “Several Questions which Work for Almost Any Computer Science Exam” at the 26th Annual Rocky Mountain Conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges in Orem, Utah, held Oct. 13–14, 2017. Her paper will be published in the December 2017 issue of the Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr recently had her proposal “Hidden No More: Stories of Triumph, Excellence, and Achievement in Math and Computer Science” selected for funding as a mini-grant through the “WATCH US” grant from the National Science Foundation INCLUDES program. This mini-grant will bring four women from underrepresented groups with doctorates in mathematics and computer science to campus over the 2017–2018 academic year for a lecture series where each speaker will tell her journey to math (or computer science) and also share the type of research she does.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Robert Lehr ’15 published a paper in Mathematics Magazine’s October 2017 issue titled “A New Perspective on Finding the Viewpoint” (90, no. 4, p. 267-77). The article uses projective geometry to give a new method for determining where a viewer should stand in front of a two-point perspective drawing to view it correctly.





August 2017

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper co-authored the article “Vispubdata.org: A Metadata Collection About IEEE Visualization (VIS) Publications” which has been published in the September 2017 issue of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (IEEE TVCG).





  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Kathryn Reagan ’16 coauthored an article on “Community-Engaged Projects in Operations Research” in the Summer 2017 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. The research for this article was conducted during the Spring 2015 Operations Research course, with support from Director of Community-Engaged Learning Sarah Brackmann. Reagan was a Community-Engaged Learning Teaching Assistant and Anthony was a participant in the CEL Faculty Fellows program.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura presented a talk, “Fractals in Japanese Woodblock Prints,” as part of the Academic and Cultural Lecture Series of the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin in July 2017. This public lecture was presented at St. Edward’s University.





  • Four of our mathematics faculty, two students, and an alumnus were active at MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) held July 26–29, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura co-presented the minicourse “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings” with Annalisa Crannell of Franklin & Marshall College and Marc Frantz of Indiana University.

    • Visiting Assistant Professor John Ross presented “Lessons Learned Creating IBL Course Notes” at the MathFest Contributed Paper Session “Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning.”

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton co-organized and presented the workshop “Examples and Experiences in Teaching a Modeling-Based Differential Equations Course” with Rosemary Farley of Manhattan College, Patrice Tiffany of Manhattan College, and Brian Winkel of SIMIODE.

    • Beulah Agyemang-Barimah ’17 and Shelton co-presented “Pharmacokinetic Models for Active Learning” with Theresa Laurent of St. Louis College of Pharmacy.  This was part of the Contributed Paper Session “A Modeling First Approach in a Tradition Differential Equations Class.” Shelton’s work was supported by the Keck Foundation Grant at Southwestern.

    • Daniela Beckelhymer and D’Andre Adams, both class of 2020, presented “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory” in the MAA Student Paper Session based on work from the 2017 SCOPE work supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr.  Their travel was supported by the SCOPE and S-STEM programs at Southwestern.

    • Ross and Marr served as judges for some of the MAA Student Paper Sessions.





  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was an invited participant at the Google Cloud Platform Faculty Institute held at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus in July–Aug. 2017. The institute brought together approximately 60 faculty and numerous Googlers to consider how cloud technologies can be more effectively incorporated into the classroom.





  • Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth was invited to present the concluding paper in a three-session section on integrating STEM and German at the XVI. International Conference of Teachers of German, IDT, in Fribourg, Switzerland from July 31–Aug. 4, 2017. IDT meets every fourth year and is the world’s largest international convention for teachers of German. Berroth shared her research in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) resulting from her ACS funded interdisciplinary project on connecting Math and German, on which she collaborated with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum. Berroth’s participation was funded by a scholarship from the Goethe Institute in Washington, DC.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr co-organized the mini-conference “Constructing the Future of Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Conference: The Past 20 Years and the Next 20 Years” on July 27, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.  Visiting Assistant Professor John Ross presented the poster “Using IBL in Classes with Fewer or Shorter Meetings” at the IBL conference.  Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton also participated in the IBL conference.





  • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards coauthored (with Horst Alzer) the article “Inequalities for the Ratio of Complete Elliptic Integrals,” which was recently published in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr was among 10 faculty from across the country selected to attend the Workshop on Increasing Minority Participation in Undergraduate Mathematics at the Park City Math Institute in June 2017.  The workshop was led by Dr. Bill Velez from University of Arizona and Dr. Erica Walker from Teachers College, Columbia University.