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‘Mathematics for a Better World’ Theme of Math Conference

April 19, 2016

Math 2016 Haynes And Smilowitz


Data science and operations research supporting humanitarian projects throughout the world will be featured in presentations at Rose-Hulman’s undergraduate mathematics conference on Friday and Saturday, April 22-23.

Now in its 33rd year, the conference has a tradition of highlighting scholarly work being accomplished by undergraduate mathematics students in class projects and research experiences.

“This year, we wanted to showcase some of the high quality work mathematicians are doing to help create a better world,” says Conference Co-Chair Eric Reyes, assistant professor of mathematics. “The conference also continues its strong tradition of providing opportunities for undergraduate students to showcase their outstanding research and thesis projects.”

A total of 112 students and faculty from 18 colleges and universities from as far away as the University of Texas, Western Connecticut State University, and California University of Pennsylvania will participate in two invited presentations, 33 student talks, and three short courses.

Karen Smilowitz, professor of industrial engineering and management at Northwestern University, will discuss “Doing Good with Good OR: Operations Research for Humanitarian and Non-Profit Logistics.” She leads Northwestern’s initiative on humanitarian and non-profit logistics, and studies modeling and solution approaches for logistics and transportation systems in commercial and non-profit applications.

“Using Data Science for Social Good” will be the topic of a presentation by Lauren Haynes, senior project manager at the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy. She serves as a translator between data scientists and personnel with non-profit and government agencies. Haynes is also vice chair of the directors for Break Away, a national non-profit organization focused on providing service learning trips for college students.

Eleven Rose-Hulman students will be making presentations, including:

  • Lucas Bohn, senior mathematics major, “Minimal Surfaces in SO(3)”
  • Morgan Escalera, junior chemical engineering and mathematics student, “Sovereign Adaptive Risk Modeling”
  • Jacob Hiance, senior mathematics major, “General Investigations of Chesspiece Polynominals”
  • Connor Kispert, junior mathematics and economics major, “Bitcoin Valuation: An Empirical Enquiry”
  • Wenjun Kong, senior computer science student, “Variable Screening via Complete Least Squares and Distance Correlation”
  • Ian Ludden, senior computer engineering and mathematics major, “A Flow Network Approach to Laboratory Group Assignment”
  • Abigail Mann, senior mathematics and computer science major, “Counting Solutions to Discrete Non-Algebraic Equations Modulo a Prime Power”
  • Thomas Mulc, senior mechanical engineering and mathematics student, “Variance of Stochastic Clusterings on Graphs”
  • Mitchell Orzech, senior mathematics and computational science major, “Statistical Analysis of Mappings of the Discrete Logarithm”
  • Jonathan Taylor, senior computer science and software engineering major, “Analysis of the Model Similarity of LNA and EIGAs”
  • Andrew Yuk, senior mathematics major, “Assessing the Effects of Various Farming Techniques on Nitrogen Management”

Short courses will cover the following topics: “Mathematical Celebrity Sightings,” by Mike McDaniel, a professor at Aquinas College; “NTRU: How Abstract Algebra is Keeping Your Data Safe,” by Timothy All of Wabash College; and “Introduction to Data Science,” by Mark Daniel Ward, a professor at Purdue University.

Getting students ready for this year’s conference was a predictive analytic competition, organized by Allstate Insurance Company. Teams developed a data-driven approach to identify eating and dining establishments most at risk to fail health inspections based on past performance results and license type. Data used came from Chicago health inspection reports. The top three teams will be honored during the conference.

Mathematics professors Joseph Eichholz, Sylvia Carlisle, and Josh Holden joined Reyes in forming the organizing committee for this year’s conference, with assistance from Department of Mathematics Secretary Michelle Prather.

The conference is sponsored by the Sandia National Laboratories, Metron, Allstate Insurance, Minitab, Maplesoft, and Pearson.