Mathematics and Computer Science

All Majors & Minors

Independent Learning Experience Presentations Fall15

Students present their independent learning experience to peers and faculty.

Friday, September 26, 2015, marked the beginning of student internship and research presentations. The second round of presentations happened October 15th, 2015. Students that completed internships and research over the summer or during the fall semester complete 8 minute presentations on their experience. A group of presentations were given approximately every two weeks. The audience consists of other students as well as the Ursinus College faculty. The presentation is a compilation of all the student’s learning experiences and professional development. Research and internship experiences fulfill the students ILE requirement. This allows students to gauge goals for their future in graduate school and/or the work force.  A summary of the students presented as well as their topics are as follows:

  • Math Jokes for Math Folk by Rose Blanchard

When many people think of mathematics they think of dull, boring and tedious, calculations and proofs. However, this is not the case; humor is certainly a big part of mathematics! We will present a math joke from each professor’s field and explain the math behind the jokes.

  • My Internship Experience at Spectra Associates, Inc. by Vince Flood

This past summer, I worked at a small retirement plan consulting firm, focusing primarily on updating all the prototype plan documents. These documents are requested periodically by the IRS. Other tasks included, administrative tasks, and learned about the dynamic of a small business. I was also allotted time to study for the first exam in the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.

  • Developing cloud-based PET reconstruction at Merck by Derek Jensen

For my summer internship, I helped modernize the infrastructure used for rendering PET image scans. PET image scans are images of medical animal testing that are used to determine how the affects will change from animals to humans. This entailed a complete rewrite and restructuring of the image rendering process, as well as developing a cloud-native infrastructure for dynamic, scalable image rendering. This resulted in a 400% decrease in the total rendering time for PET images.

  • PolRANK: Classifying Political Similarity of Twitter Users by Billy Paustian

During my research Dr. Akshaye Dhawan and I determined a new measure of structural similarity to analyze the presidential polls. We identified the Twitter followers of the 2016 presidential candidates and classified them as Democrat, Republican or Bipartisan. During this process we used algorithms to create a new measure of structural similarity,we named it PolRANK. PolRANK computes the similarity of a pair of users by accounting for both the number of candidates they follow from each party and the specific candidates they follow. We then used this to graph

  • IT internship with Brenntag North America by Andy Santiago

During my internship, I worked with the IT department of Brenntag, a large chemical distributor. At Brenntag I used my knowledge of programming, networking, and infrastructure technology to work in the IT department.

  • A Motivated Proof of Overpartition Identities of the Rogers-Ramanujan Type by Collin Takita

The theory of integer partitions is a field of much investigative interest to mathematicians and physicists. Unlike some of the more well-known sequences such as the Fibonacci Numbers, integer partitions follow no obvious discernible pattern. Mathematicians have been left to identify certain recurring patterns within the series: certain identities relating partitions satisfying seemingly unrelated conditions. Arguably, the most famous of these identities are those attributed to mathematicians Srinivasa Ramanujan and Leonard James Rogers. The Rogers-Ramanujan Identities have, in many ways, laid the ground work for much of the research being conducted in this field in recent history. In May of 1989, George Andrews and Rodney J. Baxter published what they called a “motivated proof” of the Rogers-Ramanujan identities. It is in the spirit of this motivated proof that we conduct our research.

We look to answer the following question: Can we complete a proof of an “Empirical Hypothesis” in the spirit of the Andrews-Baxter motivated proof in order to discover identities of the Rogers-Ramanujan type in regard to overpartitions? Through the course of our research, we will prove an “Empirical Hypothesis” and subsequently identify new partition and overpartition identities. What distinguishes our research from the research done previously is the application to overpartitions. Overpartitions have appeared in recent work of many mathematicians, and their study bears strong parallels to the study of partitions. We hope to extend the work on “motivated proofs” of partition identities to overpartitions, and to find new overpartition identities using this technique.

  • Code Division Multiplexing to share bandwidth among multiple users by Noah Baker

Code Division Multiplexing (CDMA) is a method to share a channel between several users. In this talk we compare it to Time Division and Frequency Division Multiplexing, explain how CDMA works and present an example of it. The concept of sharing bandwidth is common in the cellular network industry. 

  • Emphasis of Mathematical Practices in High School Physics by Jonathan Kustina

In all high school-level physics classes, mathematics and physics are shown to be clearly tied through equations such as Newton’s First Law. This is, however, only a basic use of mathematical methods within the physics framework, as many teachers and administrators believe that anything more would be too much for most high school students to comprehend. I will be making a case for the use of more in-depth mathematics in the physics classroom, both in terms of algebraic and statistical modeling. This case stems from the success found in teaching model known as understanding by design teaching.

  • Indeed: Helping People Get Jobs by James Marrone

At Indeed I learned how to leverage job analytics as well as industry trends in order to get employers to use our site effectively.  As an Account Executive one must learn how to solve a client’s problem in a cost effective and efficient way.This involved creating a needs analysis and showing the customer how Indeed could help them. 

  • Dealing with the Unexpected in an Internship by Alexa LaMontag 

This summer, my internship took me across five states, three changes in job description, and ended up with a self-imposed 30-day project to become a better programmer. During my internship I worked at iD tech, a company that coordinates STEM camps for children. I worked teaching children and in the IT department.  n addition to building technical skills, and with little preparation, I had to learn how to adapt and thrive in a variety of unpredictable situations.

  • Accelerating serial plasma simulation code with techniques from parallel computing by Tamas Budner

I worked in the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab working with sode to stimulate plasmas. Advances in parallel computing have allowed for significant performance enhancement for supercomputing clusters. These strides in the field of computer architecture and software has opened an entirely new field in the form of computational sciences.  In this project, we hope to demonstrate the benefits of implementing a particular technique in parallel computing, OpenMP, to increase the speed at which plasma simulation code, GTC-Neo, is able to run.  We explore the program’s algorithm and code, allowing us to ensure performance and accuracy in accelerating this previously serial physics software

  • Cigna: Go You by Amanda D’Uva

This summer I was an intern at Cigna in their technology early career development program. At Cigna I learned how work with a large team spread across different offices and countries. One of my projects involved creating large single-page web application to assist caregivers in prescriptions adherence.  I worked as a front-end developer for this project. I also worked with the Infrastructure Engineering team in order to automate the capacity reporting process.

  • Using Ellipsoids to Visualize 3x3 Symmetric Matrices by Jacob Hollingsworth

This summer I worked on a research project at Rice University in Texas. My researched included various methods of graphically representing an arbitrary symmetric matrix in 3-space. After considering many possibilities, I implemented a method that obtained a holistic description on the behavior of 3x3 symmetric matrices. This method presented a visualization of correlation matrices used in quantum mechanics. I was able to complete this using image-processing software, such as Mathematica and ImageNets. Then, I applied the visualization to physical interpretations.

  • Making the Best with the Less Than Ideal by Alana Larrick

This summer I worked for iD Tech, a company that sponsers camps in tech related subjects for children from ages 6-18. As an instructor I taught kids ages 12 and up Java and Javascript. I spent half of my summer at an incredibly well run summer camp located at North Carolina State University. Approximately halfway through got switched to a mismanaged camp at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This camp was three times larger than the camp at NCSU. I had to use what I learned from the first half of the summer to help turn around the attitude of everyone working at UNC and keep camp fun for the campers.

  • The Self-Adjoint Extension Problem and Quantum Mechanics by Michael Vennettilli

I spent my summer working on a theoretical physics project as a part of the REU program at the Indiana University at Bloomington. I had the opportunity to learn a lot of cool, advanced topics in mathematics. This includes applying multivariable calculus to concepts in functional analysis, such as Hibert spaces, unbounded operators, and self-adjoint extensions.  These topics were used to investigate advanced problems in quantum mechanics.  

  • Examining Potential Default Indicators for a Leasing Company by Andrew Merves

Fast Track Leasing LLC is a company that leases cars to drivers for Uber and other similar companies.  The company is in start-up phase having been in business for less than one year.  A big challenge that it faces is to try to understand factors that would make a lessee more or less likely to default.  This analysis breaks the population of lessees into various peer groups based on certain characteristics and tests if default probabilities for a particular peer group are greater than for the population at large.  To calculate these probabilities I used a chi-square probability model. The analysis showed that while further work with a larger data set is needed, it is likely the case that the amount of cash deposit made by the lessee and the type of car leased are significant factors in determining a greater likelihood of default. Working for Fast Track Leasing taught me how to work with messy data and participate is any work that needed to be done for the company.

  •  Gomoku by Dena O’Larnic 

Gomoku is a two-player strategy board game that was most likely to have been originated in China. The game is typically played on a 15 x 15 sized board. Each player is represented by either white or black game pieces. The game the played until 5 of the same colored pieces are in a row. In the process of programming this game I conducted a literature review to see various other approaches that were taken to program this same board game by others.  The literature review compared various implementations which utilized different designs of artificial intelligence.  Each applied utilized distinct algorithms, networks, and models which yielded a variety of results. Moving forward in my research, I will use the comparison to determine the best approach in programming gomoku myself.

  • The Fourth Dimension in Paintings by Hemi Park

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the concepts of the fourth dimension and non-Euclidean spaces beyond our immediate perception encouraged radical innovations and developments in early modern art. Specifically, I examined the relationships between the fourth dimension and three modern paintings: Salvador Dali’s Corpus Hypercubus, Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square.

  • Internship Experience at United Water by Julia Senkevich

This past summer I had the opportunity to work at a water company that services numerous counties in New Jersey and New York. I shadowed and worked with many civil engineers, and learned a lot about the water distribution system. I was assigned various tasks and for many of them I needed to learn and use a few of their computer systems. One of these computer systems was a geographical information system which maps out United Water’s services. My main task in utilizing this computer system was to approve that other jobs within the counties did not break a main water system.  In addition, I was able to observe some fieldwork, and learned the procedure that goes into these jobs. Throughout my internship I learned valuable lessons in fast-acting problem solving. 

  • Internship at Team Children by Samantha Birabaharan

This Fall semester I had the opportunity to intern at a nonprofit company that refurbishes old computers to give to families in need. During this time I observed the inner workings of a nonprofit and was able hear the stories of the families that received help. I worked with a variety of people ranging in ages from 16-85 years old that have all helped me learn a different skill set whether technical or social. This talk will focus on how this internship has been a truly humbling and great learning experience for future work environments and life in general.   

  • Big Data and Cloud Computing Proof of Concept by  Zachary Kronicz 

This summer I was brought on to PennDoT’s data administrative division to assist on a big data and cloud computing proof of concept. There were no main business objectives, the main goal of the proof of concept was to simply gain technical experience with the technologies used to handle big data. I researched  Microsoft Azure HDInsight platform which handles all of the cloud based technology for Microsoft. Then I implemented the platform and ran tests to compare time and costs. This met my secondary objective, to compare and contrast not performance metrics and cost tradeoffs between different platforms .The main questions they wanted answered were, “at what point does data become cheaper to store on the cloud rather than on premises?” And “what are the cost implications in each case?”. 

  • Seizure Score App by David Sinda 

According to the national epilepsy foundation, approximately 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Epilepsy, a chronic condition of the brain, is characterized by seizures, which are physical reactions to sudden brief excessive electrical discharges in the brain. Seizures are often brought on by triggers such as, bright lights, loud noises, sleep deprivation, and dehydration.  Anyone can experience a seizure at any time. The Seizure Score project will analyze an individual’s own heart rate in order to track and identify triggering conditions that may result in a seizure.  The app also provides data analysis using data mining tools to help the user and his/her medical team identify seizure patterns so that treatment plans and activities can be adjusted to reduce the number of epileptic episodes.

  •  Internship Experience at Jetsum Technology in China by Jingyun Wang

This past summer I had the opportunity to work at an Information Technology Company that maintains and builds network systems and websites for numerous small and middle sized enterprises. I worked in a team of web developers to develop websites for a publishing company, a hospital, and a construction company. The largest challenge I encountered was translating my American programming education to program in China. I also had to learn Dreamweaver and Photoshop to incorporate in the ascetics of the website.  In addition, I realized the importance of HTML5 rather than HTML because of the number of users in China compared to the speed of the language. Utilizing HTML5 allowed for greater mobility. Applying these skills made me a better web developer and are useful for my future as a web developer. 

  • Fermat’s Last Theorem by Hakim Wiggins 

Pierre de Fermat was a French mathematician that lived during the 17th century. Prior to his death Fermat published a proof that stated no three positive integers a, b, c satisfy the equation a^n + b^n=c^n for any integer value of n greater than two. The cases were n=1,2 have various solutions. However, the myserty of this statement is when n=2. The first accepted proof was published 358 years later, in 1995. The study of this proof and years of attempts at this proof developed what is known as the study of algebraic number theory. Thus, this proof has led to the study of number theory. Fermat claimed to have completed the proof before his death but the completed proof has yet to be found.