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Student Work presented at SIAM PP12

Tue, 2012-02-28 09:13 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Student Work presented at SIAM PP12

 Jeff Blanchard attended SIAM PP12 (otherwise known as the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics 2012 Conference on Parallel Processing for High Perfromance Computing) in Savannagh, Georgia, February 15-17, 2012. During the conference he presented joint work with majors Tolu Alabi '13, Brad Gordon '12, and Russel Steinbach '12. The talk Fast k-Selection Algorithms for Graphics Processing Units and a submitted paper by the same name are the result of work begun during a summer MAP where the group developed two new algorithms for finding the order statistics on a GPU.


Department with Strong Showing at JMM

Tue, 2012-02-28 09:08 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Department with Strong Showing at JMM  Seven faculty members and two students represented the Grinnell Mathematics and Statistics Department at this year's Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston, January 4-7, 2012. The Joint Mathematics Meeting is an annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). It is the "Largest annual mathematics meeting in the world" and had over 7000 attendees this year.  Alice Nadeau '13 and Bingxi Wu '13 presented the poster Multiplicative Partitions during the MAA Undergraduate Poster Session. This poster announced the results of their summer research (joint with Colin Johnson '13) during a MAP directed by Prof. Chamberland. The group found new results concerning the combinatorial structure of a multiplicative partition function, developed and implemented a fast algorithm for computing multiplicative partitions, and found exact evaluations of the corresponding generating function. This information gave new results related to the Riemann zeta function.  Marc Chamberland presented A Course in Experimental Mathematics during the MAA Session on the Capstone Course.  Shonda Kuiper presented her work on using games to teach statistics in two formats. First, in the MAA Session on Innovations in Teaching Statistics in the New Decade she gave the talk Playing games with a purpose. Also, in the MAA Poster Session on Projects Supported by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education she and her collaborators presented the poster Playing Games with a Purpose: A New Approach to Teaching and Learning Statistics.  Jennifer Paulhus co-organized a three part AMS Special Session on Arithmetic Geometry consisting of 18 speakers. During this special session, Paulhus presented her own research in the talk Decomposing Jacobian Varieties of Curves.  Also in attendance were Professors Chris French, Joe Mileti, Emily Moore, and Tom Moore.  

MAP 2011: 14 Students and 6 Faculty Conduct Summer Research

Tue, 2011-08-23 09:54 | By Anonymous (not verified)

The Mathematics and Statistics Department had a very active summer research program under the College's Mentored Advanced Projects. Six faculty offered seven projects which involved fourteen students.

Professor Marc Chamberland worked with three MAP students during the summer of 2011: Colin Johnson ‘13, Alice Nadeau ‘13, and Bingxi Wu ‘13. Their project was to understand the structure of multiplicative partitions.

Jeff Blanchard mentored three MAP students, Tolu Alabi ‘13, Bradley Gordon ‘12, and Russel Steinbach ‘12 on graphical processing unit algorithms for finding the kth largest value in a list.

Professor French and Boanne MacGregor ‘12 investigated the representation theory of association schemes.

Professor Jonkman directed two summer research projects. With Kate Doyl ‘13 and Brianne Evans ‘13, they performed a statistical assessment of state-level health estimates in the United States, namely a large-scale telephone survey administered by the CDC known as the BRFSS. With Alyce Eaton ‘13 and Erik Figge ‘13, the group worked to develop a statistical model for selecting cross country teams for the NCAA Division III national championship meet.

Professor Mileti worked with Jonah Elman ‘12 on comparing random sequences.

Professor Shuman directed the work of Ethan Edl ‘12 and Klevi Xhaxho ‘12 on a computing the size of several sets associated with iterated function systems.

Faculty Receive Competitive Funding

Tue, 2011-08-23 04:29 | By Anonymous (not verified)

This year, members of the Mathematics and Statistics department have received two National Science Foundation grants and two competitive leave awards from the college. Professor Kuiper received a second consecutive NSF grant for developing undergraduate statistics programs. Professor Blanchard was awarded an NSF grant for his research on comparability of algorithms in compressed sensing. Professor French was awarded an Academic Enterprise Leave funded by the Mellon Expanding Knowledge Initiative. Professor Shuman, who just completed four years offunding from the NSF, was awarded a one semester Grinnell College Study Leave. Both French and Shuman will use these competitive leaves in conjunction with a one semester sabbatical for the duration of the 2011-2012 academic year.

Math and Statistics Faculty Attend Conferences Around the Globe

Tue, 2011-08-23 04:12 | By Anonymous (not verified)

The scholarly activity of the mathematics and statistics faculty was showcased at numerous conferences over the summer.

Kuiper Speaks on Teaching Undergraduate Statistics

May 2011: At the United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS) in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Shonda Kuiper presented a poster with Dennis Pearl (Ohio State University) Robert Carver ‎(Stonehill College), Lesser, Larry ‎(University of Texas El Paso), Michael Posner (Villanova) and Amitra Wall (Buffalo State College) on the educational benefits of incorporating fun into the classroom.

August 2011: Shonda Kuiper was invited to speak at the Joint Statistics Meeting in Miami, Florida to discuss teaching regression through statistics. This talk provided examples from her new textbook and emphasized the importance of allowing students to work with multivariate data sets in their first introductory statistics course.

Grinnell Hosts SLAW

Tom Moore hosted the annual Statistics in the Liberal Arts Workshop (SLAW), an amazing group of statisticians from colleges similar to Grinnell that has met annually since 1987 to promote various projects. This workshop was originally founded by Moore. Grinnell Professors Kuiper and Jonkman attended the workshop which totaled 12 faculty from 10 institutions.

Mileti attends Ramsey Theory Workshop

Joe Mileti participated in the workshop "Ramsey Theory in Logic, Combinatorics, and Complexity" from May 22-27 in Bertinoro, Italy. The meeting brought together mathematicians, logicians, and computer scientists interested in different aspects of Ramsey theory to explain their recent progress and techniques.

Blanchard Presents in Scotland and USA

In June, Jeff Blanchard presented his work on GPU accelerated greedy algorithms for compressed sensing in Edinburgh, Scotland at SPARS11: Workshop : Signal Processing with Adaptive Sparse Structured Representations. He then traveled to Glasgow for the 24th Biennial Conference on Numerical Analysis to give a similar talk in a mini-symposium on compressed sensing.

In August, Blanchard gave an invited talk in the session Polyhedra are Everywhere at MathFest 2011, the summer meeting of the Mathematical Association of America. His expository talk, Polyhedra in Compressed Sensing, detailed Donoho and Tanner's equivalence of solving a compressed sensing problem with the neighborliness of random polytopes.

Paulhus returns to Carleton's SMPosium

Paulhus, who attended the nationally acclaimed Carleton Summer Math Program for Undergraduate Women in 1997, returned to the program this summer as an invited alumna. This mini conference is held each year during the summer program to bring alumnae together to network and share experiences with the current undergraduate attendees.

Experiment used on Skylab designed by George Simon '55

Fri, 2011-07-22 14:36 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Sunspot scientist came close to flying on orbital mission

Las Cruses Bulletin
Las Cruses, Nm., United States
July 22, 2011

The scientist who looked up at the Sun from atop the Sacramento Mountains hoped to get an even closer look, as a payload specialist, during the STS-51F Space Shuttle Challenger flight.

“Space Center Commissioner Dr. George Simon should be riding high … doing his scientific research in a locale that will be the envy of many of his colleagues,” the January 1985 Space Log reported. The International Space Hall of Fame (ISHF) in Alamogordo publishedthe journal. Simon was on the backup list, and did not make the Spacelab 2 mission that launched on July 29, 1985.

Person Mentioned: Alumnus/a- George Simon '55

Hankel Transforms of Linear Combinations of Catalan Numbers

Fri, 2011-04-29 15:43 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Professor Christopher French cowrote an article, "Hankel Transforms of Linear Combinations of Catalan Numbers" with math majors Michael Dougherty, Benjamin Saderholm, and Wenyang Qian, all math majors in the class of 2012. The article appeared on April 20 in the Journal of Integer Sequences, Vol. 14 (2011), Article 11.5.1. In this paper, the authors consider the result of applying a certain operation called the Hankel Transform to certain sequences of numbers obtained in a natural way from the famous Catalan number sequence. Other authors had shown that when one applies the Hankel Transform to the sequence of sums of adjacent Catalan numbers, the resulting sequence consists of every other Fibonacci number. This paper generalizes that result to more general linear combinations of Catalan numbers. The research for this work was done during the summer of 2010, as part of a MAP that Dougherty, Saderholm, and Qian participated in.

Grinnell Putnam Team in Top 10%

Wed, 2011-04-06 10:41 | By Anonymous (not verified)

The Grinnell College Putnam team placed 46th out of 546 teams from across the U.S. and Canada. The annual exam took place in December with 16 Grinnell students among the 4296 students who took the exam. Grinnell College had four students score at least a 20:

  • Klevi Xhaxho: 28 points (individual rank: 641.5)
  • Benjy Greenberg: 26 points (individual rank: 679.5)
  • Colin Grove: 20 points (individual rank: 883)
  • Alyce Eaton: 20 points (individual rank: 883)

The first three were members of the Grinnell's "team" (all contestants take part individually but three students are identified before the contest and the sum of their scores forms the team score). Congratulations to all the Putnam participants.

Professors spend Spring Break doing Math

Fri, 2011-04-01 09:09 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Professors Shuman, Blanchard, Chamberland, T. Moore, and E. Moore take advantage of spring recess to attend workshops, do research, and give lectures.

Click on headline to open this news item and read details.

Shuman Spends Spring Break at Oberwolfach

  • Karen Shuman spent March 27 - April 2 at the mathematical research institute (Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach) in Oberwolfach, Germany---a mathematical retreat nestled in the beautiful Black Forest. The workshop she attended focused on wavelets, frames, operator theory, and representation theory. Workshop participants are not expected to give talks; instead, they attend just a few talks each day and spend the rest of the time working with their fellow participants in one of the best mathematical libraries in the world.

Blanchard Gives NIU Mathematics Colloquium

  • Jeff Blanchard visited a collaborator at Northern Illinois University from March 30 - April 2 continuing their work on Composite Dilation Wavelets. On April 1, Blanchard gave the Mathematics Colloquium where he discussed his work with Compressed Sensing. The related paper,Compressed Sensing: How Sharp is the Restricted Isometry Property?, which appears in the current issue of SIAM Review, has been in the top ten most downloaded papers across all SIAM journals for both March (#6) and April (#7).

Chamberland Presents Kelvin Lecture at Coe College

  • On March 1, Marc Chamberland, the Myra Steele Professor of Mathematics, gave the Kelvin Lecture at Coe College titled "Chaos: Where Order Meets Disorder". The Kelvin Lecture is Coe College's annual invited mathematics lecture for undergraduates.

Tom and Emily Moore give invited addresses at Eastern Kentucky University

  • On Tuesday, March 15, Tom Moore gave an invited address at Eastern Kentucky University titled "'Mothering' behavior in female baboons: using permutation tests to establish the significance of observed patterns." This talk was based upon joint work with Vicki Bentley-Condit of Grinnell's Anthropology Dept.


  • On Thursday, March 17, Emily Moore gave an invited address at Eastern Kentucky University titled "Difference Sets." This talk introduced the audience to ideas that are part of the textbook Professor Moore is writing with Harriet Pollatsek of Mt. Holyoke College.

Formulas for Odd Zeta Values and Powers of Pi

Tue, 2011-02-22 02:24 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Marc Chamberland and Patrick Lopatto (a Grinnell High School student) published the paper "Formulas for Odd Zeta Values and Powers of Pi" which appeared in the electronic Journal of Integer Sequences (Vol. 14, Issue 2, article 11.2.5). Values for the Riemann zeta function at odd values greater than one do not seem to have a closed form. A decade ago, the Canadian mathematician Simon Plouffe experimentally found some formulas to represent these numbers using quickly converging infinite series. This paper finds and proves such formulas for all odd values.