The Department of Math and Computer Science presents a seminar series each semester. The department colloquium is traditionally held on Tuesdays at 11 am and the Graduate Seminar is held on Mondays at 4 pm.  All Colloquia are open to the SD Mines campus and also to the general public.

Check this page for dates, speakers, and topics.

Fall 2015

A Brief History of American Education

by Dr. Brent Deschamp

November 10, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

In recent decades students have increasingly arrived at college unprepared for university-level eduction. Deficiences are regularly seen in both content mastery and study skills. This talk will examine the past one hundred and fifty years of American educational history in an attempt to explain why students are the way they are. The history of American Education is a vast subject, as a result, this talk will focus only on those event in history that have a had a direct impact on students' ability to learn


Supercomputing on the cheap: an introduction to computing with GPUs

by Dr. John Weiss

October 27, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

General-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) makes use of graphics processing units (GPUs) to perform computations that are traditionally handled by the central processing unit. Modern graphics cards provide thousands of GPUs for the cost of a single CPU, bringing massively parallel hardware to the masses. Many applications in mathematics, science and engineering are "embarrassingly parallel", and show dramatic performance increases from GPGPU processing.

This talk will introduce GPGPU programming on NVIDIA graphics cards using the Comon Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) framework. Examples from image processing and computer vision will be provided.


Bet(ch)a My Team Wins the Playoffs

by Dr. Roger Johnson

September 22, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

Your team is in a best of a 2k+1 playoff series (k a non-negative integer). Assuming your team beats the opposing team in individual games with chance p, with game outcomes independent, the chance your team wins the series – call it W2k+1(p) may be readily found. There are a number of “obvious” properties that are actually fairly difficult to establish analytically about W2k+1(p) unless this chance is rewritten in a non-standard way (a hint is provided by the title of the talk). For example, W2k+1(p) should be strictly increasing in p.

In addition to discussing how to establish such obvious properties, the expected length of the series will be presented.


Spring 2015


Undergraduate Research Talks

April 28, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

  • An Introduction to Graph Statics by Alexia Mader
  • Latin Squares by Anthony Morast




Undergraduate Research Talks

April 21, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

  • Optimizing a Two-stage Rocket by Jessica Gillaspie
  • Optimal Zombie Dice by Kjerstin Cosand




Undergraduate Research Talks

April 14, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

  • Equations of State for a Binary Supercritical System by Debra Anderson
  • Elliptic Curve Cryptography in Cryptocurrency by Christine Hjelmfelt



Thesis defense for Tetsuya Idota, Computational Sciences and Robotics

March 19, 2015, McLaury 205, 1:00 pm

A Comparison of Efficiency and Accuracy for Probabilistic Sonar Models and Update Algorithms for Two-Dimensional Mapping

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Larry Pyeatt


Fall 2014

Undergraduate Math Research Talks

December 9, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

  • Quaternion Based Kinematics by Matthew Richard
  • Graphic Statics by Alexia Mader
  • Optimal Zombie Dice by Kjerstin Cosand
  • Elliptic Curve Cryptography by Christine Hjelmfelt


Touchscreen-based User Authentication Using Static and Dynamic Features
Thesis defense for Suiyuan Zhang, Computational Sciences and Robotics  
November 20, McLaury 210, 11:00 am

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Mengyu Qiao


Efficient Concurrent Processing of Separable 2-D Transforms in C++11
November 18, McLaury 205, 11:00 am
By Dr. John Weiss

Separable 2-D transforms (such as the Fourier transform) are used extensively in many fields of science and engineering. Although fast processors and divide-and-conquer algorithms have made these 2-D transforms accessible on desktop computers, the widespread availability of multi-core architectures makes efficiency improvements possible. Until recently, parallel processing in C++ has been restricted in external libraries (POSIX threads, OpenMP, MPI). But the release of C++11 introduces concurrency constructs into the language itself, providing obvious benefits to software development, optimization, and portability.


This talk introduces concurrency constructs in C++11, including external libraries as well as the new C++ concurrency interfaces. I will demonstrate that significant efficiency gains are achievable for the 2-D Fourier transforms on standard multi-core processor systems. This approach applies to other 2-D transforms (such as wavelet transforms and the discrete cosine transform), and readily generalizes to other separable 2-D operations such as convolution and correlation. Preliminary results indicate that scalability is good, and performance will continue to increase as future multi-core processor systems with additional CPUs become available.


 Orange is the new .... Data Analysis tool

November 3, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

By Dr. Christer Karlsson

This is a brief introduction to Orange, a free, component-based data mining and machine learning software suite.It allows data mining, data analysis and visualization through visual programming as well as Python scripting. It contains a set of components for data pre-processing, feature scoring and filtering, modeling, model evaluation, and exploration techniques. Orange is maintained  and developed at the Bioinformatics Laboratory of the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. This introduction will focus  on how to use the visual programming tool to create a classifier, an unsupervised clustering, evaluation, and how to visualize the results.

So long, New York... Howdy, East Orange

 Stargazing: a pointless talk about pointed stars.

October 7, McLaury 205, 11:00 am


By Dr. Travis Kowalski

This talk is an exploration of the mathematical ideas that go into the act of drawing stars. We start with the observation that while it is easy to draw the five pointed star in a single stroke of the pen, we cannot do the same for a 6 pointed one and ask the vague question, "Just what kinds of stars can we draw in a single stroke?" Our attempt to answer that question will lead us to other questions, and this seemingly pointless question about doodling will take us through number theory, abstract algebra, plan geometry, and even complex analysis. This isn't so much a talk with answers as it is a talk about the questions we ask and how we search for mathematical solutions, a sort of journal of an expedition into the mathematical unknown, in which we discover the footprints of earlier explorers and set off in new directions from their lead. We will pose many questions along the way that might make for an interesting starting point for your own undergraduate mathematical research. .... and we will do a lot of doodles.

 Mathematics and the Life-Impaired: How the Theory of Disease Predicts a Zombie Apocalypse

 September 16 - McLaury 205, 11:00 am


By Dr. Jim Powell of Utah State University

From movies to pop music, it seems the undead are taking over the world. The usually staid Centers for Disease Control launched its tongue-in-cheek "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse"  public campaign two years ago to drive home the importance of emergency preparation. Even SDSM&T has been infect as evidenced by the wildly popular, campus-wide "Humans vs. Zombies" war this fall. Anthropologist Krystal D'Costa suggests zombies capture our imagination because they represent modern society and technology gone awry and offer the perfect metaphor for an unstoppable pandemic.

Utah State University Professor Jim Powell expands the zombie metaphor to illustrate concepts and results from mathematical epidemiology. Using storylines from such movies as "Night of the Living Dead", "28 Days Later", "The Walking Dead" and "I am Legend," as well as data from the USU games. Dr. Powell will show how mathematicians model an epidemic. He'll talk about how scientists predict the course and impact of epidemics, discuss how "her immunity" (vaccination levels for disease eradication) works and discuss the evolution of reduced virulence and how it has consequences in university administration. Some of these modeling strategies are used by Dr. Powell and SDSM&T's own Dr. Marti Garlick to understand and predict the spread of Zombie Deer (infected with Chronic Wasting Disease) in southern Utah.