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.

Spring 2016


A Simple Model for Chroic Wasting Disease in Moose

by Rashyll Leonard -- Undergraduate Research -- Applied and Computational Mathematics

April 25, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease that affects Cervids. Infections in deer and elk have been well document since the mid 1900s, but it was not until 2005 that it was found in moose. Many models for CWD transmisison within elk and deer exist, but the disease is not well modeled in moose. Previous CWD models may not apply to mosse, because their social structure varies from that of deer and elk. In this talk, we examine the differences between moose and other Cervids in order to create a CWD model specific to moose. To do this, we start with a standard SI disease model for CWD in mule deer. We then explore variations on this model and discuss the feasibility of each model given emperical data on moose populations and CWD infection rates in Colorado.


Reverse Engineering the Cubli

by Royce Havelka -- Undergraduate Research -- Applied and Computational Mathematics (and Industrial Engineering)

April 26, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

The Cubli is a self-balancing robotic cube invented by a graduate student in Zurich, Switzerland. The self-balancing cube is classified as a an inverted pendulum, which means the center of gravity of the object is above the pivot point. For this robot to achieve a stable balance, a state space control system known as the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) and is used to optimize the controller of the problem. The LQR uses the fields of discrete mathematics and linear algebra in its derivation of finding the optimal control along with complex analysis to confirm that steady state is reachable.



by Caitlin Taggart -- Undergraduate Research -- Applied and Computational Mathematics (and Computer Science)

April 12, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

A scorigami is a mathematical construct made from folding an idealized piece over a sequence of staight-line creases, making a single straight-line cut through the folded paper and then unfolding the paper to determine the types of shapes that result. In this presentation, we formulate a geometric and algebraic model for scorigami using complex geometry. Using this model, we define the notion of a contractive fold, and show that any symmetric, convex polygon can be formed from scorigami through a finite sequence of contractive folds.


Strategies in Baseball: A Markov Chain Approach

by Dalton Franck -- Undergraduate Research -- Applied and Computational Mathematics

April 12, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

Markov chains can be used to model a number of real-world situations, including sports. In this talk we focus on applications to baseball. Using Markov chains and historic baseball data, conclusions can be drawn for example, as to whether or not sacrifice bunting or base stealing are good strategies.


Different Species of Fibonacci's Rabbits

by Matthew Dyke -- Undergraduate Research -- Applied and Computational Mathematics

April 5, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

The classic Fibonacci rabbit problem involves a population of pairs of rabbits that take one month to mature, and then produce a litter of one breeding pair every month forever after. In this presentation, we examine the effects of changing three parameters of these rabbits: the rate of maturation, the size of the litters, and their total life expectancy. We devise a recursion relation for the population of Fibonacci rabbits in terms of these parameters. We also investigate whether or not it is possible to uniquely determin these parameters given only data on the total monthly population of rabbits after a specific (but unknown) duration of time.


Pain Free and Professional Publishing Made Easy: a Tutorial on Gitbook and Bookdown

by Dr. Kyle Caudle

March 29, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

Gitbook is an online or desktop editor that can be used to author books. Built on Node.js framework, Gitbook uses markdown language to build your book. Writing a Gitbook is very straight forward and not much different from using standard word processor except that it has the ability to incorporate LaTeX within your document. Available output formats include html, pdf, eBook and JSON. This talk will focus on the basics of Gitbook and how to get started writing your own book. In addition, I will cover bookdown which is an adaptation of Gitbook that can be used with R statistical software. Bring your notebook computer to this talk so you can start building a simput book using Gitbook! You can view a sample from the Math 382 book at at this link.


Sketch-Based 3D Model Retrieval

by Dr. Bo Li

March 14, 2016, McLaury 205, 4:00 pm

With the increase in the number of available 3D models (digital reprsentation of object in the computer), the ability to accurately and efficiently search for 3D models is crucial in many applications such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D game, movie and animation production. As a result, 3D model retrieveal has become an important research area.M

Sketch-Based 3D model retrieval is an intuitive way to retrieve relevant 3D models given a user sketch. However, it is one of the most challenging research topics in the field of 3D model retrieval due to the big semantic gap between human-drawn sketches and 3D models. Such big semantic gap makes the search based on a direct sketch-model comparison suffer low accuracy and high computation cost.

We have proposed several novel sketch-based 3D model retrieval algorithms that have acheived significant improvements in both search accuracy and efficiency. In addition, we also built three benchmarks for large-scale 3D model retrieval and solicited state of the art algorithms by running three Eurographics Shape Retrieval Contest (SHREC) tracks in 2013, 2014, and 2016, and made related benchmarks, evaluation results and tools publically available on the websites, while some results have been published in top journals.


Modeling the effects of Virtual Reality

by Dr. Lisa Rebenitsch

February 2, 2016, McLaury 205, 4:00 pm

Virtual reality for the public has become a reality, with inexpensive headsets like the Oculus Rift. However, prior to the Oculus Rift, virtual reality was used for decades in training. In these early environments, motion sickness-like sypmptoms, or cybersickness, was regularly reported. With the release to the general public, the possibility of this risk has increased, but empirical support for safety and development guidelines is mostly lacking. The current state of the research into cybersickness is examined, and possible models are proposed. Lastly, mitigation strategies are presented for developers.


Fast Fourier Transform? Fast Gauss Transform!

by Dr. Don Teets

February 16, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) was introduced in 1965 by J. Cooley and J. Tukey, and has become one of the most important algorithms in modern computing. But there is a strong evidence that Carl Friedrich Gauss presented an FFT-like algorithm more than a century earlier.

The first half of the talk will serve as a flying introduction to the FFT, followed by a glimpse into Gauss's work in the second half of the talk


What is it about our students?

by Dr. Christer Karlsson

January 19, 2016, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

We have had access to ten years of data of every student that have had contact with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. This data includes both demographic records (ACT/SAT scores, HS GPA, enrollment date, graduation year etc), as well as class records (classes taken, when, where, what grade etc). It should be noted that even though the data was extensive it was de-identified, there were no student names, student IDs etc. We will present our findings from the analysis of this data. The focus will be on the classification and association analysis. Some old truths will be confirmed together with some new findings.


Fall 2015

A Simpler Approach to find the PH of a Supercritical Carbon Dioxide-Water System

Debra Anderson- undergraduate in Applied and Computational Mathematics

December 8, 2015, McLaury 205, 11:00 am

There are many different equations of state available to characterize the relationship between state function. These state function include pressure, temperature, or volumes of fluids. The goal of this project is to find a simpler approach to predict the PH of one specific fluid system, supercritical carbon dioxide and water based on temperature and pressure.


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.