News & Events 2023-2024

Friday 3/8 Pi Day!

Sadly the 14th of March falls over Spring Break, but that will not stop us from celebrating the most iconic number that math has to offer! On third Friday (3/8) at 2PM, join us for the Pi K walk/run, pie eating, and fun having!


Block 6 First Monday 2/19

Monday, February 19 (Week 1)

Gates Commons

3:30 - 5:00pm

In their First Monday presentation, Professors Cory Scott, Blake Jackson, and Ben Nye discuss the history and context of machine intelligence, fundamentals of how these systems work, what's happening at the cutting edge, and how we can strike a balance between powerful technology and social benefit.




Please stay tuned for more upcoming events.



Past Events 2023-2024

Nails & Pizza 2/9

Friday, February 9 (Week 3)

Math & CS Lounge

12:00 - 1:00pm




JMM 24

Galileo Fries wins an outstanding speaker award at the 2024 Joint Mathematics Meetings’ Conference.  Congratulations Galileo!
fries_presentation_JMM24.jpg JMM24_group_dinner.jpeg
Fries presenting at JMM 2024

CC Group at JMM 2024

L-R:  Nathan Mankovich, Hanson Smith, Joseph Rennie,

Sam Johnson, Isak Larson, Brendan McCune, Galileo Fries,

Sarah Wolff, Beth Malmskog, Sophie Aiken, Molly Moran 



The Ethics of ChatGPT

Thursday 12/14/23, 12:15 pm

South Hall Commons 


Tuesday, December 3 (Week 2)

Math & CS Lounge

1:00 - 2:00 pm

Snowflakes + Snacks!

 Attractions include:

❄️Cutting out snowflakes and making other paper crafts❄️

🍬Sugar cookie decoration🍪

💅Wintery nail painting🌨️

🖌️Face Painting🎨

🍫Drinking hot chocolate☕

🍿Other snacks like popcorn + fruit🍓

… And so much more!!


Fearless Friday 11/3

Friday, November 3 (Week 2)

TSC 122

12:00 - Pizza!

12:30 – 1:30 pm:  Faculty Research Bytes

1:30 - 3:00:  Student poster fair







Nails & Pizza 9/29

Friday, September 29 (Week 1)

Math & CS Lounge

12:00 - 1:30










End of Year Celebration!

In lieu of the traditional picnic, the department will hold a fun-filled gathering indoors, featuring a mashup of some of our favorite activities from the year! Request food, nail polish colors, and activity ideas here.




Capstone Presentations

Thursday, April 6 (Week 1)

2:30 – 2:55 pm: Lena Fleischer, Ellen Moore, Miranda Hunter

Sun Chase: A Machine Learning-Based iOS App Predicting the Beauty of Sunrises and Sunsets

Have you ever woken up early to watch the sunrise, only to be disappointed by gray skies? Our mission is to create an iOS application which predicts the aesthetic quality of sunrises and sunsets, encouraging users to get outside when skies are beautiful. The app takes in user location and gathers corresponding weather data which it passes into a machine learning algorithm. We have trained a neural network to recognize weather patterns that are highly correlated with beautiful skies, using geotagged image data (Flickr API) in tandem with historical weather data (Visual Crossing API). This model, trained in Python (PyTorch), is then packaged into an iOS application built using Swift. The final product, Sun Chase, is an intuitive application which displays sunrise and sunset predictions.


3:00 – 3:15 pm: Liz Seero

Recovery Connection

According to the most recent SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) detailing
Mental Illness and Substance Use Levels in 2021, 46.3 million people meet the DSM-5 criteria for having
a substance use disorder in the past year. The same study found that in that same year, 94% of people
aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment. The project aimed to
focus on recovery through the lens of Human Computer Interaction utilizing an Agile Design process.
Recovery Connection is a life tracking and reflection application that allows for users to record and
analyze information about relationships, activities, and substances. To test usability, I conducted two
user studies and implemented program changes inspired by the results. Available on both mobile and
desktop, Recovery Connection is a tool that was built to protect integrity, provide a non-judgmental
place to store and revisit private information, and above all, provide help to under-served communities.


Thursday, April 13 (Week 2)

2:30 – 2:45 pm: Mike Romer

Exploring the Rubik’s Cube Group

The Rubik’s Cube was invented in 1974 by architecture professor Ernő Rubik. Since then, it has become the most popular puzzle in history according to the national museum of play. Despite the cube’s popularity, its underlying algebraic structure is rarely discussed outside of college math departments. This is understandable as configurations of the Rubik’s Cube can be represented by a mathematical group with over forty-three quintillion elements. This project investigated the structure of this group and its subgroups and used them to create an original solution to the puzzle.


2:50 – 3:05 pm: Casmali Lopez

Phylogenetic Networks: Combinatorics and Algebra

This presentation will demonstrate the applications of combinatorics and algebra to the field of phylogenetics. Phylogenetics is the study of the evolutionary relationships between organisms. The goal of phylogenetics is to use biological data from a collection of individuals or species to infer a tree or network that describes how they are related evolutionary. Phylogenetic networks, an expansion of phylogenetic trees, are more accurate in certain biological circumstances but provide increased complexity and therefore increased mathematical challenges. The first section of this presentation will work through counting results related to phylogenetic networks. The second section of this presentation focuses on the statistical algebra of phylogenetic networks and their use in inferring phylogenetic networks.


3:10 – 3:25 pm: Cooper Doe

Effect of Randomness on Behavior of Gene Transcription in Certain Motifs


Transcription of genes within organisms can be characterized as a Gene Regulatory Network of different smaller patterns, called motifs. The Feed Forward Loop (FFL), a three-gene motif, is characterized by a first gene X that has a direct effect on second gene Y, and a direct effect on final gene Z. Gene Y also has a direct effect on the final gene Z. FFLs are 'incoherent' if the indirect and direct pathways have an opposite effect (e.g. upregulation or downregulation). The first IFFL is the most biologically abundant incoherent loop. We find that certain deterministically predicted functions of the I1-FFL are not reproducible in our models with added stochasticity, and some functions are heavily dependent on intra-cell gene particle density. 



3:30 – 3:55 pm: Ethan Lebowitz, Tony Mastromarino, Mac O’Brien

QuickCheck: Rapid Formative Assessment for K-12 Teachers

There's been a push in the education sphere towards formative assessment; as opposed to tests and quizzes, which happen at the end of a unit, formative assessment establishes an understanding of student knowledge at the time of teaching. This allows teachers to adjust their lesson plans and ensure that the entire class is on the same page. Like most things within the education, there's been little support with this; so, working with science teaching coach Monica Tino, we developed a web app that allows teachers to set up their classes and assessments on their computers and quickly perform the assessments while teaching on their phones, capturing data in a way that empowers teachers to do what they do best.


4:00 – 4:25 pm: Davidson Cheng, Hset Hset Naing, Richard Wang

Mesh Feature Learning


It is difficult for computers to understand “shapes”: an apple and a plane both appear as a sequence of bits. But there is one specific
way to convey “shape” information to a computer: graphs! In our project, we developed a model that extracts structural information from graphs using adversarial machine learning, and we put it to the test by comparing our feature extraction method with a traditionally robust feature extraction method: heat kernel signature.


Wednesday, April 19 (Week 3)

2:30 – 2:55 pm: Marcus Behenna, Quattro Musser, Moses Solomon

Visualizing Sodomitical Paris

Accounts of homosexual practices in 18th century Europe are few and far between. The scarcity of these accounts often limits historians to analysis of individuals, obscuring larger scale community dynamics. 18th century records of the Parisian Police give historians a rare opportunity to study homosexual practices on the level of communities, through a wealth of data on masculine homosexual practices, and the policing thereof. The project “Policing Male Homosexuality in 18th Century Paris,” (PHS) founded in 2016, is working to translate these documents into English, publish them online, and supply the tools necessary for community scale analysis of these records. For our thesis project we developed two such tools: a web map and a data dashboard. The web map allows users to visualize, query, and filter all locational data the project has translated. The data dashboard allows users to explore non-locational data and create their own charts with custom filters.


3:00 – 3:25 pm: William Holtz, Daniel Lewinsohn, Ben Modlin, Max Perozek

scSHARP: Python and R Packages for Robust Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Cell Type Annotation

Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data, annotated by cell type, are useful in a variety of downstream biological applications, such as profiling gene expression at the single-cell level. However, manually assigning these annotations with known marker genes is both time-consuming and subjective. We present scSHARP, a combination of Python and R packages that is easily installable and usable for bioinformatics researchers. Our R package, R4scSHARP, implements five state-of-the-art cell type annotation tools which allow us to find cells with highly confident assignments through consensus. Our Python package, scSHARP, provides a semi-supervised Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) and other methods to spread these confident labels and interpret the results. As a result, scSHARP provides highly accurate and interpretable cell type annotations in an easy-to-use format.


3:30 – 3:45 pm: Henry Jones

Explorations in Diffusion and the Mean First Passage Time

The subject of interest in a variety of applied and theoretical fields, the Mean First Passage Time (MFPT) is a solution to a particular Poisson equation deeply connected to the classical diffusion equation. Within the scope of this thesis, the MFPT is interpreted as the average time for a diffusing particle or random walker to arrive or 'react' at an absorbing boundary. This thesis aims to contextualize the study of diffusion and random walks and examine comparisons between the discrete and continuous. We begin with several foundational derivations before delving into some analytical and numerical results for a particularly interesting MFPT problem.


3:50 – 4:05 pm: Na’ama Nevo

Error Correcting Codes

Error Correcting Codes are algorithms used to maximize accurate data transmission in networks between a sender and receiver. Data transmission is often hindered by random errors which can flip bits of a message to the wrong symbols. The goals of error correcting codes is both to be able to detect as many errors as possible and to be able correct as many errors as possible, while also maximizing the length of possible messages and minimizing the amount of storage space required. Hermitian-Lifted Codes were first described in a paper by Lopez, Malmskog, Matthews, Pinero-Gonzales, Wootters, and have many advantageous properties such as maximal length and good locality and availability. Additionally, the Hermitian-Lifted Code has a large dimension, which is an improvements from previous similar codes.


4:10 – 4:25 pm: Emerson Worrell

An Exploration of Connect Sums of Knots Using the Trip Matrix

In the field of knot theory, we use knot invariants to determine if two knots are the same or distinct. The trip matrix provides a method of computing a knot invariant known as the Jones Polynomial that requires only linear algebra. The encapsulation of so much information in a matrix over Z_2 provides an interesting opportunity to see what other tasks the trip matrix can be used to perform. We utilize the trip matrix method to give an alternative proof that the Jones Polynomial is multiplicative under connect sums, and then use the structure of the trip matrix itself as a method to determine if a given knot diagram with minimal crossing representation is prime or composite. 


4:30 – 4:45 pm: Davidson Cheng

Lattice-based Cryptography on Quantum Computer

Lattice-based crypto systems are currently the prime candidates for quantum-secure crypto systems. This talk will cover an introduction to hard lattice problems, which are at the core of lattice-based cryptography. I will also illustrate how a specific instance of a hard lattice problem might be solved efficiently on a general purpose quantum computer.



Friday, April 21 (Week 3)

2:30 – 2:45 pm: Olivia Bouthot

An Exploration of Symmetry Groups

Humans are drawn to patterns, whether that be in the reflective symmetry of butterflies or repetition of musical beats. In exploring pattern classification through geometric means, it becomes clear how math always informs the structure of our world, including beauty. This thesis explores the classification of frieze and wallpaper groups. We follow the methodology of William Barker and Roger Howe in their book Continuous symmetry: From Euclid to Klein. We categorize 7 isomorphism classes for frieze groups, and 17 for wallpaper groups. The method is similar for frieze and wallpaper groups, illuminating the possibility of higher dimensional pattern classification.


2:50 – 3:05 pm: Tim Somerset

Prior sensitivity analysis of Bayesian hidden Markov models for hospital infection data

Analyzing hospital infection data presents a number of difficulties from the structure of the data – sparse, low counts, and auto correlated – to the nature of the data generation process – transmission through largely unobserved infections. A natural solution is to use a hidden Markov model. This talk focuses on a Bayesian methodology to this model, a key step of which is to define our prior belief of key transmission parameter values. Due to the size of the dataset, our prior belief has a large impact on the output of the analysis. What is this impact? And is there a predictable pattern we can identify?

Topics covered in the talk include: Bayesian/frequentist statistics, Monte-Carlo Markov chain sampling, and hidden Markov models.


3:10 – 3:25 pm: Edie Brazil

Mathematical Model of Stochastic Differential Equations of Population Recovery Dynamics with a Non-Constant Carrying Capacity

Stochastic models integrate randomness into the model which allows us to analyze systems and processes and their dynamics in the presence of noise. We use the methods outlined by Gillespie in his paper, “The Chemical Langevin Equation” to develop a mathematical model of stochastic differential equations modeling population dynamics with a nonconstant carrying capacity in the wake of an assumed population devastating event. We are interested in how the aggregation of noise contributed by the individuals of a population affects population recovery dynamics. This presentation will include an overview of our model and its derivation and underlying assumptions and an analysis of our simulation results.


3:30 – 3:55 pm: Jessica Hannebert, Moises Padilla, Giang Pham, Pralad Mishra

The Quantitative Reasoning Center Scheduling System (QSS)

The QSS is an online application that will be used by the directors of the Quantitative Reasoning Center (QRC) for scheduling tutors’ walk-in shifts. The QSS will utilize a variety of tutor inputs to determine the schedule by allocating the best set of shifts to each tutor. The website will allow the heads of the QRC to manage all aspects of the scheduling while giving the tutors the ability to select which shifts they would like to sign up for. With this application, blockly meetings between QRC tutors and administrators will become much more efficient and organized.


4:00 – 4:25 pm: Will Barber, Tucker Hale, Bryan Moreno, Ronak Patel

Find Your Fun: Building Your Calendar With A Little Help from AI

Search engines today have made it extremely easy to find anything and everything, too easy in fact! When it comes to adding to your personal schedule, too many options on what to do can make adding events and planning unnecessarily cumbersome. Our web application seeks to make the process of finding things to do in your local area easy and convenient. Our web app offers a concise selection of events its users can chose from. We use Natural Language Processing (Python spaCy) to look through the descriptions of events hosted on our website to assign it the most relevant tags to further tailor user experience.

Kresge Lecture Hall
(Tutt Science 122)


Beans & Board Games!

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Come play board and card games with the Math & CS paraprofs, and eat Chipotle! All students, staff, and faculty welcome!

Request games and food using this form!

Math & CS Lounge
(Tutt Science, 2nd Floor, North)
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Friday, March 3rd



Nails + Pizza!

Friday, February 17th, 2023

  • Hang out with the math & CS paraprofs!
  • Give your nails a spiffy new look!
  • Eat pizza!
  • Trade hot gossip!
  • Students, staff, and faculty welcome!

RSVP via this form so we know how much pizza & polish to get!

Math & CS Lounge
(Tutt Science, 2nd Floor, North)
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Friday, February 17th



Report an issue - Last updated: 02/19/2024