The department initiated a problem of the week contest. Each week a new problem is made available to students to ponder and to solve. The entries must be submitted by Friday at noon. Each correct solution during the month earns you one entry in our random end of the month drawing for a prize. This semester the winner receives a gift certificate from Pepicelli's Pizza. Check out the alumni section of the news for our alumni version of the contest! The September winner was Dave Darwin. Six students entered correct solutions to at least one problem.
This summer Mark Lotts participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates. These REUs, which give undergraduate students the opportunity to spend their summer working on original research, are funded by the National Science Foundation. This particular REU was in the subject of mathematics and was at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, which is located in Terre Haute, Indiana. There were three different research groups at the program. Here is Mark's commentary on the experience: "I was in the computational number theory group. The first few days of the program were mainly lecture days; the number theory advisor, Dr. Joshua Holden, provided gave us background information in combinatorics, graph theory, and cryptography, that would be essential in carrying out our research. He gave us a lot of choices when it came to actually choosing the topic we would work on for the summer. I, along with another student, chose a topic about the ElGamal Digital Signature Scheme, a popular scheme that allows the receiver of a message to confirm the identity of the sender over an insecure channel. Traditionally, it is understood that the security of the ElGamal scheme relies on the difficulty of inverting the discrete exponentiation map, that is, calculating the inverse map of x->g**x mod p, for p a prime and g a generator of the multiplicative group mod p. This problem, called the discrete Logarithm problem, has been studied in great detail and is generally considered to be computationally intractable. However, the scheme also relies on the difficulty of inverting the map x->x*g**x mod p. Until this summer, this problem had been all but ignored. My partner and I were able to prove results about the behavior of this map. We then used a combination of Matlab, Maple, and Minitab, along with some programs written in C, to determine how “random” the functional graphs induced by this mapping appeared to be. All the REU students spent a lot of long hours in the lab, but we also had plenty of time to have fun and get to know one another. We were from all over the country, so it was really interesting to hear about other peoples’ colleges and universities. We also spent time together as a group doing other activities, like going out to dinner, going to see a movie, and going bowling. By the end of the program, we had all grown very close and were sad to leave. In terms of research, my partner and I presented our work at the Indiana University REU conference, submitted our paper to an undergraduate research journal, and hope to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January to again present our findings."
Victoria is a senior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in English Literature and Studio Art. Victoria shared with us her R-MC story.
Victoria reports: "I'm from Newport News, Virginia and consider myself a southerner even though my parents are both from upstate New York. I have a twin brother who attends Longwood University and is majoring in History and Anthropology. He also likes to send me pictures or tell me stories of Hampden Sydney trash talking Macon."
"As a freshman I swam on the swim team here. Then I had to stop because of my knees becoming overworked. I'm a mentor and a tutor on campus and I love working at the HAC. I've enjoyed the classes I've taken for Computer Science thus far, but when I first came to Macon I had no clue what I wanted to major in. As a freshman I could tell you that I was certainly not going major in any of the sciences. As life goes, a friend talked me into taking the Computer Science 111 class for the AOK. This same friend also dragged me to the Computer Science picnic where I first met all of the Computer Science teachers. When I was there Dr. Rabung told me that if I ate the food I had to major as a joke. I laughed because I figured I wasn’t going to major. Here I am three years later."
"Generally I'm a pretty tense person especially when it comes to school work, I like to do well in my classes. When I do get a chance to relax I always read a book and the book is almost always a cheesy romance novel. I also enjoy talking with friends or just talking in general. When I do watch movies it's either a children's film, a musical, or a romantic comedy; as one of my friends had said, I have no taste in movies. I like going to the Byrd theater in Carytown and watching cheap movies with friends. I also enjoy singing loudly to the radio in my car when I'm driving by myself. I'm both a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout and enjoy being slave labor for both organizations and I'm still proud that I received my Girl Scout Gold award. I don’t really like traveling, but I've gone to some cool places. I've traveled up to Carnegie Mellon for a conference about Women in Computer Science. I recently went on a cruise to the Caribbean and enjoyed that experience immensely. I'm hopefully traveling to France in J-term and I'm excited about that even though I haven't taken French since Freshman year."
"Overall, I've enjoyed my time here at Macon. There are days where I consider failing my classes so I don’t have to go into the real world. I'm considering getting my Master's degree and then continuing on for my PhD. I'm also considering getting a job in Computer Science. Both options are equally as scary at this point. I’ll be sad to leave Macon but the future awaits."
I was also active as coordinator for Panels and Special Sessions for SIGCSE 2012 testing and editing my portion of the web site.
In addition, I worked with (as his supervisor) Larry Ballance on his SURF project which involved conjectures about splay trees. Immediately after the SURF Symposium I headed to New York and Connecticut for some rest and relaxation with friends and family.
I do hope their parents will forgive me, but I love these pictures of my grandson Connor and my granddaughter Caitlin; I hope you do too!
I really enjoyed the summer break and am thankful for the opportunities for school related and family activities.
Chuck and I received a Craigie Grant from the College to support the development of course materials and a website for the Excel portion of our introductory Computer Applications in Business course (CSCI 106). Still under development, the site (http://csci106.cs.rmc.edu/) includes text materials with examples, tutorials, and some problem exercises on topics we normally cover in the 7 weeks or so portion of the course. Take a look . . . and please email us a list of the mistakes you find!
I also attended a one-week workshop at the University of Illinois in July on multicore programming. Sixty people attended on site, while another 175 from around the world participated online. Several excellent speakers presented the fundamentals of multicore programming and supporting software available in the Intel, Java, and .NET environments. Labs offered hands-on experience with the use of multicore languages and libraries. A workshop goal is to equip participants to choose the best multicore programming model for current and future projects.