Professor Brian Sutton, Ph.D.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant of $107,951 to Randolph-Macon
College Mathematics Professor Brian Sutton, Ph.D. The NSF funding will support Sutton’s
research project, titled Stable and efficient computation of the CS decomposition.
“I join the Randolph-Macon College community in congratulating Dr. Sutton on this
prestigious award,” said R-MC President Robert R. Lindgren. “Brian is resolute in
his quest to continue his important research, and we are thrilled to support and
encourage his groundbreaking work.”
Sutton explains his research: “The CS (cosine-sine) decomposition breaks a matrix,
or square grid of numbers, into separate components, revealing previously hidden
structure,” he says. “This is especially useful in applications involving a pair
of data sets. For example, Hotelling proposed in 1936 a mathematical procedure for
identifying traits that are passed from mother rat to daughter rat. Unfortunately,
his technique was impractical given contemporary mathematical and computational
tools, and despite the subsequent exponential increase in computing power, these
computations have proved frustratingly delicate. My research aims to increase the
accuracy and efficiency of these computations and, just as importantly, to extend
them in a new direction, which may lead to novel applications in the future.”
“Brian has secured a place as one of the elite mathematicians in academia,” said
Dr. William T. Franz, R-MC Provost. “He exemplifies the true spirit of the teacher-scholar
in what he provides our students in their classes and in his world-class research
Sutton began work on the CS decomposition in the fall of 2004. In June 2009, he
was awarded first place for one of the highest awards in the field of mathematics,
the 14th Leslie Fox Prize in Numerical Analysis, for his research in applied mathematics.
Sutton competed against five finalists from Britain, France, Belgium, China and
the United States. The prize ceremony was held at the Mathematics Institute, University
of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
"The NSF award is a huge honor both for Brian and for Randolph-Macon College," said
R-MC Mathematics Professor Bruce Torrence, Ph.D. Torrence is the chair of the R-MC
mathematics department and the first recipient of the Dorothy and Muscoe Garnett
Professorship in Mathematics.
Sutton joined the faculty at Randolph-Macon College in 2005. He earned bachelor's
degrees in both mathematics and computer science at Virginia Tech and his Ph.D.
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an invited presenter at
more than a dozen conferences and lectures. Sutton’s research and other writings
have been published in several academic and instructional publications.