February 25, 2018

Mathematics Faculty Participate in Joint Mathematics Meetings

Eight members of the Department of Mathematics presented at the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta in January.  The JMM is the largest mathematics conference in the country, with registrations this year exceeding 6,000 participants.  Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Randall Helmstutler, chair and associate professor, presented the talk “Generalized dihedral groups in non-commutative cryptographic protocols,” based on research conducted with former student Chris Lloyd. Dr. Helmstutler also participated in a day-long workshop for mathematics department chairs.
  • Professor Debra Hydorn presented the talk “Small Teaching” in the MAA session on discrete mathematics in the undergraduate curriculum. Dr. Hydorn also exhibited two pieces in the Mathematical Art Exhibition and participated in several committee meetings.
  • Associate professor Leo Lee gave the presentation “DDM for SPDE” in the AMS contributed paper session on numerical analysis and computer science.
  • Professor Larry Lehman gave two talks on his research in number theory, “A Continued Fraction Algorithm for Quadratic Numbers, Forms, and  Ideals” and “A Formula for the Number of Solutions of an Arbitrary Quadratic Congruence.”
  • Lecturer Jennifer Magee presented the talk “Cryptology for first-year students” in the MAA session on cryptology for undergraduates, providing an overview of the department’s unique FSEM course in the field.
  • Professor Keith Mellinger delivered “The ingredients for a successful liberal arts course in quantitative reasoning,” a talk addressing the department’s innovative approach to a recently developed course offering, Math 120: Quantitative Reasoning for the Sciences.
  • Professor Marie Sheckels presented “Enhancing Quantitative Reasoning and Skills through Exploring Scientific Applications” in the session Innovative Strategies to Inspire and Prepare Potential STEM Majors.
  • Professor Suzanne Sumner gave the talk “Environmental Applications: Introduction to Mathematical Modeling” in the session Meaningful Modeling in the First Two Years of College.

Mellinger Publishes Research Article

Keith Mellinger, professor of mathematics and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, saw his co-authored article Small Kakeya Sets in non-prime order planes appear in the July 2015 issue of the European Journal of Combinatorics.

UMW to Host Fredtech’s Fourth Annual STEM Summit, April 25

The University of Mary Washington will host Fredtech’s fourth annual STEM16 Summit, a showcase of regional initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, on Saturday, April 25. ChemistryThe summit will feature a keynote address and more than 50 booths highlighting the achievements and offerings of the region’s students, educators, and businesses in the STEM arena. The event is organized by Fredtech, the Technology Council for the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. The free public event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Anderson Center. Keynote speaker Jason Kring, an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has previously been featured on TEDx talks on subjects such as building a home for space and searching for the ideal crew for manned mission to Mars. Kring is currently working on MEERS, Embry-Riddle’s Mobile Extreme Environmental Research Lab. He received his doctorate in applied experimental and human factors psychology from the University of Central Florida. The summit is the region’s largest STEM event, connecting the region’s educators, students, public officials and businesses. This year, the summit is expected to represent more than 40 secondary schools, the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren. Keith Mellinger, professor of mathematics at UMW, sees the university as a key player in having students apply science in their future careers. “UMW is a recognized leader in developing the next generation of scientists,” said Mellinger. “Higher education plays a critical role in the pipeline from high school to the working world.  UMW’s involvement in the summit demonstrates its commitment to strengthening this pipeline.” The event is sponsored by UMW, SimVentions, WGRQ SuperHits 95.9, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Lockheed Martin. For more information, to register or to purchase booth space, contact Sheri Wikert at sheri@fredericksburgchamber.org or (540) 373-9400.

Taking on Twitter

Is it a human or a Twitter bot?

Researchers from the University of Mary Washington and the Naval Surface Warfare Center want to know for sure.

UMW computer science majors Bryan Holster and Chris Zimmerman, under the guidance of Professor Stephen Davies, have teamed with scientists at the center’s Dahlgren division to get to the bottom of this sometimes perplexing social media mystery. The partnership is one of several ongoing collaborations between the University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Taking on Twitter

UMW students team with Dahlgren scientists to conduct research.

Keith Mellinger Publishes Research

Dr. Keith E. Mellinger, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, saw his article Minimal Kakeya Sets appear in the Journal of Combinatorial Designs. The article was co-authored with former student Kelly Scott ’12 who worked on the project as part of her undergraduate honors project.

Keith Mellinger Publishes Research Article

Keith Mellinger, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, recently saw his co-authored research article Embedding cycles in finite planes published in the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics.  The article addresses graph cycles in planes, a topic that has been connected to certain soft-decision decoding algorithms for error-correcting codes.

Keith Mellinger Presents at Meetings

Mellinger, Keith10Keith Mellinger, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, recently traveled to two conferences to present various results of his research.  First, was the 2nd Annual Conference for the Exchange of Mathematical Ideas, a conference he helped to organize, held at the University of Northern Iowa.  There he spoke about Blocking Semiovals and Their Applications to Cryptography.  He also traveled to London, England, for the 24th British Combinatorial Conference where he delivered the presentation titled Minimal Kakeya Sets.

UMW Math Professor Honored by Alma Mater

University of Mary Washington Associate Professor and Chair of Mathematics Keith Mellinger was honored with the 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater, Millersville University. Mellinger received the award during the Pennsylvania university’s annual honors and awards convocation. Mellinger received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Millersville in 1995 and earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Delaware. Since joining the UMW faculty in 2003, he has received numerous internal grants, including a Jepson Fellowship. In 2006, Mellinger was awarded a young investigator grant from the National Security Agency and in 2008, he was recognized with the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award. In 2010, Mellinger and a Virginia Tech colleague received the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award, a national writing award, from the Mathematical Association of America. Mellinger has delivered professional presentations throughout the country and in Greece, Italy and Canada. He also has published many articles on both mathematical research and pedagogy in a variety of professional journals.

Keith Mellinger Presents on Math & Music

Mellinger, Keith10Associate Professor and Chair of Mathematics Keith Mellinger recently attended the Mathematical Association of America‘s regional meeting held at Salisbury University.  At the meeting, Mellinger presented Eigentriads – a musical offering in which he discussed eigenvectors, a topic found in any undergraduate course in linear algebra, and an amusing relationship they have with diminished and augmented triads.