Dear math/CS/mathematical economics majors and minors,
On behalf of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Welcome Back!
returning Math majors,
Computer Science majors, Math-Econ majors,
prospective majors/minors, and
friends of the department!
welcome back for another challenging, rewarding, and (hopefully) fun year of courses and
activities. This letter provides an overview of our faculty and what they are up to, upcoming
courses, and the many opportunities for you as students to get involved with mathematics and
computer science in ways that will engage and challenge you.
We will start out with our traditional Fall Welcome Back Picnic – don’t miss it!
WELCOME BACK PICNIC
Friday September 14th at 12 noon
TUTT SCIENCE CENTER ATRIUM
The picnic will be followed at 1:00 by our first student-level Fearless Friday talk, by our own
Here is an overview of news and happenings in the department for the coming year:
Our New Paraprofessional:
Evan Ranken takes over the position of paraprofessional. Evan graduated from CC last year
with a double major in math and physics. He has a passion for mathematics, pure and otherwise,
and knowledge of what it takes to get through your math major or minor. Evan can tell you about
the fascinating topics that await you in the mathematics classes you have yet to take. He will also
keep you tuned in to the many mathematical and social activities going on for students in the
department. If you don’t already know Evan, drop by TSC 210 and introduce yourself.
We are very pleased to welcome a new visitor this year, Beth Malmskog. Beth’s research
interests include arithmetic geometry, number theory, combinatorics, and cryptography. Beth
grew up in Wyoming and got her Ph.D. in 2011 from Colorado State. In addition to her love of
mathematics, Beth is a music junkie; listen for her on KRCC in the near future! Beth will be
occupying Amelia Taylor’s office (TSC 206F) while Amelia is on sabbatical this year; please
drop by and say “Hi”! We will also have two block visitors this year: Ben Katz-Moses will be
coming down from CU-Boulder to teach several sections of calculus, and Professor Emerita
Kathy Merrill will be returning to teach an extra section of linear algebra in block 5.
We are delighted that Matthew Whitehead is our new tenure-track computer scientist. Many of
you know Matthew because he was a visiting professor last year; after a nationwide search, he
rose to the top of our list to be a long-term member of the department. Matthew’s research
interests include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and finding patterns in complex data
sets. He has worked on many interesting areas of application, from automatic text extraction to
evolving computer game bots. Drop by his office (TSC 206H) or take a class from him if you
want to find out more about the amazing variety of problems that computer scientists work on.
We’ll have to muddle along without Amelia Taylor this year. She is on sabbatical, a reward for
earning tenure last year. Amelia will be spending time in Oregon and New Zealand, working
with collaborators on her research in computational algebra and phylogenetics.
It is business as usual for the rest of us in the department: - Marlow Anderson, David Brown
(that’s me – the department chair), Andrea Bruder, Stefan Erickson, Steven Janke, Jane
McDougall (associate chair), Mike Siddoway and Fred Tinsley.
Amy Pacheco, our technical director, will continue to be there to help us with any problems
arising from technology and to think about creative ways to use technology in and out of the
classroom. Marita Beckert, our staff assistant, will continue to be there to help us with
everything necessary for the department to run smoothly.
We have the usual wide range of excellent course offerings for the 2012-13 school year. Here
are some of the highlights:
MA251 Number Theory (Tinsley – block 3 and Erickson – block 6)
MA300 Geometry (Anderson – block 6)
MA340 Algebraic Number Theory (Erickson – block 7)
MA321/322 Abstract Algebra I and II (Anderson – block 4 and Siddoway – block 5)
MA375/376 Real Analysis I and II (Brown – block 1 and Tinsley – block 2)
MA400 Topology (Tinsley – block 8)
MA408 History of Mathematics (Siddoway – block 7)
MA410 Complex Analysis (McDougall – block 6)
Applied Mathematics and Statistics:
MA217 Probability and Statistical Modeling (Janke -- block 2 and Tinsley -- block 6)
MA218 Analysis of Environmental Data (McDougall -- block 7)
MA220 Linear Algebra (Bruder – block 1 and Malmskog/Merrill – block 5)
MA313 Probability (Siddoway – block 3)
MA315 Ordinary Differential Equations (Bruder – block 4)
MA316 Partial Differential Equations (Brown – block 5)
MA417 Mathematical Statistics (Janke – block 8)
CP215 Application Design (Whitehead – block 4)
CP275 Computer Organization (Janke - block 7)
CP341 Machine Learning (Whitehead - block 8)
CP342 Distributed Systems (Whitehead – block 1)
CP360 Computer Graphics (Janke – block 4)
CP405 Theory of Computation (Janke - block 5)
Note that CP215 will provide math and science majors (as well as CS majors) with useful
computational and information processing skills. The prerequisite is CP122 Computer Science I,
or MA126 Calculus 1. Computational tools will be approached using various languages (such as
Python and Perl) and using applications such as Mathematica and Matlab.
Extended Format Courses
MA228 – Mathematical Problem Solving: Mathematical Modeling (Bruder – blocks 1-4).
Students are encouraged to compete (in teams) in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling in
February after learning about mathematical models in a number of trial scenarios through the
fall. The course runs late block 1 – block 4, with some commitment for final contest preparation
in block 5. Students with strong interest and varying levels of experience are encouraged to
participate. Approximately weekly meeting times to be arranged, often accompanied by pizza.
MA228 – Mathematical Problem Solving: Putnam (Erickson – blocks 1-- 4). Students may elect
to take the Putnam exam in late fall after working on problem-solving techniques during the first
semester. These meetings will take place on Mondays at noon, and will frequently be
accompanied by pizza.
CP248 - Robotics. Make your own robot, and train it to run the maze (or perhaps just to turn a
corner or two). (Janke and Whitehead – blocks 5 -- 8)
The “Capstone Experience” Requirement (for Mathematics Majors)
The capstone experience requirement is a crowning course or activity that mathematics majors
pursue in their senior year. The capstone experience is a graduation requirement of all students
who have declared a major in mathematics. There are two different ways to fulfill the
MA408 – History of Mathematics taken as a senior (Michael Siddoway – block 7)
A project concluding with a thesis and seminar during block 7. (The student should
select a faculty adviser for this as soon as possible – no later than of block 3 of the
senior year.) For more information about the thesis, please consult the department
web page or any faculty. Note that math majors pursuing distinction must select this
Caution juniors: Do not use the first option MA408 as a junior unless you are absolutely sure
that you wish to complete the paper and project option as your capstone-fulfillment activity when
you are a senior.
Fearless Friday Seminars:
Our departmental seminar series includes presentations each Friday, except for block breaks.
Some talks are given by our faculty, some by students, and some by visitors. We rate each
seminar (G – XXX) to give you an idea of its level of difficulty, but you can almost always gain
some understanding from the first 10 – 15 minutes of our talks, even from those that eventually
move on to more technical material. Our seminars will often introduce you to mathematical
topics not normally studied in our regular courses.
We will schedule a student-oriented seminar on the second Friday of each block at noon
(accompanied by pizza). These seminars should stir your interest in new topics and often bridge
different areas of mathematics. Talks that are more research-level are held on other Fridays at
2:30 pm; students are always welcome.
All Mathematics majors and Computer Science majors are required to attend at least 4 seminars
and submit a written one or two-page summary to the staff assistant (Marita Beckert) within two
weeks of the seminar. Needless to say, we hope you will attend many more than four seminars
over your four years at CC! Associate Chair Jane McDougall will be overseeing the review
process to see that your essays are suitable - sample essays can be found on the department web
page. Reminder: All summaries should be completed by the end of block 7 of your senior
Pizza Problems and Other Events:
As you may know, we pose (and post) a Pizza Problem each block. The earliest correct solution
earns a pizza. Watch for both mathematical and computer science problems posted each block
on one of our several bulletin boards as well as the department website.
Expect a number of game nights to be organized again this year, and other events including a
bowling outing (more details to follow from Evan). Also watch out for the spring picnic, date to
Tutors and Graders:
The department hires graders for many of our courses, and the QRC hires tutors. If you would
like to try your hand at these rewarding jobs, please let Evan know. This work is essential to
guiding many of our students through their mathematics courses, and this is an opportunity for
you as tutors and graders to gain a deeper understanding of the material as well.
Math Email List:
Throughout the year, we will contact you about seminars, schedule changes, parties, picnics and
other math/cs related activities. Most of the announcements go out by e-mail, so make sure you
are on our list.
Wishing you all another productive and enjoyable year,