# SUMS Conference Attracts Nearly 40 Undergraduate Mathematicians

Robin Wilson, who teaches mathematics at Cal Poly Pomona (Calif.), discusses knot theory and its connections to 3-manifold topology during the Oct. 18 conference in Miller Hall. Wilson was one of two invited speakers.

Nearly 40 students from JMU and around the country presented talks and posters at this year’s Shenandoah Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (SUMS) Conference at JMU.

Now in its fourth year, the conference attracted participants from as far away as Texas. One of the invited keynote speakers, Robin Wilson, came from California.

“The SUMS Conference is now known as one of the premier undergraduate mathematical research conferences in the country. It is one of the many indicators of the importance JMU places on undergraduate research,” said Elizabeth Theta Brown, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at JMU and a co-director of SUMS with Laura Taalman, associate professor of mathematics and statistics.

Wilson, who teaches mathematics at Cal Poly Pomona, spoke about knot theory and its connections to 3-manifold topology. Also invited to speak at the conference was Michael Mossinghoff, a math and computer science professor at Davidson College and a visiting math professor at the University of South Carolina. Mossinghoff discussed research questions surrounding finite red and blue points on a plane.

“Math students at JMU benefit from SUMS in that each year, more of them are inspired to pursue their own mathematical research projects,” Taalman said. “SUMS is a yearly reminder that mathematical research can be accessible to undergraduates.”

One of the main goals of the conference is to provide students who have completed undergraduate mathematical research a venue for communicating their results, Taalman said.

The conference is supported by a National Science Foundation grant through the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences. The fifth annual JMU SUMS conference will be held in mid-October 2009.

This year’s student presenters were:

- Michael Atkins, George Mason University

A numerical and analytical study of modeling techniques for solidification

Students presented 21 talks and 15 posters at this year's conference. - Margaret Beckom and Matthew Spencer, James Madison University

Nearest neighbor distance measures for mixed variables in an ecological setting - Rujira Chaysiri, University of Virginia

Enhancement of stability of LQR problem in a strongly damped wave equation - Xuanyi Chen, Southwest Virginia Governor's School

Strategy in a random walking game - Julianne Coxe, James Madison University

A nano-sculptor's knife: Cutting into infinite space - Michael Dankwa and Juan Ortega, James Madison University

Jan Herburt-Hewell and Lianne Loizou, James Madison University

Sandwheel Parts I and II - Matthew DiGiosaffatte, James Madison University

A function from N to N that grows so fast it's silly - Douglas Fordham. James Madison University

Programming the modified Picard method - Lydia Garcia, St. Mary's College of Maryland

The search for a Jones knot - Deanna Hannoun, James Madison University

An optimal energy allocation strategy for multiple constrained resources - Kevin Kelbaugh and S. Minerva Venuti, George Mason University

Modeling, analysis and computation of fluid structure interaction models for biological systems - Scott Landenheim, Syracuse University

Emily Miller, The College of New Jersey

Higher order tensor operations and their applications - Kristin McNamara, James Madison University

Intrinsically linked and intrinsically triple-linked graphs in real projective space - Sia Minja, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Application of Calculus In Economics - Philip Lenzini, Dominican University

Nonconstant harvesting on ratio-dependent predator-prey models - Jose Manuel Lopez, University of Houston

numerical method for stochastic population models - John Ross, St. Mary's College of Maryland

Untangle: Game theory on the unknot - Brian Salyer, Morehead State University

Equivalence numbers of graphs - Tom Stephens, George Mason University

Nonlocal extensions of the classical phase field model - Olivia Walch, College of William and Mary

The commutant of the full tridiagonal pattern - Vincent Zimmern, University of Virginia

Boundary value problems on polygonal domains

This year’s poster presenters were:

- Brian Beruete and Teri Swinson, James Madison University

Eigenvalue decomposition of a symmetric Matrix in parallel - Anthony Clifford, Governor's School of Southside Virginia

Evaluation of simple functions to produce the best strategic advantages in Go - Thomas Dowd, James Madison University

Circulant matrices - Douglas Fordham and Glenn Young, James Madison University

Color image compression using singular value decomposition - Deanna Hannoun and Abigayle Wood, James Madison University

e^(xtra) special matrix operations - Alex Kuberry, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

A correlation study of mathematics students and multiple extra curricular studies - Daniel Mertz, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Calculus applications: Aerospace engineering - Audrey Poe, Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

Row and column summations of the Narayana triangle - Megan Skebeck, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Calculus applications: Suspension bridges and cantenary arches - Jamey Szalay, James Madison University

Deblurring an image using linear algebra - Lok-kun Tsui, James Madison University

Latent semantic indexing - Daniel Wilberger, James Madison University

The world's largest linear algebra problem