Computer Science

Faculty Spotlight: John Bowers

Offering a new course in computational geometry


 
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SUMMARY: Dr. John Bowers joined JMU's Department of Computer Science in the fall of 2015 and will be offering computational geometry as a class - something that he is excited to bring to JMU. Bowers is also the faculty advisor for the student run Computer Game Programming Club.


Scattered around John Bowers’ office you will see works of origami that he has created.  Bowers, who joined JMU’s Department of Computer Science in the fall of 2015, developed an interest in paper folding in an unlikely place – one of his graduate classes at University of Massachusetts Amherst.  The course in computational geometry and origami inspired Bowers so much that he decided to do his doctoral thesis on the topic.

Computational origami looks at how you can put lines, or creases, on paper so it folds into a geometric shape. Originally a Japanese paper folding art, origami is now used for a variety of purposes including engineering applications and protein folding.

Bowers, the son of a pure mathematician, brought a keen interest in math into his decision to study computational origami. “I enjoy the topic of computer geometry because it allows me to have one foot in mathematics and one in computer science. It allows me to explore all of my interests at once,” Bowers says.

Next spring he will be offering computational geometry as a class, which is something that he is excited to bring to JMU.  Bowers is also the faculty advisor for the student run Computer Game Programming Club. Through this program, students can learn how to develop games using the Unity Game Programming Engine.

Besides the origami creations, another thing that you can find inside Bowers’ office is a bike parked in the corner. Outside of his teaching job at JMU, Bowers describes himself as an outdoorsman who enjoys biking in the paths around the Harrisonburg community and bikes to work every day. Bowers also enjoys spending most of his free time with his wife and two young children.

Published: Monday, March 21, 2016

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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