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Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Keynote Speakers

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Doğan Çömez to Speak On The Mathematics of Modern Communication

Doğan Çömez studied mathematics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and received his PhD degree in mathematics from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Following a two year teaching experience in his alma mater, he joined the Department of Mathematics at North Dakota State University in 1985.  His main research interest is in dynamical systems and operator ergodic theory, particularly on the convergence of additive or superadditive processes and ergodic Hilbert transform.  He has also been involved in various interdisciplinary research collaborations in pharmaceutical science, in operations research, and in mathematics and science education.  He has made numerous mathematical presentations for the 4-H Club, the Kiwanis Club, Sonya Kovalevski Math Days and the North Dakota Governor’s School. He is a leading advocate for departmental programs aimed to attract students to Science and Mathematics. He is currently the director of the GraSUS Program (originally NSF-funded, currently institutionalized at NDSU) that places graduate students in local high schools, and the ND-PRIME Project (funded by North Dakota State DPI) that provides professional development for K-12 mathematics teachers.

ABSTRACT: Many simple, seemingly ordered, physical systems exhibit unpredictable behavior if the initial condition is slightly altered. Such systems are called chaotic. Over the years, mathematicians developed numerous techniques while trying to understand and analyze chaotic systems. As a consequence, not only we have quite a good insight of chaotic systems, the tools developed for this purpose enabled mathematicians to study many other complicated dynamical systems (modeling various physical phenomena) as well as to discover and study new type of dynamical systems. In this talk, I will develop some of these tools and concepts using simple examples and provide some interesting applications into fractal systems. The talk is accessible to anyone who has a basic understanding of linear algebra and properties of the real number system.

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Joel Iiams to Speak On Vanilla, Crunch, Separation Anxiety, and Survivors

Joel Iiams started his academic career at what was then Mesa State College. He then spent the next nine years at Colorado State University. He earned his PhD under the guidance of Robert A. Liebler. He has been a member of the mathematics department at UND since 1995. He is currently a full professor and chair of the department. He is a 25-year member of the Mathematical Association of America and is currently serving as President of the North Central Section.

ABSTRACT:The mathematics in this talk came about from a strange sequence of events. It began with a series of poker games I participated in while I was in graduate school. It so happens that that is where I met the boss, my wife. Next, I was repeatedly assigned to teach Math208 - Discrete Mathematics. Here I began to perfect the fine art of student torture - which most people call teaching. Finally, I had the dubious pleasure of playing poker with a particular electrical engineer. The moral of the story is: Be careful who you play poker with.

Invited Speakers

Place Photo Takayuki Yamauchi to Speak On "Comprehensive Rigorous Explanations of Unbounded Functions: from College Algebra to Real Analysis" and "Rigorous Descriptions of Sup and Inf using Only College Algebra"

Taka Yamauchi is currently a tenured assistant professor of mathematics at Valley City State University (since 2007). He studied mathematics and physics at Michigan Tech and U.C. Berkeley as an undergraduate, and earned M.A at Western Michigan University, M.S at Michigan Tech, M.A and Ph.D in Mathematics at Johns Hopkins in 1996. He then was a research associate at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering of Johns Hopkins, a research associate at Ryuka Patent Law Firm, a research associate at the Dept. of Computer Engineering of University of Delaware, a visiting assistant professor of mathematics at SUNY Oswego, an assistant professor of mathematics at DePauw University, and an assistant professor of mathematics at Lincoln University. He has publications in the mathematics of nuclear fusion, Lagrange Multiplier Rule in the context of continuous equi-measurable rearrangements of functions and optimization theory, and the constructability of constant mean curvature surfaces in hyperbolic 3-space. He has also been doing research in innovation-based teaching efficiency maximization methods. He has established a self-contained math teaching method that does not require students to read the text at all.

ABSTRACT: No text of College Algebra and Pre-calculus provides a comprehensive rigorous explanation of unbounded functions. In Calculus, Advanced Calculus, and Real Analysis, unbounded functions are usually defined abstractly without using tangible computational methods. In this presentation, using a simple example, the behavior of a rational function near a vertical asymptote is explained in a comprehensive manner that is understandable to students in College Algebra, Calculus, Advanced Calculus, and Real Analysis.

ABSTRACT: The supremum or infimum of a set of real numbers is normally introduced in Advanced Calculus or Real Analysis using rigorous abstract definitions. In this presentation, the concept of sup or inf of a set of real numbers is explained by regarding the set as a function of one variable using a concrete example within the framework of college algebra without losing the rigor of the abstract definitions.

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Preston Bush to Speak On Equations Involving Two Sets of Sums of Consecutive Squares

Preston Bush was born in Hastings, Nebraska. He received his bachelors of science in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He went on to complete his masters at Boston College and then earned his doctorate from Northeastern University. Dr. Bush has since held faculty positions at LaSalle College (now LaSalle University), College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, University of Dubuque, and is currently a professor and Mathematics Department Chair at Valley City State University. His hobbies include Go (an oriental board game), table tennis, and observational astronomy.

ABSTRACT: Two infinite collections of families, each family containing an infinite number of generations, each generation being an equation involving two sets of sums of consecutive squares, such as 10^2 + 11^2 + 12^2 = 13^2 + 14^2 or 2^2 + 3^2 + 6^2 = 7^2, will be considered. Although the quadratic formula provides solutions, to find integer solutions is a "needles in a haystack" situation (a countably infinite number of needles in an uncountably infinite haystack). A negation technique will get around this roadblock and provide the solutions iteratively. Going backwards on the iteration technique will give "generation 0" solutions that are immediately obvious, such as 0^2 + 1^2 =1^2, and throw light on the entire collection, great complexity being generated out of "trivial" equations and the iteration technique. This presentation is easily accessible to undergraduates, involving nothing more advanced than the quadratic formula and mod 3 and iteration.

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Dilip C. Ghimire to speak on Photovoltaic properties of a-C thin films deposited by microwave surface-wave plasma CVD

Dr. Dilip Chandra Ghimire received his PhD in electrical and electronics engineering at Chubu University, Japan where he completed his dissertation on Fabrication and Characterization of Carbon thin films for Clean Energy and Environment. He is a reviewer of the following journals: Materials Chemistry and Physics, International Journal of Physical Sciences, and Japanese Journal of applied physics. Dr. Ghimire has many published articles, presented several invited talks and conference presentations including at OU-BTCHURI a national Japanese conference. Currently he is a professor at Chubu University, Japan.

ABSTRACT: We report the photovoltaic properties of amorphous carbon (a-C) thin films by MW surface-wave plasma chemical vapor deposition (SWP-CVD) system at various temperature (<550 oC). This technique is noble for deposit carbon thin films without corroding ions on substrate, the properties of a-C thin films deposited by this technique have been reported elsewhere [1, 2]. For film deposition, we used argon (Ar) as a carrier gas, methane (CH4) and ethylene (C2H4), acetylene (C2H2) for carbon source gases and nitrogen ,phosphine, boron are used as a dopant gas for making n-type, i-type and p-type carbons. The optical and structural properties of a-C thin films were studied by ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy ( SEM), high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements.
Place Photo Fig. 1 shows the raman and HR-TEM image and Raman result of a-C films prepared at 550oC. It was found that graphene are found in the carbon films with increasing deposition temperature. The Raman results conforms the films are graphitic carbon. The surface I-V characteristics of the device shows good photovoltaic response with 4.0 % efficiency in n-Si substrate. Details of the experimental results and discussion will be presented during the conference presentation.

1. K. M. Krishna, M. Umeno, et. al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 1472 (2000).
2. Dilip. C. Ghimire M. Umeno, et. al. Diamond Relat. Mater. 17 (2008) pp.1724 -1727.

Place Photo Chad Haugen to speak on 1+1=2 and how you're connected to the galaxy.

I grew up and attended High School in Rugby, ND. After graduating I went on to North Dakota State University to pursue a career as a civil engineer, but after a year of study I wanted something more. I felt the need to work with and have an impact on the world around me. So, I then made the decision to pursue a degree in Mathematics and Math Education. After obtaining my undergraduate, I began working for Dakota Prairie High School out of Petersburg, ND, where I teach a number of the high school math courses.

ABSTRACT: 1 + 1 = 2. It is the basic building block of mathematics. Often, it’s the first math fact many of us learn in our life time. In my talk, we will discuss how this simple fact is used to build one of the most famous concepts in mathematics; the Fibonacci Sequence. We will learn how this sequence is prevalent in nearly everything. From the human body, to flowers, storm system, and even the shape of the galaxy.

Place Photo Sudhir Shrestha to speak on Emerging Field of Nanotechnology and Applied Mathematics.

Sudhir Shrestha received his Bachelor in Engineering degree in Electrical and Electronics from Kathmandu University, Nepal, in 2003 and the Ph.D. degree in Engineering with Micro/Nanoscale Systems Concentration from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute (INDI) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, IN. Since 2011, he is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department Electrical and Computer Engineering at IUPUI. His interests and expertise include smart wireless systems and nanotechnology. His current research focuses on developing smart wireless sensor systems for biomedical applications and paper-based electronics.

ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology is the study and utilization of unique phenomena observed at the length scale smaller than 100 nm. It is a truly interdisciplinary field that requires expertise within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Mathematical study and modeling of nanoscale materials, devices, and systems are critical aspects of nanotechnology. This talk will include introduction to nanotechnology, discussion on applied mathematics in nanotechnology, and a short review of my research efforts.

Place Photo Nate Speidel to speak on Mathematics for the Phobic - Learning Outside the Cube

Nate Speidel grew up in Hazen, North Dakota. He attended Bismack State College, Saint John's University (MN), and earned his Bachelor's degree in math education from the University of Mary. In 2010, he attended the Klingenstein Summer Institute through Columbia University and completed his master’s degree in Math Teaching through Minot State University. Nate is currently in his 7th year of teaching mathematics at Shiloh Christian High School. He also enjoys chess, travel, playing music, coaching hockey, reading, and longboarding.

ABSTRACT: Think of people you know who have at some point in their lives developed a passionate distaste for mathematics, even a phobia. As a high school math teacher, I've encountered this demographic in student, faculty, and parent form - some of whom are otherwise highly academic. Through my new assignment as our school’s Alternate Math Curriculum coordinator, I’ve begun to investigate relationship between the optimization of math rigor and the minimization of math hatred. Are these characteristics mutually exclusive to average (or below average) math students or can they coexist for all? What is our response as teachers and mathematicians to those who have already been turned off to mathematics? And what tangible implications do our responses pose in education and beyond? "Mathematics for the Phobic" will address, and invite conversation into, these critical questions and more.

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Narayan Thapa to speak on Undergraduate Training in STEM through Applied Inverse Problems

Narayan Thapa received his Bachelor and Master degree in Mathematics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 1997 and Master of Education, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma. Narayan’s research interest lies on Nonlinear Functional Analysis, Ordinary Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations, Mathematical Modeling and Parameter Estimation, Optimization, Inverse Problems and Nonlinear Dynamical Systems. Currently he is developing interdisciplinary research projects on applied inverse problems suitable to undergraduates. Currently he is serving as an Editor in Chief for Journal of Scientific Research and Report and Academic Editor for British Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science. Narayan published several papers and frequently presents in several mathematics conferences including Joint Mathematics Meetings and MathFest. Narayan is currently fifth year faculty at Minot State University.

ABSTRACT: Inverse problems are cross-disciplinary both within mathematics and across disciplines, including physical sciences, engineering, medicine, social sciences, business, and biology among others. In this talk, Thapa highlights powerful results, which we have been enjoying on regular basis, on inverse problems. In addition, Thapa will showcase a number of undergraduate friendly inverse problems which bring students of cross-disciplines to work together for a common goal.

Undergraduate Speakers

Place Photo Chloe Ondracek to speak on Inverse Problem for Projectiles

Chloe Ondracek is a junior mathematics major at Minot State University and a member of the undergraduate research team advised by Dr. Narayan Thapa. Chloe first took classes at MSU as a dual-credit student while still in high school. She began research with Dr. Thapa in the spring of 2013 and has since given several presentations at different conferences including at the national mathematics conferences Joint Mathematics Meeting (Baltimore, January 2013) and MathFest (Portland, August 2014). In fall 2013, Chloe was selected to present a poster at the Council on Undergraduate Research conference. Chloe was invited to participate in the Women and Mathematics Program at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton in the spring of 2014. Chloe has also received research fellowships from NASA through the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium.

ABSTRACT: In this project, we develop a model to launch a projectile by taking into account the drag on the projectile proportional to the velocity due to air resistance. A system of second order ordinary differential equations with initial values will be considered to model the motion of the projectile. Mathematical tools from the ordinary differential equations will be used to solve the system of differential equations. Least square estimation will be carried out to minimize the functional related with the sum of squared errors between predicted and observed data. MATLAB routine will be used to estimate parameters. This project was funded by the North Dakota Space Grant.

Place Photo Kowan O’Keefe to speak on Identification Problem in Pharmacokinetic Model for the Treatment of Type II Diabetes Mellitus Using Metformin

Kowan O’Keefe is a senior chemistry and mathematics major at Minot State University. He has been involved in undergraduate research in applied mathematics with Dr. Narayan Thapa since April 2013. After graduation, he plans to pursue a PhD in organic chemistry. Kowan is on the golf team at Minot State and last season was named to the NCAA Division II Academic All-America Team.

ABSTRACT: Type II Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder in which a person has highly elevated blood glucose levels resulting from bodily tissues being resistant to the insulin that is produced normally in the pancreas. Metformin is an anti-hyperglycemic drug that is widely used in the treatment of type II Diabetes Mellitus. Metformin works to reduce blood glucose levels by decreasing the rate of hepatic glucose output, decreasing the rate of intestinal glucose absorption, and increasing the rate of glucose uptake by muscle cells and fat tissue. In this work, an identification problem was investigated using an existing pharmacokinetic compartmental model for type II Diabetes Mellitus where the effects of oral administration of metformin are considered. From the model, a system of linear ordinary differential equations was constructed. The method used to determine the values of the rate constants involved using the Laplace transform to convert the system from the time (t) domain to the complex (s) domain, then solving for the analytical solutions in the complex domain. The analytical solutions were then converted back to the time domain using the inverse Laplace transform. MATLAB was used to generate data for the model, however it is designed to allow the testing of the model on real biological data. Based on our results we can conclude that the model does work to accurately find the numerical solutions to the values of the rate constants, even when we introduced small amounts of deviation in the MATLAB-generated data.

Place Photo Sam Olson to speak on Inverse Modeling Problems Facing Chemical Kineticss

Samuel Olson is a senior at Minot State University majoring in Professional Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology. He is currently working on research in the mathematics department with Dr.Thapa and in the chemistry department with Dr. Bobylev. He plans to go to graduate school for chemistry after he graduates in May.

ABSTRACT: Chemical Kinetics modeling problems are addressed by defining the problem, determining a mechanism for an example of gas absorption on a platinum surface, and looking at the resulting matrices. Using inverse modeling the equation can have its characteristics determined but cannot have an extremely stable or exact solution.

Place Photo Breanne Hatfield to speak on Parameter estimation of tumor growth model

Breanne Hatfield was born and raised in Manteca, California. She attended Minot State University on an athletic scholarship for womenÕs soccer. She has worked with Dr. Thapa extensively for two years on mathematical modeling of tumor growth. As a pre-medical student her majors include Mathematics, Biology, and Psychology.

ABSTRACT: In this paper we present a system of nonlinear partial differential equations that model avascular tumor growth. Our starting point is a single highly mutated cell that can be considered living or dead. As time passes we closely consider the quality of concentration it consumes. As a cell dies from lack of nutrient concentration there is a spontaneous volume loss, which creates movement. The subsequent cytoplasm of the dead cells presents a tumor with a necrotic core. Not only are the cells competing for nutrients with each other, they are also completing with the living healthy cells outside the tumor spheroid. A moving boundary is imposed. Numerical solutions are derived using finite difference and trapezium methods. Parameters are then estimated using data collected.

Place Photo Jordan Torgunrud to speak on Water Pollution Model

Jordan Torgunrud graduated from Estevan Comprehensive School in Estevan, Saskatchewan in 2013 at the top of her class. She is currently a sophomore at Minot State University, where she is studying chemistry and mathematics. Jordan received the Great Plains Exceptional Scholar Award and has been on the President's Honor Roll every semester.

ABSTRACT: Water is everywhere, and you may even say that it is the basis of life. However, as industry increases, pollution of fresh water sources is also increasing. In order to control pollution, we must first understand how the pollutants are moving through water system. I am using a partial differential equation and the mass balance law in order to map the concentration, flux, and increase or decrease in mass of a chemical pollutant by chemical reaction in an underground water system. I am solving the equation by use of non-dimensionalization, numerical solutions, and the application of Matlab software.

Place Photo Robert Wardrip to speak on Dijkstra’s Algorithm

Robert is originally from Mustang, Oklahoma, he currently resides in Minot, North Dakota. He spent ten years in the Air Force and is a senor computer science major at Minot State University.

ABSTRACT: Robert will go over Dijkstra’s Algorithm. He will cover what the algorithm does and its usefulness. He will go over the process of the algorithm and talk about its efficiency.

Place Photo Thomas Carraher to speak on Algorithm Analysis: Big O, Big Omega, and Big Theta.

Tom recently completed is undergraduate in computer science at Minot State University. He graduated high school in Minot, and returned to Minot after serving five years in the USMC. His hobbies include chess and the casual study of various areas in artificial intelligence.

ABSTRACT: Algorithm Analysis uses a variety of tools and techniques to provide information about how well a given algorithm performs. This presentation will focus on Big O, Big Omega, and Big Theta, which are useful in comparing the rates of growth of the computational complexities of algorithms.