Gloria Prothe
Department of Mathematics

Math majors receive first Math Undergraduate Research Awards

Thu, 12/12/2019

LAWRENCE — Four undergraduate mathematics majors at the University of Kansas are the first recipients of the Department of Mathematics Undergraduate Research Awards in Mathematics (MathUGRA). The students will receive $1,000 to support their respective research projects.

These awards are patterned after the university’s undergraduate research awards and are meant to support math majors pursuing original research under the guidance of a KU math faculty member. MathUGRAs are awarded to students conducting semester-long independent projects. The students must be enrolled full-time during the award period.

Recipients were selected on the merit of the applicant's proposal, the applicant's academic record and the recommendation of the faculty member who will serve as the recipient’s mentor. One student received an award for the fall 2019 semester, and three will conduct their projects in spring 2020.

These awards are made possible by generous donations from alumni and friends through KU Endowment.

Zachary Atkins, senior in mathematics and computer science, Lansing: “Towards Optimality of Domain Decomposition Methods for Eigenvalue Problems,” a research project to explore the ways for breaking a large problem into many subproblems which can be solved independently with the solutions combined to reconstruct a global solution. Faculty mentor: Agnieszka Miedlar, assistant professor of mathematics.

Yuan Feng, senior in mathematics and chemistry, Hebei, China: “The Application of Variable Length Markov Chain (VLMC) Model and Probabilistic Suffix Tree (PST) Model on Unemployment Rate Prediction and Categorization Genes,” a project that takes two approaches — a social science project to utilize the VLMC method to predict the future unemployment rates based on the unemployment history, and a biological science project to apply the probability suffix trees on the genes to categorize the genes into groups. Faculty mentor:  Zsolt Talata, associate professor of mathematics.

John (Jack) Johnston, senior in mathematics, economics and physics, Overland Park: “Initial-Boundary Value Problems for the Serre System,” a project on the unified transform method to analyze the linear component of the Serre system of water waves. Faculty mentor: Dionyssis Mantzavinos, assistant professor of mathematics.

Sagindyk Urazayev, sophomore in mathematics and computer science, Almaty, Kazakhstan: “Machine Learning in Data Assimilation Applications,” a research project to apply machine learning techniques to improve data assimilation procedures. Faculty mentor: Erik Van Vleck, professor of mathematics.

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