Day 17 and 18: SNCURCS – State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium

So I didn’t post yesterday because I was travelling. I was at SNCURCS this weekend (apparently it is pronounced “snickers”, which was news to me) to present some work that I did at my REU last summer. I was pretty nervous because I thought that I didn’t remember the work very well since its been a while since last summer.

As it turned out, the talk went fairly well, even though I had to speed through my slides and risk losing people due to the time constraints. I also realized that \today in LaTeX does in fact print the current date, but only at the last time you compile it. So it ended up the date on my slides showed up as the day before, but no big deal. The group of people that I was presenting with also did graph theory related projects, so I thought that was pretty cool. I saw an interesting presentation  about quantifying and mapping not only our social networks, but also our “meta-network”, which includes shared knowledge and the like. Network science sounds like pretty interesting stuff after hearing him talk about it.

My problem that I presented on was based on a variation of the game Nim but played on mathematical graphs. Instead of removing tokens from a pile we can remove a number of edges connected to a single vertex in the graph. The player that removes the last edge is the winner. We used these rules to analyze and determine the Sprague-Grundy number, or nimber of different states in the game and different types of graphs. I’m planning to do a whole post on this one of these days.

A side note: I’m realizing that this post-every-day schedule has led to some good ideas and writing experience but also has led to (in my opinion) a drop in quality. It was a learning experience for sure, but I’m not going to push myself to get out a post every day for the rest of the month I think. I have graduate school applications and school and work that I need to attend to. I’ll still be posting, I’ll just save up until I have a few good ones. Thanks for reading!

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Day 16: Research Things

Tomorrow I’m giving a talk about my research. I’m cozied up in my hotel room, and ready for a good sleep and hot breakfast in the morning if we’re being honest. It wasn’t a bad drive down here (3 hours), but I felt like I was racing the sun the whole way, because I was arriving just as it had gotten dark. Nature always wins.

Things haven’t been going too well personally, but giving this presentation tomorrow will be good research experience. It’s called Champion Spiders in the Game of Graph Nim, and involves a modification of a classic game to give it a graph theory bent. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll talk about it in more detail.

Return of the Blarg!

I know it’s been quite a while, but life happened and I got lazy about this blog. But I have returned, and have a new set of things to talk about. I’m now in Week 4 of my Clemson REU, and although its been stressful, its been good fun as well.

I’ve made some more progress with the “Fibonacci Squares”  problem, which I will elaborate on in a further post. In addition, I’ll post an overview of the problem I’ve been focusing on here at the REU. Finally, I gave a short talk on Introduction to P and NP today and I’ll be posting that here as well.

The maths shall return! Stay tuned…

Where all the magic happens…

Clemson REU – Day 1 and 2

Well, it has begun! I took about a 4 hour drive down to Clemson on Sunday and now I’m here, neck-deep in math. The campus is really pretty, although it is quite spread out. The building I’ve been walking to every day is 3/4 mile, and its not even half way across campus.

The people seem pretty friendly, although almost all are more experienced in mathematics than I am. However, I guess that is to be expected. I’m the only non math major, but I was surprised to find that I was able to find some people that I could still talk about computer science about. I did help my roommate install Sage (the math program we’re using) on her computer, so that was something useful I was able to do.

Since I am one of two people that have cars available, I’ve been doing a bit of chaffeuring. Of course everyone wants to go to Walmart to get groceries and other supplies.

The math has been pretty difficult so far, and this is just the beginning! I’m hoping that I get the hang of it before long. Lots of abstract algebra today, glad I brought my Dover book on Abstract Algebra along.

The daily schedule has been going like this:

  • 9am-12pm : Lectures by the professors
  • 12pm-1pm : Lunch
  • 1pm – 5pm : Work on exercises/problems

After 5pm we usually leave and go eat dinner or something. I’ve taken people to Walmart both evenings so far. I still haven’t unpacked my room very much, having your brain explode with math sure can be tiring.

We’re going over proposed problems this week with each of the professors, and then starting next week and for the rest of the REU we will be choosing a group to work with (2 other people, a professor and ourselves)  and a problem to do research on. I figure its sort of okay that I don’t completely understand everything yet. I can save that for when I need to do the detailed research on one specific problem. I hope I get a good group. I don’t really know what problem I want to do yet, I haven’t understood any of them too well yet, but maybe tomorrow I will find one that I click with.

Stay tuned for some photos, that I will try to take in the next few days. Hello Clemson!

It’s about that time…

Well, I finished up my school exams and such today. I am a free woman! Until the 20th, that is. I’ll be heading to Clemson for this REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates):

http://www.math.clemson.edu/~kevja/REU/

I’m pretty excited about it, but at the same time intimidated. I feel like everyone else that is attending will be smarter than me, and I’m worried about trying to fit in and keep up with everyone. But I suppose these worries are natural, and it will all fall into place when I get down there. And I’ll be posting about my doings here for all to see. Having real research experience is going to be great!

Stay tuned for the mathy goodness…I gotta go learn Python, LaTeX, and all the maths. 🙂