Lewis University Mathematics Majors Joe Drozek and Megan Vesta were honored with the ISMAA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards March 12-13 at the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America's annual conference. In addition to being nominated by their research faculty mentors, Drozek and Vesta submitted a paper and gave a talk at the ISMAA 2021 conference which was then judged by a committee. Drozek, senior mathematics major and president of the Lewis' Actuarial Science Club, conducted his research project, "Using Mathematical Models to Predict the Impact of the Coronavirus in the Chicagoland Area," under the mentorship of Dr. Brittany Stephenson, assistant professor of mathematics. Vesta, a sophomore double majoring in mathematics and computer science, conducted her research project, "A Markov Chain Model For Predicting College Baseball," under the mentorship of Dr. Amanda Harsy, associate professor and director of mathematics. Both students conducted the research as part of the 2020 Lewis University Dr. James Girard Summer Undergraduate Research Program.
At the 2021 Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America annual conference, Dr. Brittany Stephenson, assistant professor of mathematics, was honored with the 2021 ISMAA Early Career Teaching Award. "She has made a significant impact on the mathematics program at Lewis University. Her student-centered, engaging teaching style has helped make her a student favorite. She is energetic, innovative, engaging, student-focused, and willing to try new techniques and advance her teaching craft. She has had excellent success in implementing mastery-grading into her courses in addition to creating interesting modeling and application projects within a variety of her courses. All of these interesting approaches are especially impressive given that she has taught 12 unique courses and multiple independent studies during her three years at Lewis," Dr. Amanda Harsy, director of Mathematics commented. In addition to being a member of multiple university and college committees, Stephenson has served the greater mathematical community through a variety of activities including serving as a member of the Southwest Chicago Math Teachers' Circle, running student activities and workshops, and helping to judge undergraduate research projects at national mathematics conferences.
Lewis University's Cyber Defense Club participated in the 2021 Illinois Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The virtual event, held online because of the pandemic, featured teams from several higher education institutions across Illinois. Lewis has been participating in the event for the past several years and has always performed very well. The competition requires student teams to keep a variety of computing services running as a team of hackers try to bring them down. The Lewis team has been coached by Dr. Jason Perry, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Director of both our graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity programs. This year's team includes Lewis undergraduate students Jorge Campos, Andrew Milligan, Jocelyn Murray, Joseph Santay and Ryan Syed, and graduate student David Jercinovic. Special thanks to Joliet Junior College professor Stan Pieklo, who volunteered his entire Saturday as site supervisor for our team. Congratulations to our students for working so hard to prepare for this event and representing Lewis in their typically outstanding fashion.
A team of Lewis computer science and cybersecurity students competed on March 4 and 5, 2021, in the Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Competition. The event was held in Washington D.C. and online. An annual competition, this year's event hosted 33 teams from universities from across the United States. Cyber 9/12 engages students in scenarios in which the defense of the country is at stake due to a cyber attack. The students must address the problem from technical, diplomatic, public safety, and policy perspectives to be able to minimize the damage of the attack while keeping citizens safe and calm and building international pressure to keep international peace and deter such problems in the future. The Lewis team consisted of Jocelyn Murray (Junior, Cybersecurity), Andrew Milligan (Junior, Business Administration), Ryan Syed (Junior, Computer Science and Mathematics), and Aiden Fifer (Senior, Computer Science). As they have in previous years, the Lewis team performed very competitively, making it to the semifinals and scoring an Honorable Mention for Social Media Engagement. The Department is very proud of these creative cybersecurity specialists for representing Lewis so admirably. Our future national cybersecurity is in good hands.
Iewis University Junior Mathematics Major Lauren Gernes was accepted into the Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) in Singapore. This Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates is part of a collaboration with the Institute for Mathematical Sciences (IMS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS). U.S. students will work on cross-cultural teams with NUS students on three projects, each sponsored by a company based in the region. The student team, with support from their academic mentor and industry mentor, will research the problem and present their results, both orally and in writing, at the end of the program. Congratulations to Lauren for being accepted into this prestigious REU!
In January, five Lewis students and three faculty presented at the 2020 Joint Mathematics Meeting in Denver, Colorado. All five students presented at the Undergraduate Poster Session. Freshman mathematics major, Miles Mena, presented, “Graph Theoretical Design Strategies for Modeling Self Assembling DNA Complexes.” Paul Buldak, a junior double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, and senior Data Science Major, James Sparks, co-presented, “Graph Theoretical Modeling of Fan Graphs in Self-Assembling DNA.” Their research was supported by the Dr. James Girard Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program and Lewis’ Doherty Grant. Junior mathematics major, Lauren Gernes, presented, “The Probability of Easily Approximating the Positive Real Roots of Trinomials.” This presentation outlined the results of her research done this summer at a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Texas A&M. Senior mathematics and computer science major, Eric Redmon, presented “Optimal Tilings of Self-Assembling Bipartite Graphs,” research supported by Lewis’ Doherty Grant. Miles, Paul, James, and Eric also joined Dr. Amanda Harsy and Dr. Cory Johnson of California State University San Bernardino in presenting, “Using Graph Theoretical Designs of Self Assembling DNA to Motivate Undergraduate Research” as part of the invited paper session at the AMS Session on Research in Graph Theory and combinatorics by REUF Alumni and Their Students.
Senior Computer Science major Nadia Beidas writes weekly about the goings-on in the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences. Her in-depth articles vividly describe the great things our students and faculty are doing. Please check out her great work and learn about what makes Math, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, and Information Technology special at Lewis University.
The CaMS Study Tables provide tutoring services in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Computer Engineering throughout the week. The CaMS Study Tables operate from Room AS107S. For Spring 2020, the hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 12pm - 5pm, and Friday 12pm - 3pm. Please visit the CaMS Study Tables when you need help with a course.
Spring 2020 graduating Computer Science Major Jan O'Hara has been awarded Lewis University's De La Salle Medallion for Excellence in Justice Advocacy. Jan, who also works as a computer science intern at Christian Brothers Services and received the Br. William Walz Scholarship for his outstanding mix of scholarship and Lasallian volunteerism, had this to say about his award: "It means a lot to me that the effort and work I've been doing over the past couple years has been recognized. I've learned so much about the various social justice issues that are present not only in this country, but throughout the world. I really do believe that I've spent a good amount of my time at Lewis advocating for change and awareness, so receiving the De La Salle Medallion for Excellence in Justice Advocacy is a really humbling affirmation of that belief. However, I would not be in this position to receive this honor without the help of the various staff, faculty, peers, and strangers that have opened my eyes to these issues. I've encountered so many great and hardworking people as I've learned more and more about social justice, and honestly this award is for them as much as it is for me." Congratulations to Jan for this wonderful accomplishment!
Several students participated virtually in the 2020 Lewis University Datathon on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The event, which was sponsored by Lewis University's Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (DataSAIL) with a generous financial contribution from the Lewis University Innovation Hub, was organized by Dr. Piotr Szcurek, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of Lewis's graduate and undergraduate programs in Data Science. This year's problem challenged students to develop models that could accurately predict the spread of Covid-19 through a population. The winning models fit the data and were able to predict the spread with between 92% and 94% accuracy. First place went to Christina Morgenstern, Piotr Warchol, and Sheila Lesiak, second place went to Jason Huggy, and third place went to Seth Gory. The 24-hour event was highly competitive, and the accuracy rates of the models the teams produced were extremely impressive. Much thanks to Dr. Szczurek for all the effort he put into organizing the competition, to the Lewis University Innovation Hub for its generous sponsorship, and to all the students who participated. The DataSAIL group will have a wrap-up meeting this coming Friday, May 1, at 3pm, at which time the winners will discuss the approaches they took to build such accurate models.
Several CaMS students represented Lewis at the annual ACCA Programming Competition on February 22, 2020. The students included Sebastian Bigos, Ryan Corrigan, Hector Dondiego, Lauren Gernes, Mackenzie Maierhofer, Frank Martinez, William Pulkownik, and Rackesh Ragoo. The team was coached by Dr. Piotr Szczurek, who has been moderating this student team for several years now. The students worked for nearly six hours to solve a variety of programming problems. The eight programming problems were more like Mathematical puzzles than lengthy software projects, which meant that they challenged the students to use logic and mathematical intuition, not just programming prowess, to solve them. This year, our Novice Team took home the fifth-place prize. Congratulations and thanks to the students and Dr. Szczurek for sharing their talents and time.
Students Bryan Gabe, Kritika Goyal, Arick Hauschild, Zachary Offerman, George Pappas, Neel Patel, Brennan Price, and William Pulkownik represented Lewis at the annual State of Illinois Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which was held on Saturday, February 15 at Moraine Valley Community College. Most of the students had never participated in a cyber competition before, but they managed to get all their IT services up and running and did very well fending off red-team attacks during the day-long competition. "Lots of new faces on the team - very exciting," observed Dr. Jason Perry, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and faculty mentor to the club. Congratulations to all the students, and thank you for representing Lewis University.
Members of the Lewis University Cyber Defense Club participated in the National Cyber Defense Competition at Iowa State University on February 8, 2020. The students who participated were Jorge Campos, Matthew Clavelli, Diana De La Vega Zarco, David Mendez, Jocelyn Murray, Zach Offerman, Rackesh Ragoo, and Puneet Singh. The group prepared for the competition for several weeks and did well in protecting the systems and services they set up at the event. The Cyber Defense Club has over 30 members now and meets weekly on Thursdays and Fridays at 3pm in AS101S, as well as at additional times as competitions nears. It is student-driven. With grad student Ryan Meeker serving as group leader and Dr. Jason Perry serving as faculty adviser, the group chooses what it wants to learn, how to split up the tasks, how to set up experiments, and how to share what they learn. The group will compete in a few more competitions during the rest of the Spring. Congratulations to these eight students for participating in the cyber defense competition.
Several Computer Science / Data Science students participated in the first annual ACCA Data Science competition. The event, which was co-created by Dr. Piotr Sczurek, Director of our undergraduate and graduate Data Science programs, celebrates the increased importance of Data Science as a distinct academic field. The participants - Karolis Abrutis, Thomas Chaidez, Dayne Hultman, Rajashree Kodithyala, and Frank Martinez - took home second place! Special thanks to Dr. Szczurek for training the team and for coming up with this great new event, which highlights the increasing importance of Data Science as a separtae field of study that combines computer science and mathematics in a fascinating quest to unravel the mysteries held within large data sets. Dr. Szczurek oversees our DataSAIL (Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) group, which meets on Fridays at 3pm in AS106A, and many of the students learned the tools they used in the competition by participating in that group. If you are interested in learning more about Data Science, these 3pm Data Sail sessions are great opportunities for you to do so.
Students David Mendez, Andrew Milligan, Jocelyn Murray, and Puneet Singh competed in the Cyber 9/12 competition at Columbia University in New York City. The competition presents students with a hypothetical state-sponsored cyber attack. They have to craft a response that addresses technical, political, and diplomatic concerns. The Lewis team made the semifinals and ended up ranking in the top 15 in this very high-profile national competition. Special thanks to these students and to Rackesh Ragoo, who also trained with the group, for all the hours they put in to preparing for the competition. Thanks also to Political Science professors Dr. Laurette Liesen and Dr. Steve Nawara for teaching the team the basics of statecraft. Incredible gratitude to Prof. Matt Kwiatkowski, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at Argonne and adjunct instructor at Lewis, for mentoring the team and accompanying them to New York City. Finally, a big thank you to Lewis alumnus Scott Likens for funding the team's travel to the competition. Without his support, we wouldn't have been able to compete. Read more
SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, and it is the technology that powers automation, including on the power grid. SCADA equipment communicate with each other over computer networks just as our laptops and desktop computers do, although they often use different communication protocols such as DNP3 or GOOSE. Because they communicate in packets over networks, they are susceptible to many of the same kinds of cyber attacks our computers are. Unfortunately, when these devices that power mission-critical systems are compromised, the consequences are much more dire. Figuring out how best to secure such devices against attack is an extremely important research concern. Thanks to a partnership with power grid equipment manufacturer G&W Electric this semester, two CaMS graduate students, Cory Lang and Adam DeRoss, were able to study the cybersecurity of typical grid components such as relays in a direct, hands-on way. Cory and Adam intercepted communication packets between relays and experimented with injecting packets into the communication stream to cause the devices to malfunction. They were able to demonstrate the concept of how a hacker could disrupt the normal operation of the grid. G&W personnel were very helpful as Cory and Adam pursued this work. Cory and Adam presented their work to a team of G&W engineers on Monday, May 6, 2019, and were greeted with much interest and questions that point the way to future work. We plan to continue this project in future semesters and further develop a research program in SCADA security.
Freshman Aviation Major Fabian Bartos designed and built a 3D-printed electric cello, the first performance-ready instrument of its kind. Fabian presented it to the Lewis community on April 11 at Lewis's annual Celebration of Scholarship. Then, on April 29, visiting musician JY Ju Young Lee of Warp Trio played it and was so impressed with it that he urged other musicians to check out Fabian's work. We in the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences have been lucky enough to know about Fabian's amazing work for a while now, as he built it in the Maker Lab, Room AS-107-S. Senior Computer Engineering / Computer Science double major Ethan Blatti, who oversees the Maker Lab, worked with Fabian to help him get the best prints and apply finishing techniques that helped create such a high-quality instrument. Fabian might be spending a lot of time in the Maker Lab this summer making another copy of the cello for an interested musician. We are so excited to see what Fabian builds next.
One of the tremendous benefits of his work is that it gives us in CaMS the opportunity to work with other disciplines, including Dr. Mike McFerron in Music, who has been extremely supportive of and impressed by Fabian's work. When you offer big- school opportunities in a small-school setting, these kinds of stunning examples of inspired innovation sometimes just natually come to the fore.
Congratulations to Fabian on his outstanding work.
Several students competed in the Annual Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences Datathon Competition. Created by Dr. Piotr Szczurek and organized by Dr. Szczurek and Dr. Jason Perry, the competition gives students a chance to explore huge data sets to solve a real-world problem. This year, the competition was held on the Kaggle platform for the first time, which enabled us to host the competition for both on-campus and online participants and to score the teams' performance easily using a published scoring metric. Teams developed a model that was used to predict how likely it was that someone who applied to Lewis University would eventually decide to become a Lewis student. The winning team of Sean Carrington, Zach Cope, David Hulzinga, and Karthik Mariyappan, developed a model that proved remarkably effective at making this prediction. Jason Huggy placed second, a team consisting of Jack Jones, Sheilia Lesiak, and Kevin Skulski placed third, and Patrick Tran placed fourth. All of them developed a model that fared significantly better than a coin-toss would at predicting which Lewis applicants were likely to attend the university. That means that all of them could help our Enrollment Management team decide how to improve the ways they market what the University offers to prospective students. Congratulations to everyone who participated, and tremendous thanks to Dr. Szczurek and Dr. Perry for all the hours they spent designing and deploying this competition.
Several Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences (CaMS) students were recognized for outstanding academic achievement at the College of Arts and Sciences 2018-2019 Senior Honors Awards, which was held on April 24. Students who have earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher were eligible to receive the award. Honorees from CaMS include Nicholas Biegel, Ethan Blatti, Anthony Borowczyk, Daniel Budziak, Christina Carlson, Bryon Czaja, Alexander Del Valle, James Dimer, Almae Escalada, Karl Ferraren, Kevin Gannon, Mariusz Gil, Marissa Henkel, Catherine Jasionowski, Alexander Jonic, Lauren Klamerus, John Laschober, Daniel Mauer, Carley Maupin, Nicholas Murphy, Daniel Palaczyk, Matthew Ratajczyk, Robert Rigler, Adrian Siwy, Chandler Stimpert, Nicolas Soto, Robert Streit, Robert Szudarski, and Bryan Wendt. Ethan Blatti won the Departmental Award for Computer Engineering, James Dimer and John Laschober won the Departmental Award for Computer Science, and Catherine Jasionowski and Carley Maupin won the Departmental Award for Mathematics. Br. Tom Dupre, Dr. Amanda Harsy, Dr. Michael Lewis, and Dr. Gina Martinez presented the awards. Congratulations to all awardees on your impressive achievements. Thank you for your outstanding effort.
Welcome to the home page of Lewis University Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences(CaMS). These are exciting times to be a Math or Computer Science major, particularly at Lewis. Every day, new technologies are being developed that were created by computer scientists like our students. Some of these technologies may fundamentally change how we work, play, and communicate. And all of these technologies function based on the laws of math. Few other majors can boast the opportunity to transform the world the way Computer Science can, and few other majors enable you to understand those transformative forces the way Mathematics can. At Lewis, we are looking for ways to bring that potential to fruition, preparing students to be tomorrow's computer innovators and problem solvers.