Mathematics and Computer Science Seminars

The Mathematics and Computer Science Seminar topics range widely, but typically focus on original research, technical exposition, snapshots of working life, or teaching.

Seminar Schedule (2017 - 2018)

Seminar attendees are invited to gather at 15 minutes prior to the talk to partake of light refreshments and to socialize.

9/18, 2017

Honest Talk about Graduate School

Profs. America Chambers, Brian Rushton, Adam Smith, and Courtney Thatcher

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

4pm, Thompson 395

10/2, 2017

Infoblox: Mining for Malicious Activity in pDNS Big Data

Dan Dalton and Meghann Edwards


4pm, Thompson 395


Dan Dalton is Software Development Manager at InfoBlox. He graduated from University of Washington Tacoma with a BS in Computer Science, and worked for Intel Corporation for 11 years on their enterprise server processors and chipsets. Dan joined Infoblox in late 2016 in the Cyber Intelligence team, and is currently managing a Cyber Security Engineering team of 6, working on designing and building cloud based platforms for the curation, analysis and dissemination of Cyber Intelligence.

Meghann Edwards is Senior Corporate Recruiter at InfoBlox. She graduated from University of Puget Sound with BA in Business Administration in 2007 and joined Russell Investments as an intern in 2006, then worked for them for 11 years in HR. She spent 2 years in HR as a Generalist, then switched to Recruiting and have been in that field ever since. Meghann joined Infoblox in February of 2017 and recruit primarily for Engineering roles in Tacoma and Santa Clara

10/19, 2017

Thinking Outside the Xbox

Robbie Bach

Former President and Chief Xbox Officer, Microsoft

6:30pm, MC 103

10/25, 2017

CS Study Abroad in Budapest

Greg Borsa

Director of Student Services, AIT

12pm, TH 391

10/30, 2017

Interactive Fiction

Profs. Mike Spivey and Brian Rushton

University of Puget Sound

4pm, Thompson 395


Abstract: Interactive fiction (IF) is one of the oldest genres of computer games. In this talk we'll describe the evolution of this genre from the 1970s to today. Via several examples, some of which we will play during the talk, we'll use IF as a case study to examine how technology, development platforms, commercial pressures, and player expectations can change a computer game genre over time. At the end we'll look at a specific example of IF being used​ teach mathematics, as well as a close-up of Inform 7, a natural-language-based platform for creating IF. Throughout the talk we'll be exploring the dual nature of IF: a form of entertainment, but also a literary genre.

11/15, 2017

Break into Tech

Prof. Ian Gorton

Northeastern University, Seattle Campus

12pm - 1pm, Thompson 383


Interested in computer science, but don't have a technical or CS background? No problem! We are giving you a (free) opportunity to see first-hand what computer science is really all about. Get an understanding of the basics of computer science, and put your skills to the test. Scholarships available to qualifying applicants.


2/19, 2018

Eight Weeks of Zeckendorf Representations

Rachel Chaiser

Student, Mathematics and Computer Science

4pm, Thompson 395


The natural numbers exist regardless of our choice of representation. By convention, we use the sequence of powers of 10 to mark the positions of our representations. If we replace this sequence with the Fibonacci sequence, and add a special constraint, we obtain what are known as Zeckendorf representations. During an eight week summer REU at Seattle University, we discovered, through guided play, the effects of this replacement on both arithmetic and combinatorics. Our main result was developing an analog to Zeckendorf representations of a classical number theoretic result due to Kummer that relates the number of carries when adding the base-p representations of two numbers to the prime factorization of a certain binomial coefficient​. In this talk we present this result as part of the larger narrative of participating in an REU and performing undergraduate research, emphasizing combinatorial trees and arithmetical number triangles that became the primary focus of our research.​

3/26, 2018

Finding the Balance Between Guidance and Independence in Cybersecurity Exercises

Prof. Richard Weiss

The Evergreen State College

4pm, Thompson 395


In order to accomplish cyber security tasks, one needs to know how to analyze complex data and when and how to use a variety of tools. Many hands-on exercises for cybersecurity courses have been developed to teach these skills. There is a spectrum of ways that these exercises can be taught. On one end of the spectrum are prescriptive exercises, in which students follow step-by- step instructions to run scripted exploits perform penetration testing, do security audits, etc. On the other end of the spectrum are open-ended exercises and capture-the- flag activities, where little guidance is given on how to proceed.

This work reports on our experience with trying to find a balance between these extremes in the context of one of the suite of cybersecurity exercises that we have developed. The particular exercise that we present teaches students about dynamic analysis of binaries using strace. We have found that students are most successful in these exercises when they are given the right amount of prerequisite knowledge and guidance as well as some opportunity to find creative solutions. Our scenarios are specifically designed to develop analysis skills and the security mindset in students and to complement the theoretical aspects of the discipline and develop practical skills.