Associate Professor of Mathematics, Steven Miller was awarded $135,610 for his grant DMS-1265673, RUI: Low-Lying Zeros of L-functions & Problems in Additive
Number Theory. August, 2013
This grant will fund investigations by Professor Miller and his students on zeros of L-functions, problems in additive and combinatorial number theory, and probability. The central questions involve studying how events are distributed in diverse systems, such as energy levels of heavy nuclei, prime numbers and zeros of L-functions, leading digits in sets of data, and summands in generalized Zeckendorf decompositions. Similar to the Central Limit Theorem, there seem to be a few universal spacing laws that govern these and other phenomena; thus studies in one of these topics can frequently provide useful insights in the others. Understanding these systems requires the development of tools and techniques in complex analysis, Fourier analysis, number theory and probability. Some of the projects have real world applications; for example, the IRS uses Benford’s law to locate corporate tax fraud. Miller will also continue his extensive work in math education, in particular working with his students to expand his math riddles page (http://mathriddles.williams.edu/). This site is frequently one of the top hits when searching for math riddles, and is used in junior high and high schools around the world to excite students about mathematics.
David Tucker-Smith was awarded $135k from National Science Foundation’s program Elemenary Particle Theory in August, 2012.
This award funds the research activities of Professor David Tucker-Smith at Williams College.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has already made enormous progress pushing forward the high energy frontier. During the coming years, the LHC will continue to probe some of the deepest mysteries in particle physics, including the origin of elementary particle masses and the nature of dark matter. In his research, Professor Tucker-Smith studies extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics, with an emphasis on understanding how these theories can be tested at the LHC. As part of this project, Professor Tucker-Smith will study models that address a surprising experimental development from the Tevatron at Fermilab — measurements of an anomalously large forward-backward asymmetry in top-antitop production. He will also study the LHC phenomenology of theories with a particular type of new force carrier, theories incorporating new ideas for dark matter, and theories in which the Higgs sector, the part of the model responsible for generating the masses of the elementary particles, differs from that of the Standard Model.
This project will also have signficant broader impacts. Undergraduate involvement is a central part of the Professor Tucker-Smith’s research program. Students will have the opportunity to engage in particle physics research, and through their work they will learn important ideas, methods, and results relating to particle phenomenology and to theoretical physics in general.
Jeannie Albrecht receives 67K for NSF Workshop: Designing Tools and Curricula for Undergraduate Courses in Distributed Systems through the Special Projects – CISE, May 2012
Williams College proposes to organize a workshop that focuses on developing and disseminating new tools and curricula for undergraduate courses in distributed systems and computer networks that leverage the resources available in publicly-accessible testbeds. Given the ubiquity of distributed systems, it is imperative that undergraduate computing education properly address their design and implementation. A key challenge today in teaching distributed systems at the college-level is providing students access to computing and networking resources distributed across the country and world. Educators have an opportunity to fill this gap using a variety of publicly-accessible testbed and cloud platforms now emerging in academia and industry. The 20-30 workshop attendees will come from a variety of institutions, including research universities, liberal arts colleges, and industry. The goal of the workshop is to identify a set of teaching materials that may be used at a broad cross-section of colleges and universities to provide undergraduates with the necessary background and motivation to become involved in systems research. The workshop will result in a report that details the participants’ findings, as well as a website that aggregates the relevant educational material.
Structural Geology and Tectonics Forum
This award will support the second biannual Structural Geology and Tectonics Forum, which will be held in June, 2012, at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The forum will bring together specialists in structural geology and tectonics for oral and poster presentations, fieldtrips, short courses, and workshops for a total of seven days. The three days of presentations will include six sessions, one of which will focus on education. Each session will highlight an important area of current research and/or education, will be anchored by a distinguished keynote speaker, and will showcase relevance of work on the topic. Poster sessions with abundant time for full participant interaction will accompany each session. The forum will be organized to maximize the exchange of ideas between participants in open discussions. Sessions will provide ample opportunity to ask questions of individual presenters, assess the current state of our knowledge, and consider productive areas for future research.
Stephen Freund awarded $135,000 NSF grant, Division of Computer and Communication Foundations – July 2011
SHF: Small: Collaborative Research and RUI: Static and Dynamic Analysis for Cooperative Concurrency
The widespread adoption of multicore processors requires multithreaded software to exploit these hardware resources. Unfortunately, the construction and validation of reliable concurrent software currently
requires extraordinary effort, due to unanticipated interactions between concurrent threads. Thus, developing better programming techniques and tools for concurrent programming is essential. This research develops a cooperative programming methodology for multithreaded software, based on the philosophy that all thread interference must be explicitly documented via source-level “yield” annotations by the programmer.
Collaborative Research: Chemistry Coalitions, Workshops and Communities of Scholars
The goal of this project is to create a series of topical and sustainable Faculty Learning Communities. The project will make use of many components developed by the previous Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences NSF-CCLI project. Based, in part, on a series of 45 workshops held at 25 consortium institutions, the project is providing faculty members with numerous opportunities to take leadership roles and to develop mentoring partnerships and collaborations. The workshops provide participants with high quality curricular materials to enhance their own teaching and to equip them to become active in extensive post-workshop activities. Participants are engaged as presenters of new workshops, mini-workshops and outreach activities, and as developers/moderators of topical community websites using a common web infrastructure. The project includes mini-grants to support faculty members in curriculum revision and outreach. A multifaceted evaluation program provides formative and summative assessments that extend to the individual student learning level, and allow the overall project to respond to the needs of individual participants within the developing communities in order to ensure the development, sharing and adoption of educational products at a broad set of institutions.
Jay Pasachoff earns $158,200 grant from the NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences – February 2011
Optical and Radio Uniquely High-Resolution Eclipse Coronal Studies
Professor Pasachoff plans to observe two solar eclipses in 2012 that will occur over the USA and Australia. For the 20 May 2012 annular solar eclipse over the western USA, he plans to map long wavelength active-region radio emission at 91 centimeter and other wavelengths. For the 13 November 2012 total solar eclipse over Australia, he intends to make optical spectrographic observations of the white-light, green-line, and red-line corona and to work with highly processed images to bring out detail and contrast. These processed images promise to improve measurements of the lifetimes and motions of coronal plumes and other coronal features.