April 18, 2013

Computers and Disease Research

Presenting at Brown University

Students present research at national conference

Wentworth students Shayna Jackson, BSAM ’15, and Matthew Shakespeare, BSAM ’15, presented research at the Brown University Symposium for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences in March. They shared their work with professors, researchers, and students from around the country.

In addition to four professors, Jackson and Shakespeare were two of nine students that presented at the annual conference, which this year focused on the topic of “Math and Information.”

Jackson presented on the exploration of chaos theory and omega complexity, which assesses the global overall shape of a chaotic attractor (a set towards which a variable evolves over time). She is trying to figure out what can be done with omega complexity in computer programs.

Jackson was pleased with the exposure that the symposium provided.

“I think I got my name out there,” she said. “A lot of people were asking me questions and after the talk, other students came up to me and some of the professors congratulated me. It was exciting.”

 Shakespeare’s presentation focused on his research on glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer.

“What I’m aiming to do is study cancer through a mathematical perspective, specifically through various tools within chaos theory,” Shakespeare said.

He hopes his unique outlook will yield information that could potentially be used in the search for a cure to cancer.

“The goal of the research is to see if we can come up with any kind of new information to bring insight to cancer itself. The data assimilation process is specifically to help refine predictions, and then we’re trying to see if we can apply other chaos theory methods to it,” he said.

Both students have big plans for their research projects. Jackson is applying to other talks, such as the Polytechnic Summit –which will be hosted at Wentworth in June –to expand her network, while Shakespeare has set a personal goal of publishing research before the end of the summer.

“I think it’s really fascinating trying to figure out something new and push the boundaries of what we already know,” Shakespeare said.

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