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Student Research

A student works on a summer research project.
Some of our students are involved in conducting original mathematics research. Research projects vary in nature and scope; they often take place during the summer, and often carry significant amounts of financial support. In the past, students have participated in research that has led to presentations at conferences, and even publications in professional journals. Below are summaries of some of the most recent projects our students have worked on.

Real Time Bidding Optimization for Online Advertising

Research by Megan Davis

I participated in the Summer 2015 RIPS IPAM REU​ at UCLA. This REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) is founded on assigning industry-sponsored research projects for undergraduate students to complete by the end of the program. I worked with 3 other students from across the world and conducted research in the online advertising industry with respect to optimization algorithms. My team and I were able to come up with two different algorithms. At the end of the program, we were left with questions regarding clustering, algorithmic efficiency, and data mining techniques on different user aggregated data.​​

Unimodality via alternating gamma vectors

Research by Charles Brittenham, Andrew Carroll (faculty), T. Kyle Petersen (faculty) , and Connor Thomas

We attempted to find combinatorial proofs of unimodality for various number sets, namely the q-analogue of n!, the q-binomial coefficients, and integer partitions with distinct parts of size at most n. We proceeded by attempting to find a sign-reversing involution on the gamma-vector expansions for each of these polynomials to show that the entries of these vectors were nonnegative, and hence that the polynomials modeled by those gamma-vectors are unimodal. While we were able to show this for the q-analogue of n!, further refining of the involutions for the remaining two number sets is needed to give a complete proof of unimodality.

Published as: Unimodality via alternating gamma vectors, Electron. J. Combin. 23 (2016), no. 2, Paper 2.40, 22 pp.

Power Series for Up-Down Min-Max Permutations

Research by Fiacha Heneghan and T. Kyle Petersen (faculty)

Calculus and combinatorics overlap, in that power series can be used to study combinatorially defined sequences. In this project, we used exponential generating functions to study a curious refinement of the Euler numbers, which count the number of “up-down” permutations of length n.

Published in: Heneghan, Fiacha and Petersen, T. Kyle, "Power series for Up-Down Min-Max Permuations," College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 45, No. 2, March 2014, p.83-89.

Max-Min Up-Down Permutations

Research by Fiacha Heneghan and Ashley Silva

In this project, we studied a curious refinement of the Euler numbers, which count the number of "up-down" permutations of length n. Specifically, we defined two sequences of numbers that counted up-down permutations according to whether or not the digit 1 occurred before the digit n. Using combinatorial reasoning, we were able to discover generating functions for these sequences of integers. We then used the generating functions to investigate further properties of these sequences.

Published in: Heneghan, Fiacha and Sliva, Ashley (2013) "Max-Min Up-Down Permutations," DePaul Discoveries: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 1.

Enumerating Alternating Permutations with One Alternating Descent

Research by Stacey Wagner

In this project we introduced a new statistic for alternating permutations, called an alternating descent. We focused on alternating permutations with one alternating descent, and were able to enumerate these permutations by decomposing them into four sets.

Published in: Wagner, Stacey (2013) "Enumerating Alternating Permutations with One  Alternating Descent,"DePaul Discoveries: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 2.

A Generalization of Pascal's Triangle

Work by Eliya Gwetta, Adrian Pacurar, and Elizabeth Mai Smith

Combinatorics is a branch of mathematics interested in the study of finite, or countable, sets. In particular, Enumerative Combinatorics is an area interested in counting how many ways patterns are created, such as counting permutations and combinations. Brenti and Welker, authors of “The Veronese Construction for Formal Power Series and Graded Algebras,” seek an explanation for a combinatorial identity posed in their research. Using techniques practiced in this area of mathematics, we have discovered that certain numbers appearing in their identity hold properties similar to properties of the well-known binomial coefficients.

Published in: Gwetta, Eliya; Pacurar, Adrian; and Smith, Elizabeth Mai (2012) "A Generalization of Pascal’s Triangle," DePaul Discoveries: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 13.