Annual Meeting Has SIAM-SEAS in Jeopardy

May 9, 2001

Michael W. Berry

The 25th Annual Meeting of the SIAM SouthEastern Atlantic Section (SIAM-SEAS) was held March 16-17, 2001, at Coastal Carolina University, in Conway (near Myrtle Beach), South Carolina. Approximately 50 scholars representing 20 different colleges, universities, and corporations attended the meeting. Prashant Sansgiry of Coastal Carolina did a superb job organizing the meeting, which began at noon on Friday (March 16) and concluded in mid-afternoon on Saturday (March 17). All talks and events were held in the modern/spacious Wall College of Business Building at Coastal Carolina.

The program featured four invited speakers: Ronald E. Mickens of Clark Atlanta University ("Discrete Models of Periodic Diseases"), Hamparsum Bozdogan of the University of Tennessee ("Multivariate Regressions, Genetic Algorithms, and Informational Complexity: A Three-Way Hybrid"), Ronald M. Mathsen of North Dakota State University ("Factoring Linear Delta-Differential Operators and Oscillation of Neutral Delta-Differential Operators on Time Scales"), and Jim M. Cushing of the University of Arizona ("Nonlinear Phenomena in Population Dynamics: Models, Mathematical/Statistical Analyses, and Biological Experiments").

Another highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the best student paper awards, to Jo Hoffacker of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ("Green's Function and Eigenvalue Comparisons for Focal Boundary Value Problems on Time Scales") and Louis Ntasin of Clemson University ("Accurate Error Estimation in Adaptive Computation").

A new addition to the SIAM-SEAS meeting this year was a Jeopardy Contest* for undergraduate students (organized by the author). Thirteen undergraduate students majoring in mathematics, computer science, or electrical and computer engineering competed in this lively Saturday morning event. Representing Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, the Citadel, and the University of Tennessee, each team was required---in the spirit of the popular TV game show---to provide questions to answers about topics in calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and computer science.

This action-packed event involved two preliminary rounds of competition, with the preliminary winners meeting in a final round to decide first and second place. All rounds included "Daily Doubles" and a "Final Jeopardy" question. The preliminary round between the University of Tennessee and the Citadel was especially exciting as UT built a commanding lead in questions from the Computer Science and Linear Algebra categories. The five-member team from the Citadel, however, made an impressive comeback on questions from the Integral Calculus category.

As with the television show, incorrect questions to answers forced point deductions, and some responses (solutions to several computational problems) were submitted to a judge for verification. The teams used a buzzer system, on loan from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Tennessee, to signal responses and to determine control of the game. Special thanks to Mei-Qin Chen (Citadel), Martha Abell (Georgia Southern), and Chris Cox (Clemson) for their help with game organization, judging, and time keeping.

The final standings for the competition can be found in Table 1.

1st Place: Clemson---Clay Jenkins, Charles Swannack
2nd Place: The Citadel---Ryan Graham, Robert Harig, Chih-Kuo Lee, Yow-Chyun Lin, Ying-Jiun Wang
3rd Place: Tennessee---Nehal Parikh, James Perkins, Yiheng Yang
4th Place: Coastal Carolina---Jimmy Bailey, Margaret Leonard, Brian Richardson
Table 1. Final standings for four teams in the Jeopardy Contest.

Trophies were presented to each team, and SIAM provided $125 to each participating school to offset student travel costs.

The 26th Annual SIAM-SEAS Meeting (March 2002) will be hosted by Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Michael W. Berry, SIAM-SEAS president in 2001-02, is an associate professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee.

*Jeopardy is a trademark of Columbia/Tri-star.

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