This grant is to support the Oregon State University REU program in mathematics and theoretical computer science. The program will provide an eight-week intensive summer research experience to ten undergraduate students from around the country in the summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017. The research projects will be in mathematics and theoretical computer science, with a particular focus on number theory, probability, cryptography, and the study of algorithms. Faculty members from both the mathematics department and the school of electrical engineering and computer science will be mentoring projects each summer. The program is designed to provide a glimpse into the life of a research mathematician, and to provide support and guidance for students interested in careers in the mathematical sciences.
Students will work in groups of two or three on a research project supervised by a faculty mentor in mathematics or computer science. The projects are designed to be at the forefront of modern research in their respective areas, but also at a level which is reasonable to expect significant progress by undergraduates in eight weeks. They are crafted to gently guide students from a position of learning from their mentors, to a position of leadership in their projects. The students will learn to formulate a question, research and read the literature, make conjectures, get initial results, and modify the original problem to continue getting results. Faculty mentors will direct this process and help deal with any issues that may arise. The program will include presentations by participants, a colloquium series by local faculty, panel discussions on topics such as conducting research and applying to graduate school, and detailed publishing planning sessions. At the end of the program, participants submit a written report on their project and decide on a publishing plan with their mentors. After the program, participants are offered support to travel to meetings for the purpose of presenting their REU research.