These are listed in alphabetical order by last name of the lead student author (click “Older posts” to keep scrolling). You can use the search function to find a particular person, or look under “Project categories” to browse by discipline.
we present a novel max-flow min-cut based algorithm to solve the flow routing problem in the Software Defined Network Controller. Routing using traditional shortest path first algorithms often results in bottlenecks that cause performance degradation including higher energy use, reduced throughput, and increased slowdown. Our algorithm uses the max-flow min-cut algorithm to identify potential bottlenecks in order to avoid them in the flow routing decisions. Our simulations show that our max-flow min-cut based algorithm improves the network performance by minimizing the mean wait time by 15.1%, minimizing the mean slowdown by 6.1 %, minimizing the maximum completion time by 9.6 %, and maximize the mean throughput by 18.3 % compared to the Shortest Path algorithm. Explicitly considering congestion in determining routes, such as with our Max-Flow Min-Cut algorithm, is necessary to maximize performance.
Nada Alzaben Program: PhD in Computer Science Faculty mentor: Daniel Engels
co-authors: James McCormick (co-first author), Chanyang Park, Courtney Follit, Jesiska Lowe, Pia Vogel, and John Wise.
Abstract (click to view)
Multidrug resistance (MDR) describes the intrinsic or acquired resistance of cancers to diverse chemotherapeutics and is arguably one of most significant barriers to cancer treatment. As a mechanism of MDR, cancers commonly overexpress ATP-binding cassette transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp). P-gp harnesses the power of ATP hydrolysis to efflux cytotoxic compounds across the cell membrane. Inhibition of P-gp can re-sensitize cancers to chemotherapeutics, but many P-gp inhibitors are also transport substrates of P-gp. Consequently, high compound dosages can be required to inhibit P-gp, and this can result in toxic off-target effects. To identify potential P-gp inhibitors that are not transport substrates, we iteratively screened millions of compounds against dynamic P-gp targets using massive parallel docking experiments. Hits from computational screens were then subjected to QSAR and purchased for testing. Compounds were assessed for their ability to reverse MDR using two sets of paired, human cancer cell lines – two chemotherapy resistant, P-gp overexpressing lines, and two chemotherapy-sensitive, non-P-gp overexpressing lines. Compounds were then tested for inherent toxicity against a non-cancerous human cell line. Lastly, we determined if our putative inhibitors are P-gp substrates using LC-MS/MS intracellular accumulation assays. We report a global hit rate of 15%.
Lauren Ammerman Program: PhD in Biological Sciences Faculty mentor: John Wise
The purpose of our research project would be to categorically and spatially analyze the consumption patterns of US families in a way that can account for heterogeneity. Currently, there are a number of policy conclusions that are made based on observations of aggregate consumption. However, when looking at aggregate data, a significant amount of variation across the different categories of consumption is masked. Our project would serve to reveal this heterogeneity, such that one can see how consumption patterns vary by family characteristics, economic cycles, consumption shocks, and more. Essentially, our project consists of microeconomic data analysis, with the ultimate goal of making the basis of macroeconomic policies more robust and holistic.
As new technologies develop, we continue our search for ways that this technology can improve our world, and particularly our legal system. One rarely thought of system with room for improvement is that of intestate succession, the court's management of the estates of individuals who die without a will. Computational law, the implementation of the law through computer code, is emerging as a field that can solve a wide range of issues in the law, including in the estate planning field. In particular, smart contracts, programs that carry out agreements procedurally, can be used to make the process of intestate succession more efficient, affordable, and accessible for the heirs of an individual who dies without a will. This paper investigates the necessity, feasibility, and challenges associated with implementing computational intestate succession and argues that states should implement such technology. While the field of estate planning has been slow to accept technological solutions, the trend towards acceptance shows that computational solutions to long-standing problems may be accepted in the near future. To demonstrate the feasibility of computational intestate succession, this article concludes with a sample program for the smart contract written in Lexon, a natural language program.
Madison Arcemont Program: Juris Doctorate Faculty mentor: Carla Reyes
In this presentation we will present alternative formulations of stochastic market clearing problem which are based on different algebraic representations of non-anticipativity constraints of multistage stochastic programming. These formulations result in prices which have alternative interpretations under different power system settings. We will present these interpretations along with computational results for well known testbeds.
Saumya Sakitha Ariyarathne Program: PhD in Operations Research Faculty mentor: Harsha Gangammanavar
We present a model for the selection and scheduling of R&D projects with several phases.The initial model contains two main stages development and commercialization. The goal of this model is to maximize the net present value under constraints of scientists' availability and uncertain profit. This nonlinear mixed-integer model is NP-hard and not tractable for large-scale problem instances where we use adaptive robust model, Hence, we develop a strong Mixed Integer Programming model and a heuristic algorithm. Then, we show the performance of these algorithms in terms of running time and optimality gap in experiments.
Hedieh Ashrafi Program: PhD in Operations Research Faculty mentor: Aurelie Thiele
Co-authors: Eli Olinick, Ronald Rardin, Yuanyuan Dong, Andrew Yu
Abstract (click to view)
The triples formulation is a compact formulation of multicommodity network flow that provides a different representation of flow than the traditional, widely used node-arc and arc-path formulations. In the literature, the triples formulation has been applied successfully to the minimum cost multicommodity flow problem with piecewise linear cost functions in complete, undirected graphs, and the maximum concurrent flow problem. In this study we show that the triples formulation of a freight logistics application known as the backhaul profit maximization problem (BPMP) can be solved significantly faster than the existing model in the literature, which is based on the node-arc model. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of applying the triples formulation to the uncapacitated, single-commodity, fixed charge network flow problem.
Yulan Bai Program: PhD in Operations Research Faculty mentor: Eli Olinick
We sought to answer the question, "how do students define sense of belonging to their residential community?" To answer this question, we distributed a survey to 2,400 on-campus residents at a 4-year university win the southern United States and received a 38% (n = 920) response rate. 581 respondents supplied a definition. We followed an interpretive research paradigm, which views a phenomenon (sense of belonging to their residential community) through the meanings that people (residential students) attribute to it in a specific sociocultural context (residential community on a specific university campus). The responses produced three emergent themes: space and place, strengthening connections, and outcomes of belonging. We posit a student-grounded definition of residential sense of belonging. Our proposed definition and findings are written with university housing and residence life professionals, campus planners, facilities, and student affairs professionals in mind. This definition further defines what it means to belong to a residential community from the student's perspective, which may inform them on how to best enhance the student experience. Additionally, the findings from this study provide insight into how students experience belonging by an unchosen affiliation. This study adds to the growing understanding of sense of belonging in higher education.
Autumn Beck Majors: Business Management and Film and Media Studies; Minors: Chinese and Law and Legal Reasoning Faculty mentor: Dustin Grabsch
This study aims to examine the impact that online discussion activities, designed to encourage collaboration and question posing, have on students' understanding of statistical concepts in an undergraduate statistics course. The sample is composed of 82 undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory statistics course. Techniques were utilized to match students that participated in the online discussions to those that did not participate in the online discussions. The differences between pre and posttest grades on the LOCUS assessments were compared to determine if participation impacted student learning outcomes.
Rachael Becker Program: PhD in Education Faculty mentor: Tim Jacobbe
Co-authors: Steve Jiang, Dan Nguyen, Debabrata Saha, Michael Story, Casey Timmerman, Robert Timmerman, Yixun Xing
Abstract (click to view)
Dropout is a statistical problem which occurs when an experimental unit that one is taking serial measurements from becomes unavailable for further measurements, prior to the end of the study. One common instance of dropout is found in tumor growth experiments performed on animal subjects: some animals are sacrificed when they are in too much pain, or bad condition. Unlike traditional missing data problems in time series data, this issue poses unique statistical problems due to the fact that the resultant dropout process results in a monotonic missingness pattern: if we observe missingness at a time t, then we necessarily have missingness at all timepoints t* >t. We introduce a novel method for imputation of tumor volume counterfactuals: we build a multivariate growth curve with random effects as inspired by Heitjan, et al (1993), and apply Bayesian methods in order to acquire a random sample for each parameter, in concordence with the literature on multiple imputation. One can then leverage conditional distribution theory to acquire a complete dataset from each of the random posterior samples. We additionally supply an R package for ease of execution of our method.
Mary Lena Bleile Program: PhD in Biostatistics Faculty mentor: Daniel Heitjan
Previous research has linked poor relationship satisfaction with parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents of children with ASD, however, also have higher levels of Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) traits themselves—that is, they evidence subclinical levels of autism characteristics including communication difficulties, rigid personality traits, and emotional aloofness. Therefore, children’s ASD characteristics may not fully account for why these couples are at greater risk for marital discord. This study tested the extent to which BAP traits in parents of children with ASD, and discrepancy between partners in BAP, predicted their relationship satisfaction while controlling for their child’s ASD characteristics. Participants were 117 families with a child with ASD who were recruited to participate in a study about family dynamics. Couples completed questionnaires on their BAP traits, relationship satisfaction, and their child’s ASD characteristics. Husbands were higher in total BAP, aloofness, and pragmatic language. Husbands’ total BAP was associated with lower relationship satisfaction for husbands. Discrepancy between husbands and wives in total BAP and pragmatic language was associated with lower relationship satisfaction for husbands. These findings provide preliminary support for the relevance of partners’ discrepancy in BAP within romantic relationships.
Chelsea Carson Program: PhD in Clinical Psychology Faculty mentor: Chrystyna Kouros
An important feature of the memory system is the ability to forget, but aging is associated with declines in the ability to intentionally forget. Despite known cognitive deficits, sensitivity to affective manipulations are maintained in older age, for example, reward motivation can improve older adults' memory. Using a directed forgetting paradigm, we tested whether reward motivation could improve intentional forgetting in young and older adults. Participants were shown a sequence of words with instructions to remember (TBR) or forget (TBF) to earn a high ($.75) or low ($.01) reward. For older adults, there was no evidence that reward motivation improved cognitive control as high value reward anticipation did not improve directed forgetting. Instead, the findings are in line with hypotheses, that high value reward anticipation leads to better memory regardless of the TBR or TBF cue. Reward may bolster memory in an automatic fashion, overriding cognitive control of encoding processes.
Diane Chao Program: PhD in Psychology Faculty mentor: Holly Bowen
In early 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak made its way into the United States and began to rapidly breach all existing protocols for dealing with an infectious disease spreading within communities both locally and at large. As a result all academic institutions within the United States disbanded their campus and school communities so as to slow the spread of the novel virus. We modified a standard Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered (SEIR) compartmental model to examine the intertwined behaviors of both residential and community populations within university and college campuses, with a focus on Dallas' Southern Methodist University. The modified model contains a new quarantined/isolation category and an equilibrium between the susceptible and exposed categories, with a novel exposure function linking the two. Exposure rates for relevant spaces where students frequently flow through were predicted and calculated from official SMU databases and floor plans. These predictions may be used to propose disease-prevention strategies specific for college campuses.
Majors: BS Biochemistry & BBA General Business Faculty Mentor: Brandilyn Stigler
Club sports in metro areas are popular nowadays, however there are key concerns for organizers, which are reducing driving time due to teams commuting to facilities in different regions while keeping league divisions competitive. A three-step approach is adopted to solve this problem. Driving time data between each location is analyzed initially, and clubs are split into several groups accordingly. Teams are assigned to groups based on their location and ranking. And these two processes are merged in the end to find the best solution. From the result, this optimization model is able to arrange games in a way that not only shortens the travel time for players, but also maintains an acceptable level of competition.
Dazhuo Chen Program: PhD in Engineering Management Faculty Mentor: Eli Olinick
High-amplitude coherent structures have been observed in nonlinear wave systems as diverse as fluids, plasmas and optical waves in matter. We explore the interaction of disordered waves with coherent solitary waves in a nonintegrable version of the nonlinear Schrodinger equation. We show that statistical mechanics explains growth or decay of the coherent structures in detail.
Yuanting Chen Program: Ph.D. in Mathematics Faculty mentor: Benno Rumpf
Co-authors: Dustin Grabsch, Sheri Kunovich, Laura Bell, Hannah Webb, Ryan Leibowitz
Abstract (click to view)
This project seeks to understand the motivations of undergraduate students to pursue multiple majors. Utilizing a sequential, exploratory mixed-methods design, in phase one we will interview students who are currently pursuing multiple majors to determine themes in their expressed motivations. Following the development of themes, we will issue a brief survey instrument to undergraduate students with multiple majors to determine the prevalence of each motivation theme within the student body. Findings will aid undergraduate general education curriculum committees, academic departments, and higher education institution administrators.
Dedeepya Chinnam Majors: Business Analytics and Supply Chain Management Faculty mentor: Dustin Grabsch
Refugees resettled in the United States are expected to attain self-sufficiency (employment) as soon as possible, however they face numerous barriers to this goal. This research is the result of interviews with refugee serving staff and their perceptions of barriers to refugees achieving self-sufficiency.
Nusaiba Chowdhury Program: PhD in Anthropology Faculty mentor: Neely Myers
Co-authors: Alan Humason, Robert Kalescky, Marek Freindorf, and Elfi Kraka
Abstract (click to view)
For decades chemists have attempted to create a molecule with the longest covalent C-C bond possible. This has typically been done through steric effects or molecular strain. More recently the diamino-o-carborane analog, di-N,N-dimethylamino-o-carborane, has been observed to have a unusually long C-C bond which has been attributed to negative hyperconjugation effects (i.e.charge transfers). In our work we computationally analyzed the C-C bonds for a unique set of 53 molecules including clamped bonds, highly sterically strained complexes, electron deficient species, and the di-N,N-dimethylamino-o-carborane molecule in order to consider all routes for obtaining the longest C-C bond. We derive local vibrational stretching force constants for targeted C-C bonds to quantify the intrinsic strengths of these bonds. Our systematic study quantifies for the first time that whereas steric hindrance and/or strain definitely elongate a C-C bond, electronic effects can lead to even longer and weaker C-C bonds. Within our set of molecules the electron deficient ethane radical cation, in D3d symmetry, acquires the longest C-C bond with a length of 1.935 angstroms followed by di-N,N-dimethylamino-o-carborane with a bond length of 1.930 angstroms. However, the C-C bond in di-N,N-dimethylamino-o-carborane is the weakest compared the ethane radical cation; revealing that the longer bond is n
Alexis Delgado Program: PhD in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Faculty mentor: Elfi Kraka
The fields of nanoscale pattern formation and nanostructural engineering are still in their infancy (relative to many other scientific areas). Much research is still centered around identifying and quantifying the relevant nanoscale mechanisms responsible for experimentally-observed results, since the same physical forces operating at the nanoscale may look very different than at the macroscale. Here, we provide further results on a recently-identified candidate mechanism (swelling, or radiation damage) that could explain the observed angle-independent lack of nanostructuring in thin films amorphized at high energy. We present new analytical and numerical results, characterization of the mechanism in its full parameter space, and an unexpected, mathematically-interesting bifurcation.
Tyler Evans Program: PhD in Mathematics Faculty mentor: Scott Norris
In this study we examine two stages stochastic quadratic programming problems, where the second stage itself is a quadratic programming problem with linear constraints with uncertain right-hand sides. We develop the active-set strategy obtain a estimation for the second stage. This approximation is used to design a computationally gradient solution algorithm to solve stochastic quadratic programs. We will present the convergence and numerical analysis of the algorithm.
A Nanoscale Vacuum-Channel Transistor (NVCT) is a transistor based on field emission that the electron channel is a vacuum. These transistors are nanoscale versions of vacuum tubes. Because the channel is a vacuum, they can potentially be faster than traditional solid state transistors. Also, they can be expected to be less susceptible to harsh environments compare to the solid state transistors. However, they have shown instability over time and they require high vacuum to operate. This project on investigating the lifetime and instability of field emitters over time.
Reza Farsad Asadi Program: PhD in Electrical Engineering Faculty mentor: Bruce Gnade
Increasingly, BIPOC college students have utilized social media to share their experiences of racialized trauma while attending higher education institutions. Presenters outline a social media content analysis study of posts from #BlackAtSMU, highlighting themes that arose. Implications at the institutional level and future directions for this assessment methodology are discussed.
Student Affairs Undergraduate Research Team Mentor: Allison Kanny
Salesforce territory design is a process that most sales organizations labor over on an annual basis. Often business-to-business sales organizations align on geographic sales territories. Usually, this involves grouping sales units (geographic units) into larger geographic groups, called sales territories. This paper will explore how to create an optimal sales territory design that balances two fundamental constraints, equitability in the addressable market and geographic compactness. Equitability ensures that each salesperson has the same opportunity to sell and achieve sales quota. Compactness ensures that the sales territory includes sales units that are close to one another and, more specifically, adjacent to one another. This optimal territory design is then applied to a business-to-business sales organization.
Pete Furseth Program: PhD in Operations Research Faulty mentor: Eli Olinick
There is increasing interest in the radiation resistance of wide-bandgap semiconductor devices, both for power transistors and RF applications. Ga-based devices are especially interesting because they have shown high resistance to many different types of radiation and to many different doses. In general, the magnitude of the damage, as evidenced by the drain-to-source leakage depends on the linear energy transfer (LET) and drain-source voltage (𝑉_𝐷𝑆). In this project we are studying the effects of radiation on GaN-based devices, both experimentally and theoretically, to improve the understanding of the operation of such devices in different radiation environments.
Han Gao Program: PhD in Electrical Engineering Faculty mentor: Bruce Gnade
Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) among college students at predominantly white institutions (PWIs) is an issue of high concern. While higher education research has examined RBF concerning its prevalence, manifestations, and impact on various affective and academic outcomes, relatively few studies have sought to conceptualize this construct within an ecological systems model. This presentation presents findings that examine contributors to racial battle fatigue among Black undergraduate students in a nested environmental model. The study also sought to uncover how these relationships relate to student-level outcomes and how students utilize coping strategies to navigate these systems.
Student Affairs Undergraduate Research Team Mentor: Allison Kanny
Winner: Education: Ed.D. in Education Leadership (Graduate)
Abstract (click to view)
The role of the principal on the campus has shifted due to the significant workload of managing the school and the increased amount of accountability for teaching and learning. Through a solid vision and focused mission, the school's culture and student learning can achieve success. However, for a school principal to succeed in building the capacity of the teacher and reach the high expectations for student learning, a team of leaders must be in place. Developing an organization is not about delegating the work, but also about creating a team that is collaborative and able to work together through effective communication. While principals may struggle with the federal, state, and local accountability system, it is the success of the campus leadership team that establishes a focused mission for the day-to-day work impacting the teaching and learning for student success. For this reason, principals should look at distributed leadership and the focus of how to lead and inspire those who cross their path. In reviewing Bolden's (2011) synthesis of research on distributed leadership and how it can impact the leadership practice for educational leaders, I found it to be about the communication that takes place between the leaders and followers who are doing the work. The research sets a foundation for a distributed perspective for leading a school organization to success.