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Math Department Colloquium

The colloquium features recent research in the mathematical and statistical sciences. The colloquia are scheduled for Tuesdays from 4pm-5pm, unless noted otherwise. This semester all colloquia will be held virtually via Zoom. Please contact the organizer, Sam Coskey for the Zoom link or any other information.

Archive of past math department colloquium abstracts

Schedule for 2022–2023

Fall 2022

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 from 4-5pm

Speaker: Joe Champion, Boise State University

Title: A teacher-researcher alliance for improving mathematics learning

Abstract: In mathematics classes, students and teachers need to blend their different interests and goals to make the shared time together worthwhile. Classroom-based research adds an additional layer of challenges. Researchers focus on transferable knowledge of “what works”, while teachers are mostly focused on tuning their instruction to meet the needs of their students and schools. I’ll report on a teacher-researcher alliance that has brought together more than 100 teachers and researchers over the past 3 years around a collective effort to improve mathematics learning in grades 6-8. Findings include evidence from multiple data sources about effective instructional practices.

About the speaker: Joe Champion is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Boise State University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate mathematics and mathematics education courses, leads collaborative research and professional development projects, co-directs the IDoTeach STEM Education program, and directs Boise State’s Summer Academy summer enrichment programs. Dr. Champion’s research focuses on promoting literacy in mathematical and statistical modeling and problem solving.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 from 4-5pm

Speaker: Michal Kopera, Boise State University

Title: Modeling the Ocean: A Mathematician’s Perspective

Abstract: Ocean modeling is a discipline that is of practical importance to society. Thanks to ocean models, we can better understand our planet, its climate, and weather and predict the future development of many natural systems connected to the Earth’s oceans. It is also a discipline shared by many researchers, from climate scientists and oceanographers, predicting the fate of our planet through operational forecasters, predicting tomorrow’s weather, to mathematicians working on improving the equations and numerical methods being the models and predictions.

In this talk, I will share a perspective of one interested in the mathematics and numerics of ocean modeling yet who has a grand vision of their work being used by climate scientists and operational forecasters one day. I will talk about the high-order Galerkin methods, which promise accurate, flexible, and efficient next-generation ocean models. I will focus on two active projects. The first one is a high-resolution ocean model NUMO, which aims to resolve small-scale interactions of ice and ocean inside Greenland fjords and provide insights into the impact of this process on the melting of Greenland’s Ice Sheet and thus global sea level rise. The second is a global ocean model prototype, which is a contender for the next operational ocean model for the US Navy.

About the speaker: Michal Kopera earned a Phd in Engineering (Scientific Computing) from the University of Warwick, UK in 2011. He moved to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA as a National Research Council Postgraduate Fellow. He also held a Visiting Fellow position at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, UK, and was an Assistant Researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He joined Boise State University in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 from 4-5pm

Speaker: Donna Calhoun, Boise State University

Title: Adaptive mesh refinement for solving partial differential equations on logically Cartesian meshes

Abstract: One approach to numerically solving partial differential equations (PDEs) is to replace the continuous set of equations with a set of discrete equations defined on a computational mesh. With stable and accurate solvers, the solution to the discrete set of equations will approach the true solution as we increase the mesh resolution. Adaptive meshing is a software strategy for dynamically managing the mesh resolution so that in mesh regions where the solution is changing rapidly or the solution shows sharp features are computed at the highest levels of resolution. By dynamically managing computational mesh resources, solver performance can be dramatically increased. I will discuss mesh adaptivity in the context of the ForestClaw software (, a Cartesian grid based software platform I have developed for solving PDEs on a hierarchy of adaptively refined Cartesian meshes. I will discuss our recent progress on several solvers including elliptic solvers and solvers for 3d mapped grids. I will also present applications I am currently involved in, including tsunami modeling, smoke transport, and using the atmosphere as a sensor.

About the speaker: Donna Calhoun is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Boise State University. She earned a Master’s degree in Mathematics and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington, and subsequently held positions at NYU, UW, and the French Atomic Energy Commission.