Archived News 2016

Mathematics faculty Eva Thanheiser was recently elected as a board member for AMTE (Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators). She was also elected as a steering committee member for PME-NA (Psychology of Mathematics Education - North America).

Noah Walton, undergraduate math major, won first place at the Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium for his poster, "Cycles in Functional Graphs of Polynomials." This project was based on joint work with Erin Tannenbaum and Elisa Bella, and was supervised by Derek Garton, Mathematics and Statistics faculty.

The Cascade Topology Seminar, under the direction of Professor Steven Bleiler, has received another three years partial support (now though October 2019) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This award continues the unbroken NSF support for the Cascade, support that began in October 1990. The Seminar provides for frequent contacts between workers in similar fields, allows for practitioners to keep abreast of recent developments by bringing in speakers and experts from outside the region, enables undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs, University faculty and industrial topologists in the Pacific Northwest and Southwestern Canada to hear, consult, and collaborate with the outside speakers and with practitioners from other institutions, in addition to providing an opportunities for local practitioners in academia, industry, and government to lecture on their own work.  The presentations at the Seminars usually concern algebraic, geometric, or low dimensional topology, differential or algebraic geometry, or combinatorial group theory. The next meeting of the Cascade Topology Seminar occurs the weekend of November 19-20, 2016 at Seattle University, located in Seattle, Washington.  The Seminar is scheduled to continue meeting semi-annually throughout the grant period at various Universities in the US Pacific Northwest and Southwestern Canada.

Panayot Vassilevski received a new NSF grant titled “Low-Rank Diagonally Compensated Matrix Decompositions in the Design of Solvers and Partitioners” budgeted at $159,998 for the period 09/01/16-08/31/19. The grant proposes new matrix decompositions for large linear systems and new graph partitioning ideas for parallel computing.

PSU is participating in a just-awarded multi-institutional NIH grant titled “3D segmentation and registration of macular SD-OCT for application in MS,” 2016-2018. PSU’s contribution is directed by Bruno Jedynak and is budgeted at $81,684.

PSU has been awarded $562,000 by the “Major Research Instrumentation” program of the NSF. This grant supports the acquisition of a high performance computing cluster. The project is led by Jay Gopalakrishnan and the co-investigators are Bruno Jedynak, Jeffrey Ovall, Maxwell Rudolph and Panayot Vassilevski.

PSU is funding three of our faculty to develop an open source textbook on introductory mathematical analysis. Beatriz Lafferriere and Gerardo Lafferriere are being funded by a Faculty Enhancement Grant while Mau Nam Nguyen is being funded through the library.    06/22/16

The 2016 Oregon Invitational Math Tournament (OIMT) for high school students statewide was held at PSU on May 14th. Top students in the categories of Geometry, Algebra 2, Open 1 (through pre-calculus), Open 2 (through calculus),  and Team Competition received an award.   Participating students qualified through the regional mathematics tournaments or through the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME).    05/16/2016

Noah Walton, undergraduate math major, scored 24 points on the 2015-6 National Putnam Exam Competition, the highest achieved at PSU in over 40 years.  Professor Caughman trains our Putnam team and administers the exam at PSU. 4/7/2016

Kyle Oddson, undergraduate math major, won the PME award for best presentation at the 2016 NUMS meetings. His talk, "Math and Sudoku: Exploring Sudoku boards through graph theory, group theory, and combinatorics," was based on research supervised by John Caughman, Mathematics and Statistics faculty. 4/7/2016

Dr. Margorie “Marj” Enneking, Mathematics Professor Emerita, passed away on March 13 after a brief illness. Marj came to PSU in 1968, after receiving her Ph.D. in Mathematics at Washington State University. She taught at Portland State for 35 years, championing mathematics education in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. During her tenure at Portland State she was an NSF program director, an MAA governor, and was active in a number of other professional organizations. Her many contributions to the Department and the University were recognized when she was awarded the Hoffmann Award for Faculty Excellence in 1987, an award that commends contributions in instruction, university service, and scholarship with particular dedication to students.  

To honor Marj, the family is creating an endowed scholarship in Mathematics Education, the first mathematics education scholarship at Portland State. Contributions should be made through PSU Foundation, referencing Margorie Enneking. 03/25/2016

The 2016 Cascade RAIN Meet was held at Washington State University’s Vancouver campus on April 9, 2016. This continues the conference series that our department started jointly with Oregon State University.   03/11/2016

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced in a news release today that Portland State University is among the 96 academic institutions selected to receive research instrumentation awards. These awards are the result of a merit competition jointly conducted by the three DoD research offices: the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The winning proposal’s principal investigator is Panayot Vassilevski and co-investigator is Jay Gopalakrishnan. Once the award is made, the investigators will work on acquiring further resources for computational science research at PSU.    03/04/2016

Dr. Steven Boyce received a $250K grant from the Oregon Department of Education as part of the Math in Real Life project. The Math in Real Life project supports the expansion of collaborative networks in the Portland Metro Region to provide an environment of innovation in math teaching and learning. Partners include Portland State University, Portland Metro STEM Partnership, Portland Community College, Oregon State University, Worksystems Incorporated, Portland Workforce Alliance, and Impact Northwest. This grant will provide professional development focused on applied mathematics to middle school and high school math teachers in Beaverton, Forest Park, Hillsboro, Parkrose, and Portland Public school districts.  02/18/2016

The department is pleased to announce its selection as the host university of the Western Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) in Spring 2018. Information regarding the meeting registration, lodging, and transportation details will appear shortly. Faculty of regional institutions interested in organizing special sessions, student presentations, and nominations for invited speakers are encouraged to contact Steve Bleiler ( or Mau Nam Nguyen ( for further information. 02/05/2016

The 2016 Oregon Invitational Math Tournament (OIMT) for high school students statewide will be held at PSU on May 14. Top students in the categories of Geometry, Algebra 2, Open 1 (through pre-calculus), Open 2 (through calculus), Team Competition receive an award.   Students who want to compete must qualify through the regional mathematics tournaments or through the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). For more information visit their contest site at    02/03/2016