Mathematics & Computer Science

Math And Computer Science David SutherlandThe department hosts both the computer science program and the mathematics program. The programs share a faculty with a passion for their respective subjects, an interest in innovative ways to teach them, and a dedication to fostering undergraduate research.

The mathematics major begins with the introductory requirements of two semesters of Calculus, a Discrete Mathematics course, and the Introduction to Advanced Mathematics course. Later in the curriculum, students take a two-course sequence in either Abstract Algebra or Analysis and choose five additional electives. The electives offered change annually, but some examples of recent electives include Set Theory, Game Theory, and History of Mathematics.

The computer science major begins with a three-semester introduction to algorithmic thinking and computer programming, along with a semester of Calculus and a semester of Discrete Mathematics. Students then take seven additional courses, including Algorithms, Theory of Computation, Computer Architecture, Operating Systems, and three electives. Recent electives have included Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, and Computer Graphics, but these change each year.

In addition, the department welcomes students choosing to minor in mathematics and computer science. Both disciplines connect strongly with many other concentrations of study.

The department has a long history of fostering undergraduate research. The centerpiece is the "Senior Capstone Experience," required of all students majoring in either discipline. Each participant selects a research question, with the help of a faculty mentor, studies that question over the senior year, and develops a public oral presentation and a thesis paper summarizing the results. Often, students also choose to present their research papers at regional and national conferences, such as the Hendrix-Rhodes-Sewanee Mathematics Symposium or the National Conferences for Undergraduate Research. Additionally, many students choose to participate in research during their summers, either at Hendrix College or at another research facility.

The department is housed on the third floor of J. H. Reynolds Hall, which was thoroughly renovated in 2000. The facilities include two computer laboratories, two classrooms, a lounge area for study and discussion, and faculty offices. The department maintains its own network of Macintosh and Linux computers.

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