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Gordon in the News: last updated 03/10/2008

Two Gordon Professors Receive $12,000 Grant from National Science Foundation for Research Project

March 10, 2008

Jessica Prudhomme
Office of College Communications


WENHAM, MA-"Controlling Complex Networks," a mathematical research project spearheaded by two Gordon College professors, recently received a supplemental $12,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Michael Veatch, professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Jonathan Senning, associate professor of Mathematics & Computer Science, are leading the project to develop dramatically faster algorithms for a broad class of queuing network control problems. The grant money will provide the financial assistance necessary to allow additional student researchers to participate and experience working on a research project with professional academic leaders in the field.

According to Dr. Veatch who has served on the faculty at Gordon for 18 years, it is unusual for a liberal arts college like Gordon to receive a grant for such mathematical and scientific research. "This funding provides a unique opportunity for Gordon students to participate in research that's typically only available at larger universities," said Veatch. "The project will utilize mathematics and computer testing in an effort to develop more efficient ways to operate complex computer networks. If successful, this project will extend the size of network control problems that can be solved."

The "Controlling Complex Networks" project is currently halfway through a $153,000 three-year grant. At the request of Dr. Veatch, the project's recent $12,000 supplemental grant came from the Director of Engineering at the National Science Foundation to provide more students with the opportunity to work alongside himself and his colleague in this hands-on educational experience.

"In this project students not only learn to apply their skills in mathematics, but they also gain the experience of working in-depth on one problem and then seeing the fruits of their labors," said Veatch. "It teaches students how their involvement provides a contribution to the field of research."

Last summer four students worked with Dr. Veatch on the project, assisting with the implementation of testing and the development of computer software. Students also wrote intensive papers on their research experience and findings.

"Research with Dr. Veatch stretched my abilities in ways quite unlike the typical classroom experience," said Gordon student Jeffrey Fraser of Wolfeboro Falls, NH, one of the four student researchers. "Unlike traditional assignments, the answers to our questions were still unknown--as researchers and scholars, we were striving to produce the answers to questions and theories not yet answered. I learned how to understand and write professional mathematics research papers, how to collaborate with other researchers and theories, and how to deal with both the successes and frustrations that come with new research."

This summer five new Gordon students will receive the opportunity to research and study mathematics and computer science alongside Veatch and Senning. This summer's researchers, including Jane Eisenhauer of Douglassville, PA, are excited to be a part of the NSF funded project. "I think this experience will be both challenging and rewarding, as it will allow me to apply mathematical concepts to a complex, real-world problem," said Eisenhauer. "Sometimes classroom learning is very theoretical, and it's easy to lose sight of practical applications. I think working on 'Controlling Complex Networks' will help me to tie together practical problem solving skills with classroom knowledge."

For information on "Controlling Complex Networks," or to speak with the professors leading the research project, contact Jessica Prudhomme at 914.522.6724 or email .

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Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The college offers majors in 36 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.