Researching Evolution, Behavior and Graphing – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Researching Evolution, Behavior and Graphing

Three Hobart and William Smith students delve into mathematics and computer science honors projects

(March 29, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.—Evolution, cooperative behavior and graph labeling games are three topics being researched by Hobart and William Smith Colleges students for honors projects in computer science and mathematics.

Hobart seniors Evan Hourigan, of Attleboro, Mass., and Oscar Barney, of Coos Bay, Ore., are both working on honors projects with Professor David Eck using the genetic algorithm, an approach to problem-solving that simulates evolution on a computer.

Oscar BarneyBarney is using the genetic algorithm to find approximate solutions for problems where exact solutions can not be found efficiently. A member of the HWS sailing team, Barney is a double major in math and computer science. On campus he has served as house manager for substance-free house, worked as a resident adviser for two years and on the advisory council. Barney is currently completing an internship in the technology department of ITT Industries/Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls.

Hourigan is using the genetic algorithm to simulate evolution to study the emergence of cooperative behavior in egoistic populations. He is a computer science and geoscience double major and has been an active member in the Orange Key and Chimera honor societies. Hourigan also served as student representative for the steering committee of the Middle States College Review process.

William Smith senior Leya Tesmenitsky of Ashland, Mass., is doing honors work with graph labeling games under the direction of Professor Erika L.C. King. The mathematics and biochemistry double major will present some of her research at the Hudson River Valley Mathematics Conference in April. In her work Tesmenitsky considers a game based on labeling vertices and edges of graphs. Two players take turns labeling vertices and edges in the graph. The goal of the game is to be the last person to make a move on the graph. Tesmenitsky is president of the campus math club, vice president of the Equestrian Club, president and founder of the volleyball club and past vice president of chemistry club. She is also a member of the Laurel honor society, William Smith Congress, and Thel literary magazine.