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McQuarrie and Kim Explore Differential Equation Models

McQuarrie and Kim Explore Differential Equation Models

Posted by Pengxeu Thao '15, Roseville on Tuesday, Jul. 1, 2014

Barry McQuarrie, associate professor of mathematics, is one of 11 University of Minnesota, Morris professors collaborating with students in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Undergraduate Summer Research Program. McQuarrie is advising Sae Sun Kim ’15, Namyangju-si, South Korea, through research on differential equation models.

A key purpose of the project is to implement a method to fit a differential equation to a data set. The models resulting from their work aim to easily extract estimates of parameters from experimental data and be used across multiple disciplines.

The team has discovered a technique for its research and now needs to apply it to data. They plan to research and build a Chua circuit to demonstrate data and test different models. Kim will use Mathematica for coding and will present findings in LaTeX, a professional typesetting software that will render his work.

“These methods and programs are good for undergraduate research opportunities because they produce professional-looking results,” says McQuarrie. “It’s good technology for students to be proficient in.”

Kim’s involvement in the project not only ties in to his own academic interests, but also builds relevant skills at an early stage of his career. This valuable opportunity brings him both experiential benefits and interdisciplinary knowledge.

“This has been a great opportunity to get paid and get research experience,” says Kim. “My time with this research lets me know what’s going on in the world of mathematics and see its relationships with my own physics interests.”

In September Kim will present his discoveries from this summer at an HHMI presentation. His work will build on McQuarrie’s HHMI-funded research from this summer and the previous one.

The Undergraduate Summer Research Program is supported in part by a grant to the University of Minnesota, Morris from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program. Additional information is available at