Dylan Shepardson
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Mount Holyoke College
415B Clapp Laboratory
(413) 538-2683

I teach in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at Mount Holyoke College.

I studied physics at Amherst College and UC Berkeley, and algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization at Georgia Tech.

Fall - 2012

Math 202 (Calculus 2)

Spring - 2013

Math 339 (Topics in Applied Mathematics: Optimization)

Mathematical optimization involves finding the best solution to a problem from a set of feasible solutions defined by mathematical constraints. It has an elegant theory and applications in fields like management, economics, engineering, and computer science that require decision making under constraints on time or other resources. We will begin by studying linear optimization, including duality, the simplex algorithm, and the geometry of linear programming. Other topics will include discrete optimization, network optimization, and nonlinear optimization.

Prerequisite: Math 211 (Linear Algebra) or permission of the instructor.

I work on new and sometimes unusual applications of optimization theory. In most physical, biological, and economic systems there is some property that is being optimized (like energy or entropy in physical systems, or reproductive success in population biology), and optimization techniques often offer some interesting insight into these systems. If you are interested in learning more about mathematical optimization, consider taking Math 339 (Topics in Applied Mathematics: Optimization) in the spring.

In the past I have worked on problems in neuronal modeling, voting theory, epidemiology, physical chemistry, archaeology, and extremal graph theory. For the past two years I have been working with the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, developing models to help identify efficient strategies for fighting tuberculosis.

If you are interested in getting some experience with mathematical modeling, consider joining the mathematical modeling group at Mount Holyoke (you need not be a mathematics or statistics major, people from other disciplines are welcome). We meet weekly to discuss modeling strategies and work on problems. During one weekend in February, a team from the mathematical modeling group at Mount Holyoke will participate in an international mathematical modeling contest. Contact me for more information.
Nexus engineering minor

If you are interested in pursuing a career in engineering, one option is to do a Nexus minor in engineering. A Nexus minor involves an experiential component (usually a summer internship in industry or a scientific laboratory) as well as academic coursework. For more information about requirements and planning for a Nexus minor in engineering, talk to me or another member of the Engineering Committee.

Engineering dual-degree program

Mount Holyoke College offers a dual-degree program that allows students to earn two undergraduate degrees, a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Holyoke and a bachelor of science in engineering from one of three partner institutions (Dartmouth, UMass, or Caltech). Students in the dual-degree program spend 3 years at Mount Holyoke and 2 years at the partner institution. Some Engineering Scholarships are available from Mount Holyoke College to offset the additional costs of a 5th year of study. If you are a student interested in the dual-degree program, you should see me or another member of the Engineering Committee as soon as possible, ideally during your first semester at Mount Holyoke, to begin planning.

Students who are interested in working on independent research projects should contact me to set up a time to meet. Some current and previous research students:
  • Luong Nguyen 12, now a PhD student in computational biology, worked with me and chemistry professor Maria Gomez to study proton conduction pathways in perovskite oxides, and she also spent a summer working with me at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta developing mathematical models to simulate disease dynamics in human populations.
  • Tolu Kehinde '13 studied proton conduction pathways in perovskite oxides. Tolu and Luong are coauthors on a paper published in Solid State Ionics.
  • Xinyang Tian 13 spent a summer at the CDC in Atlanta creating a computational model to assess the cost-effectiveness of a new treatment regimen for latent tuberculosis infection.
  • Xueying Zhao 13 is currently working on a mathematical model to identify cost-effective strategies to reduce the level of tuberculosis among foreign-born people in the US.