FRONTIERS THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICAL AND MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
THE TEACHERâ€™S CRAFT: How Japan Fosters Great Teaching Methods
MICROSCOPIC ALGAE & MASSIVE LANDSLIDES
EXCITING STARS EXCITING TIMES EXCITING RESEARCH
PLUMBING OF THE INTERNET
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BYU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences Scott D. Sommerfeldt, Dean Thomas W. Sederberg, Associate Dean Bart J. Kowallis, Associate Dean Kurt D. Huntington, Assistant Dean
David V. Dearden, Chemistry & Biochemistry Michael A. Goodrich, Computer Science John H. McBride, Geological Sciences Michael J. Dorff, Mathematics Blake E. Peterson, Mathematics Education Richard R. Vanfleet, Physics & Astronomy H. Dennis Tolley, Statistics
Bart J. Kowallis, Editorial Director D. Lynn Patten, Assistant Editorial Director Jessica Olsen, Managing Editor Maureen Elinzano, Assistant Editor Cassidy Heaton, Graphic Designer Alyssa Lyman, Photographer James Collard, Writer CreelaBelle Howard, Writer
D. Lynn Patten, Marketing Manager 801.422.4022, firstname.lastname@example.org Brent C. Hall, LDS Philanthropies 801.422.4501, email@example.com
BYU Psychologist Mark Beecher, BYU physicist Lawrence Rees, and BYU statistician Dennis Eggett combined their knowledge of their respective fields to study the effects of weather on emotional distress. They have discovered that when it comes to your mental and emotional health, the amount of time between sunrise and sunset is the weather variable that matters most. Photo courtesy of BYU Photo
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It’s my hope that as our college continues to achieve, we continue to grow. It’s my hope that we continue to lift and inspire our peers, colleagues, and friends. welcome to our latest edition of Frontiers magazine. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the college! The College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences has seen significant growth since I was appointed dean 10 years ago. With 1,600 majors in 2007, our college now boasts over 3,500. In fact, almost Photo courtesy of BYU Photo ten percent of BYU’s student body are now majors in the college. But even with our significant growth, our college shows no signs of slowing down as we look to continue our tradition of excellence in the years to come.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” However, the accomplishments of our students, faculty, and alumni hold significant meaning as they continue to provide important contributions to the university, as well as the global community. These contributions demonstrate the high-caliber quality of students attending the university. Statistics major Kaitlin Gibson (p. 11) recently conducted research using spatial methods for the Federal Highway Administration to discover what road factors are associated with a higher prevalence of crashes—research that could save human lives in the future. Additionally, geology student Natalie Barkdull (p. 11) has analyzed trace metals in the Provo River and evaluated mine contamination at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah. Her research with classmate Hannah Bonner won 2nd Place at last year’s Spring Runoff Conference at Utah State and can contribute to improving Utah’s water quality and eliminating water shortages in the Western United States.
The high-caliber work of students has transitioned into the workforce as well. Blake Chamberlain is using the knowledge he gained as a chemistry undergraduate to work as a NASA crew surgeon, participating in five space expeditions (p.10).
Carter returned to his postdoctoral alma mater to become the Chair of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (p.10). On the home front, our faculty continues to make significant contributions in their selective fields. Duane Merrell (p. 7) was recently named as a Physics Master Teacher Leader by his peers in the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). A taskforce of these leaders counsels together regularly to determine ways the AAPT can elevate their profession across the nation through professional development and leadership programs. Mark Transtrum (p. 7) is working as BYU’s representative at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Center for Bright Beams at Cornell University, which recently received $24 million in funding from the NSF to improve particle accelerators. It’s my hope that as our college continues to achieve, we continue to grow. It’s my hope that we continue to lift and inspire our peers, colleagues, and friends. It has been a privilege for me over the past decade to see the inspiring growth and accomplishments in the college up close. My term as dean of the college is ending, and in the next edition of Frontiers we will welcome Shane Reese as the new dean of the college. Shane comes with many talents and abilities that will serve the college well to guide and lead us forward into the next chapter of our growth. While it has been extremely rewarding for me to work with the outstanding students, alumni, and faculty in the college, I recognize that change can be a catalyst for continued growth. Therefore, I look forward to seeing how the college continues to change the lives of students and contribute to the mission of BYU. Wishing you all the best,
Meanwhile, many of our alumni have gone on to serve in education positions as well. Stephen Scott has been inspiring young mathematics students at Provo High School and was named the Utah Valley Educator of the Week on September 21, 2016 (p.10). In addition, after serving as the Chair of Neurosurgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Bob
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TABLE OF CONTENTS DEPARTMENTS 6
FRIENDS OF THE COLLEGE
MICROSCOPIC ALGAE AND MASSIVE LANDSLIDES
STUDYING UTAH’S CLIMATE THROUGH GEOLOGY
THE TEACHER’S CRAFT:
HOW JAPAN FOSTERS GREAT TEACHING METHODS
EXCITING STARS EXCITING TIMES EXCITING RESEARCH
PLUMBING OF THE INTERNET
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CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY research— NASA provided a multi-million dollar grant to fund research conducted by Daniel Austin and several graduate students to discover at what speed bacteria won’t survive when they crash into a hard surface. The primary purpose of the study was to understand if cross-contamination between planets is possible. The group’s research was published in Planetary and Space Science. research— Daniel Ess and Scott Burt recently participated in a multiinstitution collaboration with professors at Rice Univeristy of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The team disclosed a new catalytic chemical reaction that replaces hydrocarbon bonds with nitrogen in Science, a journal that Ess has contributed to three years in a row. funding— Steve Castle received a large grant from the National Institute of Health to study dehydroamino acids. He and his research group focus on the synthesis of architecturally complex bioactive natural products and peptides. Their research has the potential to inspire the invention of new organic reactions, as well as lead to the development of new therapeutic agents. research— John Price conducted experiments that found a correlation between calorie consumption and the health of ribosomes, which has a direct impact on the overall health and youthfulness of an organism. Price carefully controlled the diet of lab mice, and he found that reduced caloric intake slowed down the activity of ribosomes, allowing the ribosomes to repair themselves more efficiently. Price published his finding in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. recognition— After succeeding in teaching proper laboratory techniques to real-life students in a virtual lab, chemistry professor Brian Woodfield approached the Provo Police Department to suggest holding similar critical-thinking training for police officers. Woodfield teaches officers to create mental models, remember specific goals, and adapt available resources to specific situations. This decision-making model allows officers to mentally slow down fast-paced situations.
COMPUTER SCIENCE award— Ryan Farrell and David Wingate both received Career Awards from the National Science Foundation earlier this year. Farrell’s award will be used to create a computational platform capable of performing fine-grained visual categorization. Wingate’s will be used to improve the reinforcement machine learning of autonomous agents. new faculty— Jacob Crandall, Frank Jones, and Casey Deccio began teaching classes during the Fall 2016 semester at BYU. Crandall recently worked as a faculty member in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Jones was previously working as a computer scientist for Naval Air Systems Command in China Lake, California. Deccio was a senior research scientist at Verisign Labs. award— Computer science professor Bill Barrett, along with a team of students, created new software that can analyze centuries-old handwritten German text. The software ranked second place in a competition held by the International Conference on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition. Professor Barrett is currently working with FamilySearch in order to potentially integrate the software into the genealogical website.
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES award— Jani Radebaugh received the 2016 BYU Sponsored Research Recognition at the annual University Conference in August. The award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate outstanding achievement in scholarly activities funded by external sponsors or who give significant service in support of sponsored research and creative programs. NASA funds the work of Radebaugh, who discovered a 10,948-foot peak on Saturn’s largest moon. research— Brooks Britt was part of a team of paleontologists and researchers that discovered a new species of dinosaur, Moabosaurus utahensis, named in honor of its excavation site in Moab, Utah. The discovery adds to Utah’s reputation as a prime hunting ground for diverse dinosaur species. Britt published his discovery in the journal Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology in April 2017. course development— Eric Christiansen received a BYU General Education grant to develop a new online course for Geology 109— Geology of Planets. Meanwhile, Ron Harris is building a new online course for Geology 101—Introduction to Geology. These courses will utilize new multimedia resources to instruct students.
MATHEMATICS new faculty— The Math Department added four new full-time faculty members. Mark Allen, Curtis Kent, Blake Barker, and Nathan Priddis began teaching classes at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. All four received their undergraduate degrees from BYU and obtained their PhD’s at various universities across the country. award— Pace Nielsen received the BYU Young Scholar Award at the annual University Conference. The Young Scholar Award is presented each year to a professor who has worked at BYU for less than ten years and has made significant contributions to research within his or her discipline. Nielsen began teaching at BYU in 2009, and has authored or co-authored thirty-nine publications since 2002. award— At BYU’s annual University Conference in August, Tyler Jarvis received the Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award. The award honors faculty members for outstanding teaching accomplishments. Jarvis previously received the 2016 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award from the Mathematical Association of America. Many refer to the Haimo Award as the “Hall of Fame” for math professors.
MATHEMATICS EDUCATION funding— Dawn Teuscher, along with three associates from various universities, was the recipient of a large grant from the National Science Foundation. The money will be used to conduct a three-year study investigating the use of mathematics curriculum by middle-school teachers. research— Daniel Siebert, along with other faculty members throughout BYU, researched the impact of reforms in content area education (math, science, social studies, English, etc.) on content area literacy instruction. Their research suggests that content area literacy instruction must focus on teaching disciplinary literacies instead of general academic literacy. It was published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.
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PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY award— The American Physical Society (APS) selected Justin Peatross from a pool of over 60,000 APS reviewers to receive the Outstanding Referee Award. The award is given to scientists who have been remarkably helpful in evaluating manuscripts for publication in APS journals. Overall, 146 individuals received the Outstanding Referee Award in 2016. research— Denise Stephens and Michael Joner, using telescopes in BYU’s Orson Pratt Observatory and the West Mountain Observatory, helped discover the massive exoplanet KELT-16b. The hot planet’s short orbital period allows for easier observation of its unique atmosphere. Stephens and Joner published their research in The Astronomical Journal in February 2017 and in Nature in June 2017. research— Brian Anderson has developed a new way of visualizing the effects of time reversal by using targeted sound vibrations to disturb small objects, such as salt or Legos, on a metal plate. Anderson’s novel demonstrations provide effective teaching techniques to introduce young students to acoustics. Time reversal has practical uses in medicine, underwater detection, and, in Anderson’s case, locating cracks in nuclearwaste storage containers. Anderson’s new methods were published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
STATISTICS award— William Christensen was recently named a 2016 Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA). This prestigious honor recognizes Christensen for his professional contributions, leadership, and commitment to the field of statistical science. The ASA specifically credited Christensen for his “contributions to multivariate analysis; for research in environmental statistics, particularly in the area of source attribution; for outstanding teaching and mentoring; and for exceptional service to the ASA.” research— Dennis Eggett, along with physics professor Lawrence Rees and psychologist Mark Beecher, conducted research on the effect of sunlight on the mental health of individuals. They concluded that seasonal increases in sun time were associated with decreased mental health distress. Their research was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
new faculty— Darin Ragozzine began working as a new assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Fall 2016. Ragozzine’s research specialties include planetary science, astrophysics, exoplanets, and astrostatistics. He was previously employed as an assistant professor at Florida Institute of Technology. award— Tracianne Neilsen received the BYU Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award at the annual University Conference. The award is presented to a part-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching and professional responsibilitiest over a period of at least five years. Nielsen has been a faculty member at BYU for twelve years. funding— The National Science Foundation announced over $90 million in funding to support four new Science and Technology Centers (STCs) across the country. STC’s are partnerships between organizations in both the private and public sectors that lay the foundations for advances in a broad range of scientific fields. Professor Mark Transtrum is the BYU representative for the Center for Bright Beams, located at Cornell University, which will receive up to $24 million over a five-year period. The funding will be used to improve particle accelerators, making them more efficient and less expensive. recognition— Duane Merrell was named by his peers from the American Association of Physics Teachers (APPT), the American Modeling Teachers Association, and the Physics Teacher Education Coalition as an AAPT Physics Master Teacher Leader. A taskforce of these leaders from across the country meet together to determine ways the AAPT can elevate the teaching profession through professional development and leadership programs. Merrell’s research specialty is secondary physical science teacher preparation.
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FRIENDS OF THE COLLEGE
OSCAR NOMINEE SEEKS TO PAY IT FORWARD Text by CreelaBelle Howard
Photo courtesy Jason Smith
He is a Transformer with Hulksize success. Oscar nominee Jason Smith says his BYU education set the course that has led to his achievements in the movie industry. Smith is a visual effects supervisor at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic), a motion picture special effects company. At ILM, he has worked on many blockbuster films, including Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Rango, and Transformers. He joined ILM in 2001 as a technical assistant and became Creature Technical Director in 2003. There, he invented the dynamic rigging process that ILM uses for the robot transformation in the Transformers films. His character work on the Hulk in the blockbuster hit The Avengers earned him a Visual Effects Award nomination. Last year, the Oscar committee nominated Smith for Best Visual Effects for his work on the bear in the Best Picture nominated film The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. “I was totally blown away because that was not something that I really had on my list of possible life events,” Smith said. “I was proud of the work that the team here did on the bear, but to actually get recognized by the peers in the industry and by the academy was really, really exciting.” Smith’s focus and love for creature and character work in film visual effects began at BYU as a computer science major and a visual arts minor. He designed makeup for BYU’s production of Into the Woods and took figure-drawing classes from Robert Barrett, who Smith said was a profound influence. Mentor Janet Swenson, a makeup and costume design professor in the theatre department, was another influencial figure in Smith’s life. “I remember Janet taking us to California and taking us on set of a TV show that was filming at the time. It was called Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” Smith said. “It was a nice way of getting, as a student, a little view into the industry.”
That kind of generosity from faculty and alumni motivated Smith to do his part to help BYU students who want to break into the movie industry. He told computer science faculty members Brent Adams and Parris Egbert that he was willing to come speak to the students. After The Avengers released, they contacted Smith and asked him to give a colloquium presentation. Smith said he was happy and excited to do it. “I know from my time as a student at BYU how thirsty I was for that type of information, information from people who are out in the workforce and applying the things that we’re learning every day, somebody that can come back and tell me how linear algebra really does apply to the movement of a shoulder blade,” Smith said. Smith delved into the visual-effects side of the movie industry and explained the work he supervised on the creation of the Hulk character, played by Mark Ruffalo. He also gave a group of illustration students a tour of ILM in March 2016. He told them what it was like to work in the industry and what types of jobs there are. He also stays in contact with BYU students and advises the students on how to improve their demo reels (film portfolios). “I think whenever those opportunities come up to work with students, that’s what I really enjoy. I love . . . to talk to students about the type of work that’s going on right now and how they can prepare,” he said. BYU students are already blessed with world-class faculty and state-of-the-art equipment, according to Smith. BYU also recently added the animation emphasis for computer science students who want to combine their STEM major with art. “The faculty at BYU really, really do care about the students and about the kind of lives we’re going to go into after we graduate,” Smith said. “I’m definitely grateful for the time I had [at BYU] and the education, and I really think it did set the trajectory for my career.”
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Beginning July 1, statistics professor Shane Reese will begin his five-year term as dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. “Shane Reese brings a distinguished record of teaching and research to this new assignment,” past BYU Academic Vice President Brent Webb said. “We are confident of his commitment to continue the college’s legacy of studentcentered education.” Reese will succeed Scott Sommerfeldt, who served diligently as dean of the college for ten years. Professor Jennifer B. Nielson (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Professor Gus Hart (Physics and Astronomy will serve as associate deans). ASSOCIATE DEAN TOM SEDERBERG RETIRES
After serving as a college associate dean for more than twelve years, Tom Sederberg retired from academia on May 30,2017. Sederberg arrived at BYU in 1983 after receiving a PhD in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. Sederberg has received numerous awards including the Steven V. White University Professorship, the Technology Transfer Award, the Pierre Bezier Prize, and Purdue University’s Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award. In 2014, the Thomas Reuters publication listed him as one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds”. The college wishes him all the best in his future endeavors. NEW DEPARTMENT LEADERSHIP
Three department chairs in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences were recently appointed or reappointed.
William Christensen was named as the new chair of the Department of Statistics, replacing Dennis Tolley who served as the department chair from 2012-2017. Gil Fellingham will continue to serve as the associate chair through December 31, 2017. David Dahl will then replace Fellingham upon completion of a fall semester sabbatical. Additionally, Michael Goodrich has been reappointed as the chair of the Department of Computer Science with Dan Ventura and Kent Seamons serving as associate chairs. Furthermore, Blake Peterson has been reappointed as the chair of the Department of Mathematics Education with Keith Leatham continuing as associate chair.
Our college continues to use donated endowment funds to support undergraduate and graduate research and to keep our programs competitive. Your donations help us further the high-quality research taking place at BYU and continue providing vital research experiences to our students. The endowment funds we receive are sent directly to hardworking students, like mathematics education undergraduate Alicia Heninger. Heninger is working with professors Keith Leatham and Blake Peterson to pinpoint significant teaching moments in secondary education classrooms through observation and analysis. “The project is focused on student thinking within classroom discussion,” Heninger said. “When students say something, a lot of the time there are teachable moments that teachers could capitalize on to help students learn better.” Because of her experience conducting research, Heninger’s career aspirations have changed. “Since I started working on it, I’ve actually wanted to go more into the research of math education,” Heninger said. “Before, I just wanted to teach.” Heninger attributes much of her knowledge gained during the research process to Professors Leatham and Peterson, who strive to involve undergraduate researchers in every aspect of the work. “We learn as they talk about it and go through different situations of what happened in classrooms. A lot of times they’ll just stop and talk to us about different math education topics,” Heninger said. “I really like it. I’ve learned a ton from them.”
2m UNDERGRADUATE MENTORING
C. SHANE REESE NAMED AS NEW DEAN OF COLLEGE
HELP FUND THE FUTURE There are many students like Alicia Heninger who could benefit greatly from your contributions. If you or someone you know would like to donate, please visit giving.byu.edu/cpms, or contact Brent Hall by phone at 801.422.4501 or by email at brenth@ byu.edu.
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CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY 1986 | Blake V. Chamberlain (BA Chemistry ’86, BS Zoology ’86, Brigham Young University) graduated from military medical school in Bethesda, Maryland, and then served as an ER chief in Yokota, Japan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines. He earned a Master of Public Health degree and became a colonel in the USAF Reserve – Space Command in 2007 and was a NASA ISS Lead Surgeon from 2014 to 2016. He currently works as a NASA crew surgeon and has been on five expeditions. He also works as an ER physician at multiple hospitals. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for over 30 years and have three children and ten grandchildren. 1986 | Bob Carter (BA Chemistry ’86, Brigham Young University; MD and PhD ’92, Johns Hopkins University) did his neurosurgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 2010, UC San Diego recruited him as founding co-director of UC San Diego Neurological Institute and Chair of Neurosurgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He was recently asked to become Chair of Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
COMPUTER SCIENCE 1986 | Richard Calderwood (BS Computer Science ’86, Brigham Young University) pursued a career in high-tech patent law after graduation. He worked for nine years as an IP attorney for Intel and then was the general counsel for MotoCzysz LLC, Stexar Corp and then Step Technologies Inc. Calderwood is now Director of Intellectual Property for NVIDIA Corp and is in charge of intellectual property for mobile products and NVIDIA’s Research Group. 1986 | John Dance (BS Computer Science, ’84, MS Computer Science, ’86, Brigham Young University) has worked for tech giants like Apple, Be, and Palm. He then began to work at Tableau in 2010. Dance continues to work there as its Principle of Software Engineers. He and his wife, Sharla, have five children.
MATHEMATICS EDUCATION 2013 | Stephen K. Scott (BS Mathematics Education ’13, Brigham Young University) has worked as a math teacher at Provo High School for the last four years. The Daily Herald named Scott the Utah Valley Educator of the Week on September 21, 2016. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in Mathematics Education at BYU. 2015 | Pryce Nelson (BS Math Education ’15, Brigham Young University) teaches math to tenth and eleventh graders at American Leadership Academy in Payson, Utah. Nelson creates task-based activities for students to learn math, and likes to write a list of questions to help his students look at math problems in a different light.
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES 1976 | Robert (Bob) F. Lindsay (BS geology ‘74 Weber State College, MS geology ‘76 Brigham Young University, PhD geology ‘14 University of Aberdeen, Scotland) worked thirty-nine years in the petroleum industry for companies like Gulf Oil, Chevron, and Saudi Aramco. Lindsay founded Lindsay Consulting LLC, a company where he consults with petroleum companies and leads field trips for universities, geological societies, and petroleum companies. He and his wife, Linda, have five children and eighteen grandchildren.
2004 | Jason Aase (BS Geology ’99, MS Geology ’04, Brigham Young University) has worked in higher education since graduation. He taught for several years at Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University) and then moved to Roseburg, Oregon, in 2007 to teach full time at Umpqua Community College (UCC). In 2012, he was promoted to Dean of Arts and Sciences, and in August 2016 he stepped into the role of interim Vice President for Instruction (VPI) at UCC.
MATHEMATICS 1986 | Jennifer Gappmayer Beckstrand (BS Mathematics ’86, Brigham Young University) raised her six children as a stay-at-home mom. She began writing after her fourth daughter was born and around 2010 began a career as a writer. She is now the author of 14 Amish romance novels, including Forever After in Apple Lake series and Huckleberry Hill series. Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspiration Fiction, and Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the 2014 Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Book Reviews and the RITA Award by the Romance Writers of America. 2006 | Erika Littlewood (BS Mathematics ’06, Brigham Young University) began working as an actuarial analyst for Mercer in the retirement consulting department in Houston, Texas, after graduation. In 2012, she began working at Towers Watson, another retirement consulting firm, and expanded her role to include project management. She now works as a compensation analyst for Apache Corporation, an oil and gas company based in Houston.
PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY 1988 | Blake Murphy (BA Physics ’88, Brigham Young University) has worked for Aon Hewitt since graduation. He works as a partner, retirement consultant, and actuary for the Aon Hewitt office in Newport Beach, California. He and his wife Dana have six children and three grandchildren. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and an Enrolled Actuary. He currently presides over an LDS Mission in Ecuador. 1993 | Raymond Shaw (BS Physics ’93, Brigham Young University, PhD ’98, Penn State University) was at the National Center for Atmospheric Sciences as a postdoc and has been in the Department of Physics at Michigan Technological University for seventeen years. He and his colleagues published results in Science and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how turbulence influences the growth of particles in atmospheric clouds.
STATISTICS 1988 | Gary Peterson (BS Statistics, BS Computer Science ’86, MBA ’88, Brigham Young University) started at O.C. Tanner as a Market Research Manager in 1987. He is now the Executive Vice President of Supply Chain and Production at O.C. Tanner. Peterson was awarded the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Award of Excellence in October 2016. Peterson was also awarded the AME’s Life Achievement award in 2015. Lee D. Gold (BS Statistics ‘88, Brigham Young University) began working for Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators as an actuary after graduation. Ten years later, he joined Mercer as a consultant. He is an associate in the Society of Actuaries, an Enrolled Actuary, a fellow in the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
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OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM Geological Sciences
NATALIE BARKDULL studies water
chemistry and has worked in a lab studying mercury with Dr. Greg Carling. She analyzed trace metals in the Provo River and evaluated contaminated mines at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort Photo courtesy of Natalie Barkdull in Utah. Her research with classmate Hannah Bonner won 2nd Place in last year’s Spring Runoff Conference at Utah State University. Barkdull hopes that her research helps with water quality in Utah and with water shortages in the Western region of the United States. She also hopes it changes public opinion about water usage. Under the direction of Dr. Ron Harris, Barkdull also researches the correlation between earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to determine if an increase in volcanoes correlates with an increase in earthquakes. She spent last summer at Field Camp in Indonesia studying earthquakes and tsunamis. “We spent six weeks looking for tsunami deposits,” Barkdull said. “But the best part was educating people about our findings and informing people about potential tsunamis.”
Chemistry & Biochemistry Cody Cushman is a surface analyst and researches materials syntheses and chemometrics. Cushman is a regular contributor to the trade magazine Vacuum Technology & Coating. He spoke at five conferences and received the Graduate Excellence in Materials Science (GEMS) award from the American Ceramic Society. He wants to be an industrial scientist after receiving his doctorate degree.
Computer Science Scott Ruoti researches internet users’ attitudes and perceptions. He has presented papers at major conferences including the International World Wide Web Conference in Florence, Italy. His research with Dr. Kent Seamons and with other BYU students on email encryption won the Honorable Mention award at the 2016 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016).
KAITLIN GIBSON recently conducted
research funded by the Federal Highway Administration in which she discovered which road factors, such as median width, speed limit numbers, and lanes, are associated with a higher prevalence Photo by Alyssa Lyman of crashes. Gibson is currently updating this research by applying spatial methods to her data, and she presented this updated research at the 2016 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Chicago. Last year, the Department of Statistics chose Gibson as one of two Outstanding First-Year Master’s Students. She is also a member of the Statistics Honor Society at BYU. Gibson hopes that her continual research on roads and transportation will prevent car crashes in the future. When Gibson is not studying statistics, she is pursuing a minor in art. “I’m really into drawing,” Gibson said. “It’s nice to use a different part of my brain.”
Mathematics Education Natalie Moeller received the Outstanding Mathematics Education Student award for Fall 2016. She teaches three different classes (8th Grade Honors, Math Secondary 3, and AP Statistics) at Karl G. Maeser Academy in Utah and is a member of the Mathematics Education Association (MEA) club at BYU. Moeller hopes to continue to be a mathematics educator at the junior high or high school level.
Mathematics Nickolas Callor researches the mathematics on teaching robots how to navigate around a space. Under the direction of Drs. Gregory Conner of BYU and Peter Prelovsek of the University of Ljubliana in Slovenia, Callor investigates the difficulty of this situation and the mathematics of how robots or drones recognize going around or through objects. Callor is working on three papers and spoke at two conferences in Slovenia.
Kameron Hansen investigates theoretical and computational biophysics and condensed matter physics under the direction of Dr. John Colton of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Dr. Richard Watt of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Hansen authored papers with BYU physics alumnus Cameron Olsen and most recently presented at the Four Corners Conference of the American Physics Society, which took place in Arizona this year.
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MICROSCOPIC ALGAE & MASSIVE LANDSLIDES STUDYING UTAHâ€™S CLIMATE THROUGH GEOLOGY Text by James Collard
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Utah got cold– really cold. The last ice age had been over for at least 5,000 years, but after a sudden drop in temperature, the climate—heading towards warmth and dryness— flipped a U-turn. As snow and ice crisscrossed the state, the sudden increase in precipitation triggered a massive eighteenmile-long train of landslides that altered the natural topography of parts of central Utah. For the past four years, geology professor Steven Nelson has studied these landslides and the wetlands that were created atop their uneven surfaces. He observed the geographical landscapes, located near Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, to understand the historical climate patterns of Utah and the western United States. While a BYU graduate student, Nelson had mapped these landslides but never studied them in depth. After he returned to his alma mater as a professor, Nelson decided to dig a little deeper. He began to remove long, two-inch-wide shafts of earth from the ground, also known as “coring,” to gain a closer look at microscopic materials deposited throughout the years. “I wrote about these landslides in my master’s thesis. I had no idea how old they actually were,” Nelson said. “The initial idea was to only core the bottom and get the age on the lowermost sediment to find out how old the landslide was. But when we split the core open, I started looking at what was inside and there are these fantastic looking critters.” These “fantastic looking critters” are single-celled algae called diatoms. Nelson knew very little about them when he began looking at the cores. “I actually took a month-long course run by the University of Iowa at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and learned [about] diatoms,” Nelson said. Most people have seen diatoms if they’ve ever spent time around a pond. It’s the brown fuzz that grows underwater around the plants. hirteen thousand years ago,
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Photo courtesy of Steve Nelson
“ IT’S FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCE. WE LIKE
TO KNOW HOW THE EARTH WORKS.”
“The reason they’re brown is because their chlorophyll is brown, not green,” Nelson said. “They actually make their cell walls out of pure silicon dioxide (biogenic glass), and so their cell walls are really, really, well preserved in the sediment.” The diatoms’ preservation lends itself to learning about the past climate patterns of wetland locations. A key indicator for these climates is water, specifically how much and how often it remained in a wetland. “Some diatoms will only live when there is standing water all year. Some diatoms will grow in the soil, but they can’t tolerate standing water,” Nelson said. “The diatoms you have at the core will tell you when it’s wet, when it’s dry.” By looking at the types of diatoms and their location in the core, Nelson and his colleagues mapped out the fluctuations of the climate in the Western U.S. He has also determined the age of the primary landslide he was initially focused on. “The ages at the bottom [of the core] tells us the landslide moved from between 12,500 to 13,000 years ago,” Nelson said. “That maybe sounds like a long time ago to you, but to a geologist that’s just yesterday.” When the climate briefly returned to almost glacial conditions, the cold, wet, saturated ground primed the terrain for descent. “The climate cooled as it had been during the ice age, stayed there for 500 to 1,000 years, and then warmed back [up] and continued warming,” Nelson said. Hills and cliffs collapsed within this relatively short period of time and nature correspondingly forged new ponds and wetlands on top of the landslides. Those wetlands allowed Nelson to understand what happened to the climate next. “Although there was a lot of volatility in the climate from 10,000 to 12,500 years ago, it was, on average, wetter with brief dry periods. So it was more pond, more standing water than wetland,” Nelson said. That pattern switched for a few thousand years when the wetlands saw more dry periods than standing water. It was followed by a montage of precipitation patterns. Recently, the western U.S. is in the midst of a cool period, which is being undone by the human release of greenhouse gases. “In the last 2,000 years, it has been colder and wetter in the winter in the Western U.S.,” Nelson said. According to Nelson, there’s an incredible applicability that can be derived from all this information collected. “One of the ways climate scientists evaluate climate change is to run climate models to try and predict the future,” Nelson said. “You can run the model in reverse to see if the model produces changes in precipitation that match what’s recorded in the [wetlands], because if you can predict the past, you have greater confidence that your models can predict the future.” Essentially, climatologists can use Nelson’s data to ensure the accuracy of their future climate predictions. Of course, as a geologist, Nelson’s research is less about future and more about the past. His driving motivation to conduct research is a desire to learn and find answers to geological questions. “It’s fundamental science,” Nelson said. “We like to know how the earth works.”
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THE TEACHERâ€™S CRAFT: HOW JAPAN FOSTERS GREAT TEACHING METHODS Text by CreelaBelle Howard
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数 学 教 育
t’s an old story that’s resurrected every few years when an international assessment of math publishes its results: The U.S. students are trounced again by the students from several East Asian countries. Some even dismiss these studies all together after a popular book by Malcolm Gladwell hypothesized that students in other countries score higher simply because they work harder. Country scores on one of the most popular international assessments, the TIMSS, are almost perfectly predicted by a measure of work ethic of a country. The students score higher in East Asian countries because they are taught, and pressured, to work so hard— case closed. But Doug Corey, BYU mathematics education professor, argues it isn’t that simple. “The conclusion that Malcolm Gladwell arrives at is not accurate. The study he cites is done at the country level, not the individual, the classroom, or school level,” Corey said. That is, the measure of work ethic in some studies is not just a measure of how hard students work, but how hard everyone in the country works, including teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers. “Of course the students work hard there. But they also have, at least in Japan, incredible instruction by teachers that are very well prepared and work extremely hard to develop students’ understanding of mathematics in very coherent and connected ways,” Corey said. Corey believes the secret to improving students’ mathematical performance lies not only in a student’s work ethic, but also in the teacher’s craft. Because Japanese teachers had such a great reputation for quality teaching, he decided to focus his research on them. He began researching Japanese math teachers after he came to BYU as an assistant professor of mathematics education in August 2007. “When I came to BYU, the big question I was trying to understand was: What should we be looking at in a classroom to know if good instruction is happening?” Corey said.
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Photos courtesy of Doug Corey
He teamed up with fellow BYU professor Dr. Blake Peterson, a Japanese speaker, who traveled to Japan to record and analyze nineteen conversations between seven math student teachers and their cooperating teachers. The student teachers from a southern Japan university showed their lesson plans to their cooperating teacher, who then discussed the plan with them for thirty minutes and suggested revisions. These discussions happened three or four times for every lesson the student teachers prepared. Only when the lesson was good enough did the cooperating teacher literally give the plans a stamp of approval, and the student teacher was allowed to teach the math lessons to students at a local middle school. Corey and Peterson showed that the Japanese teachers worked from a coherent set of principles about instruction that helped them develop engaging, rich lessons. Their study in 2010 was titled “Are There Any Places That Students Use Their Heads? Principles of High-Quality Japanese Mathematics Instruction.”
The work studying Japanese teachers has already helped BYU improve their mathematics education program. BYU Mathematics Education faculty drastically changed the structure of student teaching based off their observations in Japan. Now, BYU students teach fewer lessons and collaborate more with professional teachers and other student teachers. These changes allow the student teachers’ time and resources to focus on developing the best lessons and receiving feedback so as to improve teaching practice. The BYU colleagues videotaped some of BYU’s student teachers under this new program to research its effectiveness. Corey and two colleagues, Blake Peterson and Keith Leatham,
analyzed the results of these changes by comparing the instructional quality of the BYU student teachers to Japanese student teachers. The results were quite positive. On the vast majority of dimensions the BYU students were comparable or better than the Japanese student teachers. The Japanese student teachers were more precise in their language and made fewer errors. However, BYU students were better at eliciting engagement and student-tostudent interaction. Corey’s research extends beyond just student teaching. Because a large percentage of teachers in Japan teach so well, he wants to understand how Japan’s teaching culture transforms teachers right out of college into excellent teachers several years later. “They seem to have a very predictable and strong growth curve once [Japanese] teachers start to teach. They’re clearly going to be a lot better five years out, and they’re clearly going to be better than that 10 years out, and that’s not necessarily true for U.S. teachers,” Corey said. “The quality of their instruction will improve, but it might not improve much from their second year to their tenth year.” One example of how Japan fosters better teaching is access to detailed lesson plans from teachers used in classrooms.
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The Japanese spend time studying and discussing lesson plans at lesson study conferences, and reading books full of lesson plans sold in commercial bookstores around the country.
Exposure to so many specific lesson plans gives Japanese teachers a “feel” for what makes a good lesson.
“One of the saddest things about the U.S. teaching system is when an expert teacher retires, they take that knowledge with them. We don’t have a way to capture that kind of knowledge that a lot of teachers have worked really hard to accumulate,” Corey said. “But they do in Japan through these lesson plans.” Corey currently researches multiple sets of lesson plans, both in Japan and the U.S., to understand the kind of information that the Japanese put in their detailed lesson plans. “They don’t just include the nuts and bolts of the lesson, they include a lot of background information about the mathematics, about the decisions that were made in the lesson, and why they were made,” he said. Few lesson plans like the one Corey described above exist in the U.S. However, Corey has found a couple sources of lesson plans in the U.S. that do capture this kind of knowledge. “Now we just need to continue to build a culture of teaching in the U.S. where teachers are seeking out such resources consistently, and perhaps we can start to see the improvement in practice seen in Japan,” Corey said.
PRINCIPLES OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEACHING Adaptive Instruction
High-quality instruction adapts so that all students are engaged in mathematical work that appropriately challenges their current understanding.
The lesson is guided by an explicit and specific set of goals that address student motivation, student performance, and student understanding.
The Flow Lesson flow is built from a question students view as problematic. As students build on previous knowledge, they are supported in learning the lesson’s mathematical idea.
The Unit The lesson is created in the framework of past and future lessons, particularly between lessons in a unit but also between units and grade levels.
High-quality instruction requires a detailed lesson plan that addresses the previous five principles and connects them in a coherent understanding.
High-quality mathematics instruction intellectually engages students with important mathematics.
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EXCITING STARS EXCITING TIMES EXCITING RESEARCH DAVID NIELSEN & ERIC HIRSCHMANN TEXT BY MAUREEN ELINZANO
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avid neilsen and eric hirschmann have spent years
studying binary partnerships that are millions, even billions, of light years away in the universe—and those binary partnerships echo their personal partnership, both as friends and as research colleagues. Neilsen and Hirschmann, who both teach in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at BYU, have researched together for over a decade. It all began with their love for physics and stargazing. “I had a high school physics teacher who maybe tried to destroy that love!” Neilsen said. “But it wasn’t until I took my first modern physics class, where we learned about quantum mechanics and relativity, that I really fell in love with it and decided that this is what I really want to do.” For Hirschmann, deciding to pursue an education and a career in physics was not as straightforward, even though his father was a physicist and an engineer at NASA. “There was an unspoken encouragement as well as real life encouragement,” Hirschmann said. “It wasn’t something that I felt obligated to do, but it was something that was always available to me.” Despite an early interest in philosophy at BYU, Hirschmann eventually studied physics (although he minored in philosophy) and then received a doctorate in theoretical physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Neilsen received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at BYU and then a doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. Though the two have researched together for a long time now, their paths crossed years before they delved into learning about black holes and neutron stars, including at Texas, where Hirschmann was doing a post-doc while Neilsen was a student.
Neilsen and Hirschmann study general relativity, and their research focuses on black holes, neutron stars, and binaries of the two, such as two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole. Neutron stars contain the densest matter in the universe and are created when a star’s core runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion and gravity overcomes the natural stability of atoms. The nucleus disintegrates and the electrons react with the newly free protons to create a star comprised almost solely of neutrons. When two neutron stars collide together, they can become a hypermassive star, which exists for short times when hot and rapidly rotating. A black hole is formed when a hypermassive star cools and friction slows it down. When black hole and neutron star binaries merge together, they produce gravitational radiation. Neilsen and Hirschmann write computer codes and run simulations to model binary mergers of black holes and neutron stars and the gravitational radiation that they emit. “We’re currently working on a new way of solving the equations—new numerical techniques for solving the equations that will make it faster, more efficient, and allow us to do larger runs,” Neilsen said. Given the recent announcement of the first detections of gravitational waves that were made last year, the two professors hope to learn more about gravitational wave observations and how to more readily detect them in the future.
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“We would like to learn more about neutron stars, what they’re made of, what their structure is, and we hope to learn more about that with gravitational wave observations,” Neilsen said. “Depending on what the star is made of and depending on how stiff the matter in the star is, the neutron stars can disrupt as they start to merge, and that’s something that we hope to be able to detect.” Neutron stars and black holes are difficult to detect because they are infrequent and relatively quiet. “If I know that a car might be approaching me from very far away, if I know something about the car, it’s easier to identify as a car,” Hirschmann said. “What we want to do is identify or detect this radiation, and if we know something about it beforehand, it becomes easier to actually measure or detect.” With last year being the centennial celebration of general relativity and with this year’s announcement of the first detections of gravitational waves, Neilsen and Hirschmann still have a lot of work to do and work that they want to do. “It’s a historical time. During my entire career in relativity people have been talking about when LIGO [Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory] will detect gravitational waves—now it’s actually happening,” Neilsen said. “It’s going to open up a new way for us to understand what’s going on.” Neilsen and Hirschmann hope that their research will lead to more studies in the area of gravitational radiation. “We really have no idea how many black holes are out there,” Neilsen said. “By detecting their mergers, we’ll be able to pin that number down—learn how many black holes there
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are, what sizes they are. We will also learn about neutron stars, and the nuclear matter in the stars. I hope it’s groundbreaking!” The two professors’ passion for studying neutron stars and black holes is ardent, and they already have research projects in the works for the future. “One thing that I started to dabble in is a project that relates to the merger of these compact objects—black holes for instance—but doing so in an alternative description of gravity,” Hirschmann said. “Having now seen such objects merging together, say two black holes colliding, and seeing the gravitational radiation . . . it’s natural to ask, is there more?” For Hirschmann, studying the merger of black holes will lead to a better and more thorough understanding of gravity. “Is there, not just the radiation, but are there other things about this event that can teach us about gravity?” Hirschmann said. “We think we have a good description of gravity, but are there other facts that are lurking beneath the surface? For instance, we don’t believe that we have a quantum theory of gravity . . . might these events lead us or help give us evidence for better ideas that might lead us to a quantum theory of gravity?” Hirschmann thinks that spiraling black holes might give scientists a way of discovering more about gravitational effects, so he and Neilsen have plenty of research to conduct and questions to answer. At the end of the day, Neilsen and Hirschmann love to study compact objects that are billions of light years away. If they did not love it, they would not be scientists. “If you don’t enjoy it, it’s not worth doing,” Neilsen said.
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Chris Chase graduated from BYU in Mathematics and received his Master’s and PhD degrees at Princeton University. He works as a lead system engineer and is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Labs. Chase’s lecture “The Plumbing of the Internet” covers how internet connection works, what factors create internet traffic, and the technical process of solving internet traffic. Chase received the college 2016 Alumni Achievement Award and delivered this lecture during the Homecoming festivities on October 13, 2016.
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EOPLE LOVE THEIR FACEBOOK AND THEIR GOOGLE, but they hate their service providers. I work for one of these large Internet service providers, AT&T, so I want to discuss the “plumbing” of the Internet that delivers services like Facebook and Google. Consumers of the Internet view the Internet as a variety of web services. We use Internet for online shopping, financial services, online banking, music and video, news and other media, and business and personal communications through email and chat. We have social media of all kinds and types. More recently, there is peer-to-peer resource networking like Uber and Airbnb changing business models and entire industries. These are all services most are familiar with, but many people will say they have no idea how it even happens. I want to start out with some numbers. The United States has ninety-two million broadband customers and approximately two hundred million smart phones (Internet-connected devices with data capability). Some people estimate the global Internet traffic in a year is 5,000 petabytes, or 5 billion gigabytes. We can estimate those numbers at one billion DVDs. That’s a lot of traffic. But I want to talk about the networks, the pipes and plumbing that underlie these services. I’ll discuss the technology and capacity of the pipes, traffic patterns, structure of the Internet (a network of networks), and content distribution. First, I want to talk about access. Access is the onramp to the Internet, or what people are buying from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) providers like Comcast, Century Link, or Google Fiber. It’s getting connection from home to the ISP. Historically, these connections are copper wireline technologies, which are limited in the bandwidth they can support. Throughout neighborhoods, copper lines connect to modems, allowing for higher bandwidth. On the other side, services based on fiberglass wires are being built. Today, these services are typically up to a gigabyte.
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In the last decade, wireless has gotten all of our attention because of smart phones. Cellular technologies provide access covering many miles; however, I don’t view Wi-Fi as an access technology. Wi-Fi might be in a home or business as a local area network technology, but a separate wireline service connects that local network to Internet providers. Wireless spectrum is governed by the FCC here in the U.S. and by different organizations in other countries. The FCC regulates usage because we can’t just use whatever spectrum we want. Cordless home phones, microwaves, wireless routers, and house Wi-Fi are all in the unlicensed category, meaning different people can build devices to it, and it’s not controlled. However, the FCC does limit these devices’ amount of power, so Wi-Fi may not even extend to the other side of the house. Wi-Fi is supported at the 2.4GHz band, which suffers interference from many other devices, and at the 5 GHz band, which provides higher bandwidths but poorer reach. On the cellular side, spectrum has been set aside for specific cellular service providers. This licensed spectrum has been allocated to cellular providers separately for each metropolitan area via FCC auctions to the cellular providers. Access is only the onramp to get to the service provider. The Internet is built on little glass wires of light that go everywhere in the world, and these glass wires— interconnected with routers that switch packets between the fibers—are what the Internet is built on. We take different wavelengths (colors) of light and throw them onto a single wire, called wavelength division multiplex, or MUX. Google operates several dozen huge data centers worldwide. The company uses global links between optical MUXs to replicate, for example, all of Google’s YouTube cat videos.
“ LOTS AND LOTS OF CHANNEL COMMUNICATION SIT BENEATH OUR STREETS.”
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Lots and lots of channel communication sit beneath our streets. Many companies share certain fiber paths. These fiber paths connect along major interstate highways and cover the entire country. Undersea cable routes connect the entire world. The traffic load carried by these networks has been very predictable. Internet use grows 34% annually. With that much growth, ISPs need to keep adding capacity. That’s why we need technologies like putting multiple lasers on a digital fiber, or why I have to keep growing speeds on those wavelengths from 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps to 100 Gbps, which is what we are currently deploying. And what are the applications driving this growth? Today’s traffic volume is all about video. On the wireline side, two-thirds of all the Internet traffic being carried is video— Facebook video, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix. On the wireless side, half of it is video. A third of all our Internet traffic is Netflix. High-definition video uses about three to six megabits per second. Music streaming is one-dimensional, compared to video, which is a twodimensional spatial source. In terms of quantity of data, one hour of Netflix HD is about three gigabytes and a New York Times home page, even with all the information there, is only 2 megabytes. Thus, video is dominating the current growth. I think 34% annual traffic growth is huge—when will it stop? But for almost two decades now there has always been some new technology or high-demand service to keep that trend going consistently. The Internet is really just a network of networks. Many, many different ISPs are out there, and they have built connections to each other. Although independent and possessing different business motivations, ISPs agree to connect and exchange traffic.
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The Internet resembles a tier structure. The outer tier, known as tier three, are ISPs whose customers are only individual residences or businesses. These ISPs connect only as customers of other ISPs, through which they reach the rest of the Internet. Reaching the rest of the Internet through another ISP is called transit service. The middle tier, tier two, are ISPs that both provide transit to their customer ISPs and are customers of transit service from other ISPs. Then there’s peering, or networks that agree to connect with each other but only exchange traffic for their own customers. Therefore, the top tier (tier one) is a full mesh of interconnectivity, meaning everyone connects to everyone. Often, when we look at issues about congestion in the Internet, it has very little to do with what’s going on inside these networks and everything to do with these interconnections. We can also classify ISPs by the type of services they focus on. Some are mainly “eyeball” ISPs, providing Internet access to consumers and businesses. Others are mainly transit ISPs, providing reachability to the rest of the Internet for the lower tier ISPs. Some ISPs are content distribution networks (CDNs) that cache content for websites and interconnect to many top tier ISPs to distribute that content. Some ISPs may be a combination of these types.
Different incentives and objectives govern the various types of ISPs. The interconnections and agreements to exchange traffic among ISPs are almost all private. There’s no highway commissioner, no traffic cops, no one to make sure that traffic gets where it needs to go. At home, we may complain and think, “Dang it, why is my internet so slow?” We might be tempted to blame our service provider, but they may have nothing to do with it. These ISPs all have different motivations and different objectives. One objective, for example, is to get minimum-cost networks. A guiding principle to achieve minimum-cost networks is minimum-hop networks. “Minimum-hop” means reducing the count of fiber paths and interconnecting routers (which switch between electrical and optical) because each hop costs money. The minimumhops strategy is similar to airline systems. When there is enough demand between a pair of cities, the airline always prefers a nonstop, direct flight because taking off and landing consumes fuel and is very costly. When there isn’t a lot of demand, aggregation and hubs are very useful. Initially, ISPs will aggregate traffic through a hub, but when there is sufficient demand the ISP will start building direct “express” links.
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This minimum hop objective causes “hotpotato” routing in the ISP peering exchange models. That is, hypothetically, ISP-X will say, “I don’t want to carry the traffic far on my network, so I’m going to use a New York peering link for my East Coast traffic to reach the West Coast in ISP-Y.” ISP-Y then says, “Well, to reach the East Coast of ISP-X from the West Coast, I will use my peering link on the West Coast. I want to get this off my network as soon as I can.” This leads to asymmetry in the paths the traffic takes between East and West coast. This “hot-potato” routing presents a problem because download is much larger than upload: customer download traffic is about eleven times larger than upload at AT&T. Eleven times more traffic could be coming in from the “content” ISP-Y than is returning from “eyeball” ISP-X. Hot potato routing means that ISP-X carries the larger amount of traffic over the longer distance than ISP-Y, putting most of the cost to carry on ISP-X. Tragedy of the commons—the notion that when there is a scarce, high demand resource with no controls, people will hoard and use the resource until it’s gone—fuels the business models and agreements of ISPs.
Limited interconnect capacity and scarce resources like wireless spectrum require disincentive constraints, monetary or other. Creating a workable structure in servicing these resources has resulted in models such as usage quotas and tiered pricing. ISP to ISP interconnects are based on private, two-sided party contracts. Keep in mind that each side has different incentives that, after negotiation, will determine which way and how much money will be exchanged under these contracts. Now, what the right business model is for these contracts is between the two parties to decide. Recently, however, the FCC and other organizations throughout the world are getting involved in trying to regulate and define the business models for these services. Similarly, the business model for applying constraints on servicing scarce resources in an ISP to customer service should be open to the ISP, assuming sufficient competition for that customer’s service. As an example, in the U.S. four, nationwide wireless providers compete for customers. It should not be up to a regulatory body to dictate the “best” or appropriate business model. It’s amazing that the Internet works despite all the differing networks that need to cooperate with each other.
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Your Contributions Help Students Discover the Right Formula Chemistry is more than just beakers and solutions, and for chemistry major Ryjul Stokes, chemistry is about making a huge impact in the world. Unlike most chemistry students, Stokes enrolled in the chemistry major without any prior interest in the subject. He started taking chemistry classes, and it was in a class taught by Dr. David Michaelis that Stokes realized he could make a difference in the world through chemistry. Now in his senior year, Stokes has a passion for research that has led to amazing opportunities outside of the classroom. His mentored research in Dr. Michaelis’s lab led to discovering innovative ways to create drugs and make them more affordable and more accessible. The research also led to finding new methods for making drug development processes more efficient. As a result of his research with Dr. Michaelis, Stokes realized his true passion within chemistry is making a difference in the drug and medicine industry. “I really like understanding how the world works,” Stokes said. “Once you understand how something should work, and what the problem is, you can start thinking about innovative and creative solutions. We hope that the work we do here can help to improve people’s lives.” Stokes’ experiences with Dr. Michaelis have led to many opportunities that have fulfilled his desire to serve through chemistry. He has taken graduate-level classes that helped him become a stronger researcher. Stokes also attended meetings at conferences and had his papers published in scholarly journals. He spent last summer at an internship with the To discuss helping the college with a special gift, contact Brent Hall at 801-422-4501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb where he learned more about drug discovery and development. Stokes still works as a research assistant with Dr. Michaelis’s research group. He also served as co-president of the BYU Molecular Biology Club and is a former president of Y-CHEM, during which time he was a member of the BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Student Advisory Council. He is a member of the BYU Spectroscopy Club and is a member of the American Chemical Society. He has been a recipient of the Boyd A. Waite Scholarship, the Garth L. Lee Undergraduate Teaching Award, and an ORCA Grant. Stokes strongly believes his vast research experiences truly shaped his passion for chemistry. “I went into research not necessarily knowing what I wanted to do,” Stokes said. “I realized that I enjoy thinking about difficult problems, and am driven by the fact that the work we do has the potential to change lives. I truly believe that the research we are doing can make a difference, and I hope that it does.” Donor funds make these educational pursuits possible. Mentored research and learning opportunities outside of the classroom have enabled Stokes and many other students to receive the best possible education. These experiences prepare them for professions in their chosen fields. Many students need financial aid and scholarships to participate in the inspirational learning experiences BYU offers. We invite you to help these students by contributing to a BYU scholarship fund or mentorship program. Please donate at give.byu.edu/cpms.
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