Mathematics Department

Department News

Annual Math/Computer Science Hike 
This annual event took place October 2nd at Tryon Creek State Park and was well attended by students and faculty from the math and computer science departments.

Math-Stat student featured in article in Reed College magazine
Harpeth Lee, a current Reed Math-Stat senior, is featured in the Reed College magazine article “Through the Looking Glass”.  The college recently received a grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation to obtain a light sheet microscope, which creates highly accurate 3-D images of cells.  This powerful new tool generates a lot of data and this past summer Harpeth, in his role as the inaugural data intern, explored how to harness and store that data.  Harpeth's efforts will help biology, statistics, computer science, and physics students to be able to start exploring and working with this rich new data!

Math-Stat Major Wins Prestigious Statistical Software Award
Simon Couch, a Reed Math-Stat senior, is the 2021 winner of the John M. Chambers Statistical Software Award, which is “given for the development and implementation of computational tools for the statistical profession by a graduate or undergraduate student”.  The competition is co-sponsored by the Statistical Computing and Statistical Graphics Sections of the American Statistical Association. Simon won the award for his R software package, stacks, which allows a user to build ensemble models using tidy data principles.  Simon started stacks while interning at RStudio PBC and has finished the package as part of his Reed senior thesis.  Although stacks has only been on the Comprehensive R Archive Network, a common central repository for R packages, for less than 3 months, it has already been downloaded over 1200 times!  To learn more about the power of stacks, check out Simon’s blog.

Data Visualization Contest
The Reed Stats and CS departments recently hosted a data visualization contest where students formed groups to create their own graphics using US colleges data. Four winners were selected: Gillian McGinnis winning “Most Visually Appealing”, the Mlabbies (Simon Couch, Leila Shokat, Josh Yamamoto, and Ingrid Zoll) winning “Most Informative”, Amrita Sawhney and Simon Ahn with “Best Presentation”, and finally, the Dashing Devils (Alex Flowers, Isabelle Caldwell, Olek Wojcik, Lauren Rabe) taking home “Best Overall”. Everyone’s beautiful visualizations can be found here.

Reed Students Place in a National Stats Project Competition
Two Reed teams placed in the Spring 2020 Undergraduate Statistics Research Project Competition.  Olek Wojcik, Paul Nguyen, and Samuel Olson (otherwise known as the Tree Amigos) were awarded second place for their project entitled "A Comparison of Forest Estimations: Post-Stratification and Generalized Regression Estimators".  Naomi Boss and Timothy Shinners received third place for their project entitled "Vote by Mail: A study on the effects of voting by mail on election turnout in Utah".  To learn more about their projects, visit the competition website

Math-Stats Major Named Goldwater Scholar
Simon Couch ’21 earns national recognition for promise in science and math. Read the full article.

Reed College Student Research, Internships, and Creative Opportunities Showcase
Reed undergraduate Zeki Kazan discusses research to privatize statistical analyses. Watch video.

2019 Spring USRESP Results
Teams tied for 2nd place at the Undergraduate Statistics Research Project Competition. Read full article.

Students Find Glaring Discrepancy in US News Rankings
Study reveals the steep penalty that the rankings giant imposes on Reed. Read the Reed Magazine article and the USA Today article.

The Privacy Puzzle
Reedies win 1st place in national competition for innovative new privacy algorithm. Read full article.

More news

About the Department

Since antiquity, mathematics has been a cornerstone of the liberal arts. It serves as a model of clear reasoning and expression of thought, and its focus on the study of patterns and structures ensures its continued wide-ranging relevance.

Mathematics is the scaffolding of the physical sciences and has exciting new applications in areas such as information science, network theory, cryptography, biology, and theoretical and applied economics. Meanwhile, tools are being developed to solve some of the great long-standing problems of pure mathematics.

There are several paths through mathematics at Reed College. In addition to the major in pure mathematics, we offer a concentration in statistics. There is a standing interdisciplinary major in computer science-mathematics, and recently students have designed ad-hoc interdisciplinary majors such as mathematics-biology and mathematics-political science.

The mathematics department has a strong record of placing its graduates in highly selective Ph.D. programs in pure and applied mathematics, computer science and engineering, statistics and biostatistics, and related fields such as physics and economics. Graduates also pursue careers in the tech industry, finance, law, medicine, and architecture.

Mathematics majors have the opportunity to conduct summer research projects with faculty, attend conferences and present papers, and participate in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. Many students from the department have enrolled in the Budapest Semester in Mathematics program in Hungary or the Mathematics in Moscow program in Russia.