Values of Honors Contracts to Students and Instructors

Published: October 17, 2016

By Dr. Kwang Hyun Kim, Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science Department

The Honors Program is a great challenge for students since it requires an additional effort beyond the course requirements. The instructor also needs to prepare for extra topics for the Honors contract. But I keep advertising honors contracts and recruiting new students every semester since I believe that it is helpful both to students and myself. Some of the students could not complete their project successfully, but I think it was still valuable to them.

Last spring, I worked with Danny Philantrope on C++ implementations of inverse matrices. In mathematics, we can find an inverse matrix of a given matrix by using the Gaussian Elimination if it is invertible. Unfortunately, we cannot use it directly in a computer programming since a computer only covers a certain amount of real numbers. We could overcome this numerical stability problem by using new ideas such as partial pivots. We also used other approaches like LU and QR decompositions. Even though he did not study linear algebra before, he quickly studied many topics of this topic from this concrete project.

From this honors contract, both of us learned a lot. I hope to continue helping students via this opportunity this spring 2016.

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