Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Computer Sciences

Data analysis, text mining drives literary research

outdoor portraitEnglish major Matthew Jockers wasn’t always a computer whiz. The new dean of the WSU College of Arts and Sciences recalls a class in high school in which he struggled to program a mainframe to print out his name. “It was that tricky,” he says.

A love of reading, writing, and literature led him to become a very good coder indeed. Jockers is an expert in R, a programming language he uses to write the pattern-detecting algorithms at the heart of his research. Jockers uses it to analyze texts—lots and lots of text. One wag wrote that Jockers may be the only literature professor to assign 1,200 novels in a single class. » More …

$3M interdisciplinary grant to pursue epigenetic biomarkers

Michael Skinner in his laboratoryWashington State University researchers have received nearly $3 million from the John Templeton Foundation, the second such grant in four years, to see if they can anticipate and prevent diseases by developing epigenetic biomarkers that could provide early stage diagnostics for disease susceptibility. Their approach would be a departure from traditional “reactionary medicine,” which treats diseases after they develop, as well as from diagnoses based on an individual’s genetic profile. » More …

German double major selected as a Rhodes Scholar finalist

smiling student, outsideRyan Summers graduated from WSU on December 9 with a sensational resume: a first degree in computer engineering, a soon-to-be completed second degree in German, his name on a patent, selection as a Rhodes Scholar finalist, numerous awards for outstanding scholarship and undergraduate research, and a 4.0 GPA. The 22-year-old has also completed an international internship, delivered a research presentation in China, and held coveted summer jobs at Elon Musk’s California tech company SpaceX.

It’s an impressive set of achievements. In addition, Summers is determined to do his part to make the world a better place—a goal he’s already advanced as an undergraduate. » More …