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College of Arts and Sciences Mathematics

Mathematics prof wins NSF grant to help stabilize power grid

Bala KrishnamoorthyThe rapid adoption of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, poses new threats to the stability of modern power systems across the United States and worldwide.

To address these risks and help ensure a steady supply of energy to homes and businesses, a Washington State University mathematics professor has received a $200,000, three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to examine worst-case impacts of increasing uncertainties in power flow—such as from renewable energy sources. » More …

Researcher encounters rare, elusive beaked whales off coast of Ireland

Rare sighting off the coast of Ireland of elusive beaked whale. (photo by Ashley Bennison)A researcher at WSU Vancouver encountered rare and elusive beaked whales while on a research vessel west of Ireland last month.

Enrico Pirotta, a post doc in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was on the last days of a six-day cruise when the crew had several sightings. The first sightings were too far away for positive identifications, but on the final day the crew saw four separate groups of breaching whales, according to an online log of the Ireland-based Marine Institute in Galway. » More …

Tree growth model assists breeding for more wood

Trees at edge of a lakeA meeting in a forest between a biologist and a mathematician could lead to thicker, faster growing trees.

“Mathematicians like translating biological processes into numbers,” said Andrei Smertenko, assistant professor in Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry. “I’m a biologist, and I want to help grow stronger, better trees.”

Breeding trees is a time-consuming and imprecise field, with breeders relying on a few genetic markers and what they can see. It takes years before they see the traits they’re looking for in a young tree. To help speed things up, » More …

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