WOOSTER, Ohio – Avi Vajpeyi, a senior at The College of Wooster, was awarded “Best Paper Presentation” at the 2017 Midstates Conference for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science and Mathematics (MCURSCM), hosted by DePauw University. The honor stemmed from his original research for junior Independent Study and was titled “Chaotic Scattering in Hill and Valley Systems.”
Vajpeyi, who is double majoring in computer science and physics and originally from Kolkata, India, developed an interactive computer simulation with a graphical user interface to study the dynamics of a mass sliding frictionlessly among hills and valleys. He successfully demonstrated that tiny changes from initial conditions could produce large changes in the scattering of the slider.
“What I really liked about this conference was … it was peer reviewed, so I took back comments from people who were in the field of work of I was doing. I found that really awesome seeing that they actually liked my work and that they could see potential applications,” commented Vajpeyi.
According to John Lindner, professor of physics at Wooster and a co-advisor of Vajpeyi’s, chaotic systems are common in nature, with weather being a very practical example. His other co-advisor was Denise Byrnes, associate professor of computer science.
“I find it really amazing that force is a vector, it has a direction … and you can take a force and make it into a potential, then map that potential onto a plain. This is basically like a tool that can help you visualize potentials,” Vajpeyi further explained.
Vajpeyi has completed two internships in gravitational physics research, one working at Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), operated by Caltech, and the other with the Virgo group in Rome, and after graduation in May, he plans to pursue an advanced degree in physics while continuing to research.
The MCURSCM invites undergraduate students, along with their faculty sponsors/mentors, to submit papers on original research. It seeks submissions of high quality in which the student is featured as the lead author and contributes at least half the prose of the paper.