By Brandon Edgbert

Predicting the Educational Needs of Pastors for the Center for Pastoral Leadership

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Greg Crow and Dr. Maria Zack

Abstract:

The Center for Pastoral Leadership is working to improve the educational resources made available to the pastors and lay leaders in the educational region. In order to help that effort a research team from the Mathematical, Information and Computer Sciences Department of PLNU administered a survey of the pastors, with the aim of learning about their educational background, as well as continuing educational needs. Once we had received responses from the survey we began to develop descriptive statistics, and from there looked for statistical predictors. The question that was asked was “Can we predict the educational needs of a pastor based on knowing information such as race, age, experience, previous education, etc. of the pastor?"

 

By Tyler Gray

Quantitative Analysis of Alumni Survey Data

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Greg Crow and Dr. Maria Zack

Abstract:

In conjunction with PLNU, I will be writing and conducting a survey of the University’s alumni. Alumni will be notified of the survey and will be given the opportunity to take the survey either by hand or on the web. After the survey process has been completed, the data will be cleaned and analyzed. The final goal of this project to obtain a data base of alumni with information about there current profession and how that may relate to their time here at PLNU. Questions will be asked about their college major, their current profession, the professions they held one, five, and ten years removed from college. The survey will also consist of questions pertaining to any graduate school they attended. The hope is that, with this information, the University can do a better job preparing students for their future and link current students with alumni mentors.

 

By Jessica Hill

Enriching High School Mathematics Through the History of Geometry

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Brad Whitaker

Abstract:

This was an in depth research project of various prominent mathematicians that contributed significantly to geometry, and how the history of their lives was used as a motivator to enrich students’ learning of mathematics. Historical based lesson plans were designed for high school geometry classes to enrich students understanding of the subject area. These lesson plans were taught in high school classes to give students new insights and perspectives in mathematics as well as to motivate them to learn the material in a practical and meaningful way.

 

By Heather Lausch

Merging Faith and Mathematics: Quantitative Analysis in Aid of PLNU Institutional Research

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Greg Crow and Dr. Maria Zack

Abstract:

I will be administering a survey to the Nazarene pastors in the southwest region. Once the data is gathered and cleaned, a demographic analysis will be performed on the data to determine the educational needs of the pastors in the region. The data will be clustered by common educational interests and geographic locations to determine where PLNU can meet the educational needs of these pastors. The data will also be grouped by what language these seminars or classes should be given in and the manner of delivery (workshops, classes, on-line delivery, etc). And finally, a report will be generated for the Point Loma Nazarene University Center for Pastoral Leadership so that they can decide how to best provide educational support for the pastors and churches in the region.

 

By Scott Osborne

Introduction to Computers: A Liberal Arts Approach

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Lori Carter

Abstract:

This paper addresses the need to revise Point Loma Nazarene University’s current Introduction to Computers (CSC122) course. A new course is proposed that will, in accordance with the liberal arts focus of the school, make computer science more applicable to the many varied departments on campus. The proposed course will be divided up into separate modules, each concentrating on different subjects as they relate to computer science. A few of the themes include, but are not limited to: internet use and understanding, use of excel for the business world, presentation technology, relational databases for business and science, and programming for beginners. The hope is that PLNU would be able to realistically implement these classes within the Mathematics, Information and Computer Science department to better equip students of all majors for the future.

 

By Todd Royal

Modern Encryption Algorithms and their Applications

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Jesus Jimenez

Abstract:

In this paper, we will be examining the problem of securing data transmissions through the implementation of data encryption. We will explore two separate algorithms used in the encryption of data: RSA and ElGamal. These algorithms will be explained via specific examples using Maple code. Additionally, a discussion which gives a brief overview of the General Number Field Sieve (GNFS), which is used to compromise RSA encryption, is provided.  The intent of these discussions is to make the abstract concepts that are involved in modern cryptosystems clearer by providing more concrete explanations of the ideas.

 

By Amy Swen

Analysis of Survey Data on Student Spiritual Disciplines

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Greg Crow and Dr. Maria Zack

Abstract:

This honors thesis, in aid of institutional research, seeks to answer questions regarding freshman students’ participation in the spiritual disciplines prior to attending Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), in an effort to better create developmental programming that addresses students needs. Data analysis was done to aid in understanding the factors that influence students’ participation in the disciplines. These findings then serve as the basis for recommendations.

 

By David Winn

Improving System Performance with a Caching Filesystem Overlay Module

Spring 2007

Advisor: Dr. Lori Carter

Abstract:

Since computers began showing up in the homes of consumers, the biggest problem has been that storage which is fast enough to work well has been expensive and small, whereas slow storage is cheap and can be obtained in large quantities. We have attempted to apply the principle of caching to slow pieces of storage, which are abstracted by the operating system into a filesystem. To do so, we created a virtual filesystem module for the Linux kernel which will allow the user to specify any two portions of the file hierarchy and use one to seamlessly cache access to the other.

 

By Luke Jernejcic

Success in CS: Is Culture a Factor?

Summer 2006

Advisor: Dr. Lori Carter

Abstract:

The research presented in this paper investigated the possibility that the factors that have been shown to be correlated with success in Computer Science could be influenced by culture. Two Sudanese students have recently been through our department. While they excelled in academic areas often connected to success in Computer Science, they were unable to gain an understanding of programming at the same rate as fellow class members. Considering their backgrounds, we began to wonder if perhaps there was a cultural aspect to their apparent inability to grasp the programming concepts as efficiently as their U.S. born peers. Drawing on past research from multiple disciplines, we determined that there was indeed likelihood that this is the case for them and for students of other cultures in general. In this paper we report on the evidence found to support this conclusion. In addition we show that attention to the variation in math background, learning styles, personality traits, and comfort levels due to background, can make a significant difference in the ability of students from a variety of cultures to learn Computer Science.

 

By Megan Low

Towards a Theoretical Model of Learning Arbitrarily Complex Tasks

Summer 2006

Advisor: Dr. Jeff McKinstry

Abstract:

There seems to be no limit on the type of tasks that humans can learn to perform, yet how the brain can learn complex tasks remains a mystery. We test a model of learning which in theory is capable of learning any task which can be represented by a Turing Machine. We tested this model on a matching task used by psychologists and neuroscientists to assess the limits of working memory, and demonstrate that the model is capable of learning such a task.

 

By Catherine Marcarelli

Towards a Computational Model of Consciousness

Summer 2006

Advisor: Dr. Jeff McKinstry

Abstract:

We explore the idea that consciousness is the ability to simulate the world in order to optimize behavior. A computer simulation of an autonomous agent was created in which the agent had to learn to explore its world and learn (using Bayesian Networks) that pushing a block into a hole would lead to a reward. Afterward, the agent was placed in a novel situation, and had to plan ahead via "mental" simulation to solve a novel problem. After learning the environment, the agent was able to solve the novel problem. In animal learning this type of behavior is called insight learning, and has been argued to be indirect evidence of consciousness in the absence of language. This work has implications for testing for consciousness in animals.