Welcome to the December edition of the eNewsletter, and happy holidays and a very merry Christmas from everyone here at CPMS! As we wind down yet another great year here at BYU, we send you our warmest wishes. I hope this message finds you well this Christmas season and that all your holiday festivities are filled with hope and joy.

With the Christmas season comes the spirit of charity and giving. In that spirit, I would like to encourage each of you, no matter where you live, to seek out opportunities to serve others and bring a little Yule cheer to your family, your friends and those who are less fortunate. And I commend all of you who spread Christmas cheer in this uplifting and inspiring way.

As we eagerly await the holiday excitement, we also look back and reflect on the year’s achievements. Here in the college, we’ve had an exciting year charged with great events, and our faculty, students and alumni have accomplished remarkable goals.

We were fortunate to see continued growth in grant funding and student mentorship participation. This has opened up even more cutting edge research opportunities for our faculty and students, which resulted in our college leading the university in disclosures and patent applications for the third consecutive year. We are very proud of this great research, and we look forward to seeing it grow and flourish further in the future.

Likewise, we also look forward to yet another year of successfully preparing and educating our students to excel in their chosen fields. In 2011, students from nearly every department earned prestigious awards for their academic excellence, and our geological sciences team won the international Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ Challenge Bowl, a very impressive achievement — and those are just a few of the many honors bestowed on our talented and promising students.

But I’d better stop myself now, even though I could go on for hours about the great progress within the college. Unfortunately, I'm afraid many of you would stop reading if I did. From the many distinguished guest lecturers who visited campus to the new Little Stream Research and Design table installed in the geology lab and everything in between, 2011 has been a great year for the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. It's been my privilege to be a part of it.

And in that spirit, we hope for even better things in 2012 — both for the college here in Provo and for you and your family wherever you may be. As always, I believe great things are just around the corner, and I look forward to all of us discovering and experiencing them together.

Thank you for your endless support this year (and every year.) And Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Japanese Youth Visit Campus
Mirrors and Chemical Separations
Undergrads Win Chem Conference
New Rising Science Fiction Writer
Dino Adventures at the Museum
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Giving to the College
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Fall/Winter 2011 Issue & Videos

Christmas Greetings from the deans!




BYU undergraduate computer science student Tobias Kin Hou Lei has created a bird’s-eye view of crime by analyzing tweets across the nation.

But he wasn’t just winging it — Lei participated in a six-week long research project aiming to take crime prevention into the future.

While at the Data Sciences Summer Institute (DSSI), a research program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Lei and students from multiple universities developed a new program using Twitter. Their program takes updates from individual users (i.e. tweets) and uses machine-learning and data-mining approaches to classify them in relation to different crime groups. Once they’ve been sorted, they are entered into a database for analysis. Since July, 1.2 billion tweets have been classified and entered into the database, with more being added everyday.

The data can be used to compare changes in crime that show differences over time between specific cities’ crime rates and even to generate a live map showing when and where people are tweeting about crime. Yahoo! honored Lei’s group as having the best DSSI project this year, and each student in the group received a scholarship award.

A program like the one designed by Lei’s research group has a variety of potential uses. Lei was most excited about using the program as an early warning system to help prevent coordinated crime efforts or terrorist attacks.

“If we get a lot of data from a resource like Twitter and can find a pattern from the data, then we can do something about it,” Lei said.

Follow this link for the rest of the story.


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