Jeffrey Ward '08 - 2007 Goldwater Scholarship Winner
Jeffrey Ward, a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, became the twelfth Honors Program recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship in the last eight years. Jeff’s research essay for the competition was based upon his thesis research, “Applications of Lattices to Cryptography and Machine Learning.” Of the significance of his project Jeff says, “Specifically learning geometric shapes: Given some points and knowledge of what the shape should be, can you find the boundary for that shape? If so, surprisingly, some cryptosystems can be broken.”
Tino Tamon, Jeff’s advisor, characterizes the significance and interest of his project some what differently: “Jeff’s research lies at the intersection of two diametrically opposite areas: cryptography and machine learning. Cryptography deals with hiding the known, while machine learning is about inferring the unknown. When they meet in a mixture of geometry and numbers, things get irresistibly interesting.”
Jeff was not the only Goldwater Scholarship winner in his family this year; his twin brother, who also majors in math, received one at Youngstown State. Jeff plans on a career in university research and teaching.