St. Mary’s College of Maryland has been awarded a $97,361 grant, jointly funded by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program and vCalc LLC. The grant will fund student research and development of high-value, college-level math formulas and data for vCalc.com, a Wiki-based crowd-sourced calculating encyclopedia with over 7,000 calculators and users in over 100 countries.
vCalc Chief Executive Officer Kurt Heckman and Chief Financial Officer Dave Reumont joined St. Mary’s College President Tuajuanda C. Jordan on the College campus Tuesday for an event to kick off the project, which will commence with eight undergraduate students this summer.
“I am pleased that St. Mary’s College of Maryland continues to garner recognition for the excellent educational experience afforded to our students via close collaborative efforts with our faculty,” said Jordan. “Thanks to the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program for funding to support this important collaboration between the College and vCalc.”
“We are very excited to work with St. Mary’s College of Maryland,” said Heckman. “[St. Mary’s College] has expertise that is really tremendously valuable to us as a corporation, but what we are very excited about is that this expertise is also valuable to the global community.”
St. Mary’s College faculty serving on the project are principal investigator Randolph Larsen, associate professor of chemistry and co-investigators Richard Platt, associate professor of psychology; Emek Köse, assistant professor of mathematics; Shizuka Nishikawa, assistant professor of economics; and Josh Grossman, associate professor of physics.
Tuesday’s event also served as a platform to recognize two St. Mary’s College students, Rachel Kaper and Tyler Jones, who competed and placed in vCalc’s 2015 international software contest, Coding for Community.
Kaper, a third-year math major with a double minor in computer science and dance, placed fourth in the competition for her equation, “Are Cyclic Groups Isomorphic.”
Jones, a second-year double major in physics and computer science with a minor in math, was the competition’s overall winner with his invention of a Price Comparison Calculator, a tool consumers can use at grocery stores via vCalc’s free mobile app to quickly and easily compare items and determine best buys based on weight/volume.
“I think vCalc has the potential to become a very powerful tool for everything from finances to education to construction,” said Jones.