McDaniel College student from San Jose and professor research computer science theory

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Computer Science professor Pavel Naumov (center) with junior Brittany Nicholls (right)

WESTMINSTER, MD (06/29/2011)(readMedia)-- McDaniel College student Brittany Nicholls of San Jose, Calif., and Computer Science professor Pavel Naumov are collaborating this summer on a student-faculty research project that immerses them in the complex world of theoretical computer science.

The junior, who has won a $17,000 grant from the Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, studies the abstract concepts of Computer Science and intersects with both Mathematics and Economics.

Nicholls and Naumov have been partnered in research since last summer, when they examined information flow. This July they will travel to the Netherlands to present their paper at the Theoretical Aspects of Rationality and Knowledge conference. Nicholls was awarded a $1,200 national travel scholarship for women to attend the conference in Groningen.

Game theory, Nicholls and Naumov's current topic, was first popular among social scientists and economists, according to Naumov. Within the concepts of conflict and strategy, it examines actions a "player" may take to secure advantageous outcomes, at the loss of the other. This makes it applicable in an infinite number of real-world situations.

Naumov cites Coke and Pepsi in the advertising game. While competing companies, each must take into account the other's actions in order to fulfill their own interests. This can also be applied to strategies of government, war, and social intercourse.

McDaniel College, recognized nationally among 40 Colleges that Change Lives and U.S. News top-tier liberal arts colleges, is a four-year private college of the liberal arts and sciences offering more than 60 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 20 highly regarded graduate programs. Its hallmark faculty-student collaborations in research, teaching and mentoring plus hundreds of leadership and service opportunities enrich a lively learning experience that is rooted in a personalized interdisciplinary and global curriculum. Innovative January courses take students to points all over the world while McDaniel's degree-granting European campus offers a unique opportunity for international study at the only American university in Budapest, Hungary. A diverse and close-knit community of 1,600 undergraduates and 1,560 part-time graduate students, McDaniel's spectacular 160-acre hilltop campus in Westminster, Md., is an hour or less from Baltimore, D.C., the Chesapeake Bay, the Amtrak station and Baltimore-Washington international airport.