Dr. Matt Klassen earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1993, specializing in number theory and algebraic geometry. Since joining DigiPen in 1999, his interests moved to mathematics relating to computer graphics and geometric modeling with particular emphasis on splines. He went on to develop special courses on quaternions with application to computer graphics and animation, and spline curves through the perspective of linear algebra. Some of this course work led to a paper: “Generalized Vandermonde Determinants and Splines,” presented at a conference in honor of Peter Borwein, May 2008, at Simon Fraser University.
Klassen also developed an interest in combinatorial game theory and has been teaching a course in the subject which is attended by undergraduate and graduate students in computer science. At least one graduate student chose to do a masters thesis in this area under the supervision of professor Klassen, entitled “Solving the 4x3x3 Three Dimensional Domineering Game.”
Relating more to his original studies in geometry and number theory, Klassen explored non-associative structures on curves, which led to a paper presentation: “Non-Associative Loops on Fermat Curves of Odd Degree,” Summer Workshop on Computational Number Theory, IRMACS Center, Simon Fraser University, September 2009.
In 2011, Dr. Klassen laid the groundwork for two new programs at DigiPen, requested by President Claude Comair: the BA in Music and Sound Design, and the BS in Computer Science in Digital Audio (originally BS in Engineering and Sound Design). He has taught courses in Mathematics of Music (for the BA program), and in Digital Signal Processing (for the BS program). In spring semester 2018, Klassen will teach a special topics course on “Computation and Modeling of Head-Related Transfer Functions,” which will explore methods of spatial sound processing with applications for virtual and augmented reality. This course precedes an international conference in August 2018 called “Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality,” hosted by DigiPen. The conference is chaired by Klassen, and jointly organized by DigiPen and Dr. Edgar Choueiri at Princeton University 3D3A Lab.
“DigiPen provides a dynamic context for teaching and learning mathematics,” Klassen says. “Students are highly motivated and generally appreciate the power of mathematics, which shows up in their project work in signal processing, graphics and game development.”