Author: Matthew Andres Moreno

Reflections on My First Semester at MacDonald Middle School

By Matthew Andres Moreno on January 18, 2018 in Education / 0 Comments
Reflections on My First Semester at MacDonald Middle School

Figure 1 The front entrance of MacDonald Middle School. Photo from ELPS district site. As the spring semester winds up, one of the parts of my school week I’m looking forward most to getting back to is working with math students at MacDonald Middle School (Figure 1). Last semester, I spent Monday and Wednesday mornings as a teacher’s assistant in two classrooms — third and fourth period on their schedule. My third period classroom was a sixth grade geometry class. This class covered a lot of really neat common core approaches to solving problems and, in particular, emphasized learning through guided exploration and peer-to-peer interaction. My fourth period classroom was a catch-up class that mostly focused on getting comfortable with performing computations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and going back and forth between fractions and decimals. This […]

Tidbits from a Workshop on Communicating Science

By Matthew Andres Moreno on December 8, 2017 in Goings-On / 0 Comments
Tidbits from a Workshop on Communicating Science

Last Friday, I spent the morning at a workshop on scholarly public communication put on by MSU Communications and Brand Strategy. The workshop, which was titled "Communicating Beyond Journals and Peers: An Introduction to Public Communication," was led by Sheril Krishenbaum and John Besley. I had a great time and took a few tidbits away that I thought would be interesting to share here. Strategic Thinking Figure 1 A bad self-introduction. Don’t do this. How do you introduce yourself? No really, I want you to introduce yourself to me. If it would make you more comfortable, I’ll go first. Hi. I’m Matthew. I’m interested in more rigorously understanding how evolution works so that we can use evolution-inspired techniques to solve practical problems. I work with an awesome interdisciplinary community of evolutionary biologists and computer scientists at […]

Fall Elementary Science Nights

By Matthew Andres Moreno on November 17, 2017 in Education, Goings-On / 0 Comments

We wrapped up our third elementary science night representing BEACON yesterday. At Marble, Whitehills, and Glencairn schools, members of our lab teamed up with other BEACON friends to share clip birds: learning about how form relates to function by foraging for different-sized seeds with different-sized beaks (i.e. different clothespins) hominid skulls: how do the different skull morphologies relate to function and how can we see differences between organisms? geckos: Travis brought live Crested and Leopard geckos to compare and contrast their adaptations… how can we tell that the geckos came from different environments? giant evolutionary timeline: learning about the different animals that lived across evolutionary time. Thanks to these schools for hosting us and all the families that came to visit! We’re looking forward to more elementary science nights in the spring. Until then, here are […]

Happy Halloween from the Devolab!

By Matthew Andres Moreno on October 31, 2017 in Goings-On / 0 Comments
Happy Halloween from the Devolab!

Happy Halloween from the Devolab! Here are some pictures from our pumpkin carving party a few weeks ago. Click through the gallery below to see our lab in action carving pumpkins, a group shot of our creations, and individual photos of our pumpkins. We have some pretty serious pumpkin carvers in the group… a few of us even went the extra mile to polish up their jack-o’-lantern with dental floss!

Introductory Glimpses of Evolvability for Computer Scientists

By Matthew Andres Moreno on October 27, 2017 in Research, Review / 0 Comments
Introductory Glimpses of Evolvability for Computer Scientists

This is one of a series of posts on evolvability. It is based off my undergraduate thesis, which I wrote at the University of Puget Sound under advisors Dr. America Chambers and Dr. Adam Smith. The original thesis is available here. Introductory Glimpses of Evolvability for Computer Scientists How can the structure of an evolving organism affect the phenotypic outcomes of mutational perturbation? We will walk through a thought example that casts this question in a light more familiar to programmers. Computer scientists who have worked on software understand that two pieces of code that meet identical specifications — return identical output for any input given — can differ vastly in difficulty to extend, modify, or maintain. Software implementation, internal structures largely invisible from the perspective of an external interface, accounts for this discrepancy. Computer scientists […]