Baylor Student Develops New Mathematical Concept

March 5, 2009

by Lillyan Baker, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

A spark of curiosity and the encouragement from a professor has led a Baylor University student to transform the mathematical world by coming up with a new mathematical concept benefiting the study of finance.

Myles Baker, a Baylor sophomore, originally was an architecture major, but transferred to the mathematics department after becoming fascinated by his calculus class taught by Dr. Qin Sheng, professor of mathematics at Baylor.

"The motivation for this project was curiosity," Baker said. "The capability of the mind is only limited by potential."

As a mathematics student, Baker happened upon an undergraduate paper by Brian Jain, a senior biology major from San Antonio that uses Taylor's Theorem, a practice apart of Calculus II. Baker continued his research to develop a theory for solving the Black-Schole's equation in finance. Baker discussed his findings with Sheng who specialized in this area and Sheng agreed to serve as Baker's project advisor and mentor.

The Black-Scholes equation is used to evaluate option pricing in the field of financial mathematics. Baker's developments can make an educated guess on how the market will act according to certain principles.

Baker spoke at the Texas Oklahoma Regional Undergraduate Symposium (TORUS) which was held at Abilene Christian University on Saturday, Feb. 28. The symposium is held for students interested in undergraduate mathematics.

"While everyone isn't engaged in undergraduate research, it is but a fragment of the multitude of students working to develop their own intellectual capacities, meet their goals and define their potential and work ethic," Baker said.

Sheng received his doctorate at the University of Cambridge. He traveled the world by teaching at the University of London, National University of Singapore, University of Louisiana and the University of Dayton located in Ohio.

Sheng serves on editorial boards of several scholarly journals and special research issues. His projects have been supported by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory and U.S. Department of Defense.

In April, Baker will give another lecture at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Texas Regional Meeting in Denton.