Denison University’s 178th Commencement took place on Saturday, May 18. Watch the ceremony in its entirety including commencement keynote speaker Jennifer Garner ’94.
Jessen Havill joined the Denison faculty in 1998, having spent the six prior years studying at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dr. Havill teaches courses across the computer science curriculum, in both theory and systems, although his specialty is in theory-related courses like Discrete Mathematics, Data Structures, and Algorithm Design and Analysis. He is also very interested in developing courses that explore connections between computer science and other disciplines. In 2009, he developed and started teaching a new introductory computer science course (CS 111: Foundations of Computing for Scientific Discovery) that introduces the principles of computer science in the context of scientific modeling and simulation. In 2012, he and Jeff Thompson, a colleague in the Biology Department, began teaching an interdisciplinary computational biology course (CS/BIOL 309: Computational Biology). In 2013, Dr. Havill was awarded Denison’s Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award.
My research largely focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms for online network routing and machine scheduling problems. An online algorithm is one that processes its input one element at a time instead of all at once like a traditional algorithm. For example, an online room scheduling algorithm would have to assign a room to each event as it "arrives" without knowing what events might need to be scheduled later. Online algorithms usually cannot come up with optimal solutions due to their lack of knowledge about the future. Instead, we try to design algorithms that find solutions that are provably within some factor of optimal. I have also recently developed an interest in problems in computational biology.