Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Sam Von Ehren

Activities? Besides performing in five different music ensembles (the Orchestra, Chorale, Chamber Singers, Guitar Ensemble, and the Jazz Band), I also play in club and intramural soccer, run tournaments as president of the Competitive Gaming League, and accidentally memorize random student names while working at the post office. Besides that I play games, occasionally write, and program my own video games

Why Wheaton? I think the small size enables (forces?) the professors to not only know who you are, but really get after you about things you should or should not be doing. For example: I (pretend to) play double bass, and when the conductor of the orchestra heard there was a double bassist on campus, he hunted me down to get me to join. It’s the sort of treatment you just don’t get at other schools.

Favorite class and/or professor? My favorite class by far has been Computer Graphics with Mike Gousie, not only because of how interesting and intense the topic is, but also because it relates directly to what I want to do with my life. Although doing graphics projects was like having a full time job, it was the first time I could show my computer science projects off to non-CS people. Even though I think algorithm design and analysis is fascinating, everyone agrees that Dragon Fractals are super cool.

Game Theory: I’ve been doing research with Tom Armstrong on the Finitely Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, a popular subject in Game Theory. We have written a paper proposing a taxonomy of strategies for the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma which we plan to submit to a conference.

A. I.: I’ve also been busy this semester with a class creating an artificial intelligence to play Starcraft, an extremely complicated game that is still popular 15 years after its initial release. The project has been extreme amounts of work, with some triumphs and some defeats, but hopefully we’ll have things together by September when we’ll ship it off to this big international Ai competition for Starcraft. I’ve spent most of my time in class coming up with a battery of strategies (tricks) that specifically exploit the fact that my opponent is an artificial intelligence and not an adaptive human.

Favorite sport? Definitely Soccer. I played soccer when I was a kid and loved it. I was able to get back into it when I came to Wheaton.