Paul Mach ’05

Paul Mach

Hometown: Oakland, CA
Major: Computer Science and Computational Mathematics

Mathematics has always interested me because it can reveal patterns and relationships in a complex world. And I majored in Computer Science and Computational Mathematics because they share some of the same specific characteristics and both attempt to simplify chaotic situations.

SPU laid the foundation for my future in math, and the upper-division classes enhanced my passion for higher-level applied mathematics. “Numerical Analysis” was a course that includes mathematics and computing by mixing engineering with pure formulas. That course sparked my interest with the mixture of computer science and math, because it revealed how the two can be used in conjunction under the constraints of real-world situations.

Throughout my studies, Dr. Wai Lau mentored and encouraged me to continue my studies in graduate school. Without him, I would not have received my doctorate degree or married my wife — we met in his class. Under his influence, I decided to pursue a degree in Applied Mathematics at University of California, Davis.

After graduating and moving to Northern California, I became heavily involved in the cycling community. After running for both the cross-country and track teams at SPU, cycling was an easy transition. Riding with the Bissel Pro Cycling Team for three years led me to connect with Strava, a social networking company primarily for runners and cyclists.

Before finishing my doctoral program, I began working for Strava by analyzing a large part of the company’s GPS data. My job involved tracking millions of bike rides around the world and deciphering which kinds of patterns can be formed from that information. By working on projects that involve building heat maps, correcting road network geometry, and detecting popular stopping locations, I got to combine the knowledge I acquired at SPU to help cyclists have better rides around the globe.

And now I have just accepted a new job at Cisco in research and development as the technical lead.

 Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson ’13

Amanda Johnson’s internship transitioned into a full-time position in the health care industry, where she’s now making an impact on countless individuals.