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Samuel Micka

Samuel Micka

Assistant Professor of Computer Science


Ph.D., Montana State University, Computer Science, May 8, 2020
B.S., University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Computer Science, January 23, 2015


I grew up in rural Wisconsin and lived in Montana for about six years during graduate school. I developed a passion for algorithms and geometry during my undergraduate degree and continued pursuing these interests throughout my PhD where I was advised by Dr. Brittany Fasy. I started running in undergraduate and this hobby grew into countless terribly expensive outdoor activities.

How did you discover Western?

I always wanted to end up at a teaching-oriented university where I could focus on helping students develop a passion for computer science. Early in my graduate school career I was told about Western by a friend. Staying in the mountains and continuing to play outside while focusing on education was exactly what I had always hoped for. I visited Gunnison during some backcountry skiing and running trips over the years and always hoped that I might, some day, have the opportunity to work and live here.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

Teaching my first course (Discrete Structures) at Montana State University was a fantastic experience. I always thought that I wanted to teach, and having the opportunity to run my own course reaffirmed this belief. Seeing students develop a passion for the material in a notoriously difficult course was, and always will be, fulfilling.

What most excites you about your field?

I really enjoy developing efficient solutions to complex problems. My research background is in algorithms, computational topology, and computational geometry. Outside of research, I enjoy teaching and getting students interested in computer science and mathematics.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

Access to skiing, climbing, running, and anything else you could want in the outdoors. Additionally, the crowds are minimal, and the cold is fantastic!

Courses Taught

  • HWTR 100: Computing and Open Spaces
  • CS 190: Computer Science I
  • CS 191: Computer Science II
  • CS 280: Data Structures
  • CS 320: Programming Languages
  • CS 397: ST Theory of Computation
  • CS 470: Algorithms
  • CS 495: Capstone
  • CS 497/MATH 397: ST Computational Geometry


Efficient Graph Reconstruction and Representation Using Augmented Persistence Diaigrams. Brittany Terese Fasy, Samuel Micka, David L. Millman, Daniel Salinas, Anna Schenfisch, and Lucia Williams.

  • Conference Paper 2022: Canadian Conference on Computational Geometry [Note: minor error in proof of Theorem 8 in appendix, see most up to date version here (Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada)

Searching and Reconstruction: Algorithms with Topological Descriptors Samuel Micka

  • PhD Dissertation 2020

2020 Bring the Page to Life: Engaging Rural Students in Computer Science using Alice. Brittany Terese Fasy, Stacey Hancock, Samuel Micka, Barbara Komlos, Brendan Kristiansen, and Allison Theobold. –

  • Conference Paper 2020: Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education

Reconstructing Plane Graphs from Persistence Diagrams. Robin Lynne Belton, Brittany Terese Fasy, Rostik Mertz, Samuel Micka, David L. Millman, Daniel Salinas, Anna Schenfisch, Jordan Schupbach, and Lucia Williams.

  • Journal Paper 2019: Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications
  • Conference Paper 2018: Canadian Conference on Computational Geometry [arXiv] (University of Manitoba, Canada)

First Steps Towards Lower-Bounding the Number of Topological Descriptors for Reconstruction. Samuel Micka and David L. Millman.

  • Abstract 2019: Symposium on Computational Geometry Young Researchers Forum (Oregon State University, OR)

Challenges in Reconstructing Shapes from Euler Characteristic Curves. Brittany Terese Fasy, Samuel Micka, David L. Millman, Anna Schenfisch, and Lucia Williams.

  • Abstract 2018: Fall Workshop on Computational Geometry [arXiv] (Queens College, NY)

American Indian Storytelling with Alice. Samuel Micka, Jachiike Maduboku, Brittany Terese Fasy, Allison Theobold, and Stacey A. Hancock.

  • Poster 2018: Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (Baltimore, MD)

The Minimum Road Trips Problem. Samuel Micka and Brendan Mumey.

  • Abstract 2017: Fall Workshop on Computational Geometry (Stony Brook University, NY)

Efficient Multipath Flow Monitoring. Samuel Micka, Sean Yaw, Brittany Terese Fasy, Brendan Mumey, and Mike P. Wittie.

  • Conference Paper 2017: International Federation for Information Processing Networking Conference (Stockholm, Sweden)

Optimal Program-Size Complexity for Self-Assembled Squares at Temperature 1 in 3D. David Furcy, Samuel Micka, and Scott M. Summers.

  • Journal Paper 2016: Algorithmica
  • Conference Paper 2015: International Workshop on DNA-Based Computers [arXiv] [Best Student Paper] (Boston and Cambridge, MA)

pcp: Internet Latency Estimation Using CDN Replicas. Samuel Micka, Utkarsh Goel, Hanlu Ye, Mike P. Wittie, and Brendan Mumey.

  • Conference Paper 2015: International Conference on Computer Communication and Networks (Las Vegas, NV)

Unpublished Works in Progress

Persistence Diagrams for Efficient Simplicial Complex Reconstruction. Brittany Terese Fasy, Samuel Micka, David L. Millman, Anna Schenfisch, Lucia Williams.

Too Many or Too Few? Sampling Bounds for Topological Descriptors Brittany Terese Fasy, Samuel Micka, and David L. Millman.

Approximate Nearest Neighbors in the Space of Persistence Diagrams. Brittany Terse Fasy, Xiaozhou He, Zhihui Liu, Samuel Micka, David L. Millman, and Binhai Zhu. [arXiv]

Computer Science Students’ Perspectives on Plagiarism. Brittany Terese Fasy, Stacey Hancock, Samuel Micka, David L. Millman, James Soddy, and Allison Theobold

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