The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 3, Number 8

April 9, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Topic In Depth


Stanford University: Dynamic Spectrum Management [pdf, Powerpoint]

Dynamic Spectrum Management (DSM) is a research program within the Space, Telecommunications, and Radioscience (STAR) Laboratory, a research group of the Department of Electrical Engineering of Stanford University. Researchers at DSM are investigating the potential for DSM to be used in multiuser environments, with particular emphasis on DSL and wireless transmission channels. Broadly speaking, topics covered through their research on DSM for DSL include: Channel Identification Methods, Spectrum Balancing, Vectored Transmission Methods, and Multiuser Detection. The website provides information on these different areas and links to related publications. The Tutorials section offers some papers and presentations explaining the basics of Dynamic Spectrum Management. A separate section includes papers on Standards Contributions. [VF]

NTIS on Homeland Security

The National Technical Information Service offers this website with technical and research reports received during the last month related to homeland security. Grouped into two categories, On the Homefront and Beyond Our Borders. Topics addressed include Air Cargo Security, Biosecurity, Border Security and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Diplomacy of Counterterrorism. Visitors must pay to download the reports, but abstracts are available for browsing free of charge. [VF]

Engineering Village 2

Elsevier Engineering Information has made the U.S. National Technical Information Service (NTIS) database through the Engineering Village 2. The NTIS database includes unclassified reports from U.S. and international government agencies. Through Engineering Village 2, an interdisciplinary engineering database, subscribers can now search three engineering databases simultaneously, accessing over 9-million records referencing 5,000 engineering journals and conference materials dating from 1884 and continuing into the present (with updates posted weekly). After searching, users are given the mechanism to order the document(s). Librarians and engineers offer additional assistance via email for those hard-to-locate documents. The News section provides news feeds on Engineering through LexisNexis. [VF]

Princeton University: Annals of Mathematics [PDF, PostScript]

The Annals of Mathematics is a bimonthly publication, which is "intended to serve the mathematical community." Originally, founded in 1884 by Ormond Stone of the University of Virginia, and later published by Harvard University, the Annals are now published by Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. The website provides information for authors, including submission guidelines and information subscriptions to the Annals. An online index from issues published since 1994, as well as links to both AMS Reviews of the articles when available and electronic copies makes this articles highly accessible. Articles from 1884-1994 are available through JSTOR (link provided). [VF]

UC Berkeley: Webcast of EECS Annual Research Symposium [wmv, PDF]

The Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) at UC Berkeley hosted its first annual BEARS conference in 2004. The series of events gave EECS researchers an opportunity to present "significant new research thrusts and accomplishments." A webcast of the conference and accompanying presentation documents are available online. Topics from BEARS include Computational Molecular Biology, Organic Circuits, Technology Research for Developing Regions, Embedded Software, Wireless Sensor Networks, Micro / Nano Structure Interface, Wireless and Internet technology, Security and Privacy, and Statistical Machine Learning. Papers presented by participants in the Student Technical Accomplishments in Research Series (STARS) as part of the Advanced Program are also available online. [VF]

Web3D Consortium: GeoVRML

GeoVRML is an official Working Group of the Web3D Consortium ( and its goal is to develop tools and recommended practice for using the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) to represent geographical data. The idea is that geo-referenced data (maps and 3-D terrain models) can be viewed over the web using a standard VRML plugin. GeoVRML Working Group has a mailing list where discussions and developments are posted. Specifications, source code, examples, tools and the accompanying Run-Time for GeoVRML 1.1 are available online to download. Also provided are Goals & Issues, News & Milestones, FAQ, GeoVRML Wish List for future developments, and other resources related to GeoVRML. [VF]

UCLA: Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics [pdf]

The Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM) at UCLA seeks to "make connections between a broad spectrum of mathematicians and scientists, to launch new collaborations, to better inform mathematicians and scientists about interdisciplinary problems, and to broaden the range of applications in which mathematics is used." The website provides information on the institute's programs and workshops, which are the primary activities of IPAM. Photos from the programs, as well as abstracts and presentations from the events are available online. IPAM Newsletters are free and emailed to you after filling out a simple online subscription form.

IEEE: Vehicular Technology Society [pdf]

IEEE's Vehicular Technology Society "concerns itself with land, airborne and maritime mobile services; portable commercial and citizen's communications services; vehicular electrotechnology, equipment and systems of the automotive industry; traction power, signals, communications and control systems for mass transit and railroads." The two VTS publications, VTS News and Transactions on Vehicular Technology are available at cost for members, but older issues of VTS News are available online free of charge. Also provided on this website is information on Conferences, Scholarships/Fellowships, Awards, Technical Committees, Chapters around the world, and Membership. [VF]


SRI: Math Meets Social Studies

Engaging in social issues in today's society requires an understanding of numerical data, statistics, and mathematical assumptions that underlie discussions about the federal budget, the spread of disease and other issues. However, the mathematics and the social issues are often considered in isolation and leave many Americans "ill-prepared to make informed decisions." The Thinking with Data Project is a new initiative of the National Science Foundation, SRI International, Kent State University and Green Middle School in Uniontown, Ohio, that helps students improve math skills in the context of real-world issues. This project to improve student literacy is described more in this news release. [VF]

Clay Mathematics Institute: High School Colloquium

Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) sponsors the Clay Mathematics Research Academy to "inspire young people with the thrill of working on the frontiers of mathematical research." Each year, twelve high school students are recruited and a Colloquium is held at CMI headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After the intense 8-day seminar, participants continue their work using iResearch, a web-based collaborative tool suite designed by the Academy. The 2004 Academy Colloqium Series was held March 19 - 26 and addressed topics such as Evolutionary Game Dynamics, The Number Theory of the Upper Half Plane, Quantum Computing, and The Mathematics of Google. Brief descriptions of the presentations and some lecture notes are available online. [VF]

Coalition of Essential Schools

The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) seeks to "create and sustain equitable, intellectually vibrant, personalized schools and to make such schools the norm of American public education." CES schools enact the CES Common Principles -- emphasizing equity, personalization, and intellectual vibrancy - to create "schools that will nurture students to reach their fullest potential." The CES schools are expected to serve as models to other schools and demonstrations to the public about what is possible. More information on the goals and Common Principles is available online, along with research on the learning and development of students in CES schools. Also online is the CES National quarterly journal, Horace, which provides research and examples of innovative and effective practices from CES schools. The articles are initially only available at cost and for members, but are later posted on this website. The most recent Winter 2004 issue is titled, Making Math Personal. [VF]

International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) [RealPlayer]

iEARN is an international nonprofit organization that connects over 15,000 schools in 100 countries through Internet networks. Using the Internet and other communications technologies, students and teachers conduct collaborative educational projects that meet curricular goals in Arts / Literature / Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math / Science / Environment. Participants choose from over 120 projects, which are designed and facilitated by teachers and students with the purpose of developing research and critical thinking skills, providing experience with new technologies, raising cultural awareness, and developing "the habit of getting involved in community issue." A common theme in all the projects is "enabling participants to become global citizens who make a difference by collaborating with their peers around the world." A video lets you hear some of the voices of iEARN participants. Other sections on the website provide a history of the project, costs for joining the community, and an interactive Globe that lets you see which countries are currently involved and their projects. [VF]

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory: Mathematics Problem-Solving Model [pdf]

This website describes the Mathematics Problem-Solving Model developed by educators and researchers at the NW Regional Educational Laboratory's Mathematics and Science Education Center. The Model is intended to help educators "meet the challenges of teaching and assessing open-ended problem solving" by providing a scoring guide for problem solving, open-ended tasks, and examples of student work for practice in scoring. The website provides an overview of the components of the model, teaching strategies for mathematics problem solving, and other resources. Issues to consider in performance assessment and a discussion of some student work examples are included. [VF]

Philadelphia Education Fund: Small Learning Community Mini-Grants Program

The Philadelphia Education Fund, an independent non-profit organization that "helps to improve the quality of public education for all children in the city of Philadelphia," posts on its website assessment tools and guidelines to help teachers look at student work. An interesting feature of the website is the section which provides samples of student work displayed alongside accompanying teacher commentary. The student work samples are drawn from Philadelphia elementary, middle and high school teachers and students who participated in the Small Learning Community Mini-Grants program. Information on additional online resources and references is also available. [VF]

Making Learning Visible

Even as recent attention in U.S. education emphasizes developing learning communities in schools, "the attainment of knowledge and understanding is still primarily viewed as an individual process." The Making Learning Visible (MLV) Project, a collaboration between Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Municipal Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers of Reggio Emilia, Italy, begins from a perspective that participation in groups is central to how individual learning is constructed. MLV "seeks to draw attention to the power of the group as a learning environment and documentation as a way for all -- students, teachers, parents, administrators, and the community -- to see how and what children are learning." This website provides some information on their project, addresses key issues on learning in groups, assessment, and describes the project's history. Additional information on upcoming summer Institutes is also available.

Two on Ethnomathematics

MegaMath: Ethnomathematics
International Study Group on Ethnomathematics

The first website by Nancy Casey of MegaMath (see also MET report from February 24, 2004) describes ethnomathematics as "the study of mathematics which takes into consideration the culture in which mathematics arises." Casey's article highlights some myths about the universalism of mathematics, challenges notions of what primitive means, and offers additional resources on ethnomathematics. The second website from the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics offers links to various websites with curriculum resources for teachers. Resources are listed by ethnicity / geography (African mathematics, Native American mathematics, Math in European artifacts, Pacific Islander mathematics, African American mathematics, Latino mathematics, Asian mathematics, and Middle Eastern mathematics), by social categories (Mathematics and gender, Mathematics and economic class, Multicultural mathematics) and by utility (Critiques of multicultural mathematics, Indigenous knowledge systems, Software and video resources, Syllabi, Ethnomathematics in the classroom, Books). [VF]


Famous Engineers

This website, sponsored by Engineering: Your Future (an effort by the American Society for Engineering Education to increase awareness and interest in the field of engineering also reported on in March 4, 1998 Scout Report for Science and Engineering) highlights "famous people who are also engineers or have an engineering background." The list includes researchers, designers, and inventors, but also artists, Super Bowl winners, astronauts, Olympians, heads of state, and Academy Award recipients. [VF]

IEEE Spectrum: Fighting Traffic Congestion

This story from IEEE Spectrum Online describes a project led by Randall Guensler, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, which uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit wired to the vehicles engine diagnostic computer to study traffic. In an effort to "get rid of the congestion that increasingly clogs the citys metropolitan area," his team of transportation engineers "bug" about 500 vehicles owned by drivers who have agreed to participate in the experiment. In May, 2004, the group will present findings to the Georgia Department of Transportation in Atlanta which co-sponsored the project along with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, and discuss ways to improve traffic management, transportation modeling and simulation, and air quality assessment. [VF]


Native Tech is an internet resource providing historical and contemporary information, including how-to's and references on indigenous ethno-technology and arts of Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples. The non-profit organization is "dedicated to removing the term primitive from discussions of Indian artifacts." Articles address topics such as Beads & Beadwork, Metalwork, Stonework and Tools, and features on games and toys, recipes, poetry and a Virtual Woodland Tour. Other features include internet links, discussion forums, Tribal News updates and information on upcoming events. [VF]

University of Texas at Austin Police Department: ATM Theft

The University of Texas at Austin Police Department has posted this website with information about a new approach to ATM theft. The website alerts the public to a technology that criminals have been able to install on legitimate bank ATMs that lets them receive information on customers' ATM number and PIN through wireless transmission. Photos of the technology are posted so customers can be on the lookout for the attachment and hidden camera. [VF]

The White House: National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace [pdf]

The White House and Office of the President of the United States has posted this website with information on the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, "an implementing component of the National Strategy for Homeland Security," which is meant to complement a National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets. They describe ways Americans can "secure the portions of cyberspace that they own, operate, control, or with which they interact." Several documents are posted, including a Letter from the President and an executive summary of the report, which addresses Cyberspace Threats and Vulnerabilities, National Policy and Guiding Principles, and lays on out the four key priorities in light of the report findings. [VF]

Foresight Institute: Nanotechnology

The Foresight Institute is "a nonprofit educational organization formed to help prepare society for anticipated advanced technologies." They offer this comprehensive webpage on nanotechnology, addressing why nanotechnology might be important to you, and providing information for the General Reader, the Technical Reader and other resources on technical issues, jobs, education, policy issues, potential applications of nanotechnology, and the History of the Nanotechnology Idea. Other readings, discussion platforms and websites are also listed. [VF]

Nobel Laureate e-Museum: Integrated Circuits [Flash 6]

Nobel Laureate e-Museum's Educational section provides historical and scientific background information on inventions by those who have been honored with the Nobel Laureates in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace over the years. For example, from this website, visitors can read about Nobel Laureate Jack Kilby and his part in the invention of integrated circuits, which are found in a variety of modern electrical device, including computers, cars, television sets, CD players, and cellular phones. A game called Techville is also free to download. A "walk through" will help you out if you get stuck on the game. [VF]

U.S. Department of Energy: FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program

The FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program, under direction of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, works "to strengthen America's energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality." The Program is a collaborative effort with industry leaders to develop transportation technologies that reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil and improve air quality. This website describes their current partnerships, including the FreedomCAR, which "represents a new approach to powering the vehicles of the future" and 21st Century Truck, which works to address "the challenges facing today's heavy-duty transportation sector." The scope of their research program includes vehicle system technologies, advanced materials, fuels, and engine and emission controls. In their outlines of their research programs, they provide some basic information about these areas and offer some links with more in-depth discussions about research in these areas. The Deployment section of the website describes their "initiatives to bring energy-saving innovation and education to consumers." [VF]

Topic In Depth

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Stanford University: What is Artificial Intelligence?
The History of Artificial Intelligence
The Turing Test Page
The Singular Institute
New Scientist: AI and A-Life
IBM: Deep Blue vs. Kasparov
Ai Research: The HAL Nursery

The science and engineering of Artificial Intelligence has come a long way since 1950, when scientists began to explore the link between human intelligence and machines. Since then, computer scientists have made advances in creating machines that can engage in human-like behaviors, mimic human thought, understand speech, and beat the best human chessplayer. Applications are far and wide, from military technology to personal cell phones. This Topic In Depth reviews some of the past accomplishments, current research and future challenges in AI.

John McCarthy from the Computer Science Department at Stanford University has posted this article answering some common questions people have about Artificial Intelligence, including the implications of this work for the meaning of intelligence. (1). This next website (part of a ThinkQuest website competition) gives a history of AI among other interesting tidbits about different approaches and applications (2). The Turing Test Page elaborates on Alan Turing's conditions for considering a machine to be intelligent, which he outlined in a 1950 article that is also available from this website (3). The Singularity Institute describes itsambitious plan to develop "real AI" (4 ). The New Scientist highlights some applications for AI which range from the traditional to new wave (5 ). On a lighter note, this webpage by IBM is dedicated to Deep Blue and the event that captured the attention of chess and computer fans -- the rematch between the supercomputer, Deep Blue, and Kasparov (6 ). Ai Research has made their HAL Nursery available to the public -- a collection of "Virtual Children" you can interact with online. (7). [VF]

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