The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 3, Number 14

July 2, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


The Earth Simulator Center [pdf]

The Earth Simulator Center, funded by the Japanese government, is the birth place of the Earth Simulator, a super computer designed to provide a "holistic simulation of the entire earth system" that "may enable accurate prediction of the future by modelling present conditions based on data about the past." The Journal of the Earth Simulator, which is available online from this website as of June 2004, provides updates on the Earth Simulator and related research. Visitors to this website will also find background information on the Earth Simulator and websites for the four research groups: the Atmosphere & Ocean Simulation Group, the Solid Earth Simulation Group, the Multiscale Simulation Research Group, and the Advanced Perception Research Group. Each website provides an overview of the research and publications. Several collaboration projects are also identified along with images of the Simulator. Other publications include the annual report and newsletters, some of which are available only in Japanese. [VF]

MIT: Center for Biological and Computational Learning [pdf]

MITs Center for Biological and Computational Learning (CBCL) "was founded with the belief that learning is at the very core of the problem of intelligence, both biological and artificial, and is the gateway to understanding how the human brain works and to making intelligent machines." To this end, the research at CBCL takes a multidisciplinary approach by combining mathematics, artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, and the neuroscience of learning. The website provides an overview of the center's research areas, including Theory of Learning, Object Detection and Recognition, Image-based Graphics, Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics, Information Extraction in Text and Multimedia, Neuroscience and Visual Perception, and Virtual Financial Markets. Publications are available online and indexed by date, author, publication type, or subject area. [VF]

Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science [LaTeX]

Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DMTCS) is a peer-reviewed electronic journal "devoted to rapid publication of innovative research which covers the fields of Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science and puts a certain emphasis on the intersection of these two fields." Research is grouped into the following five categories: Analysis of Algorithms; Combinatorics; Automata, Logic and Semantics; Data Structures and Complexity; Graphs and Algorithms. Visitors can search by keyword or author, browse by issue, or download a complete bibliography. The journal is also available in French. [VF]

Edros Number Project

Have you ever wondered about the mathematics behind the idea of "six degrees of separation?" The Erds Number Project offers several fairly comprehensive lists of co-author relationships to elaborate (with a bit of humor) studies of the dynamics involved in "the collaboration graph," which the website says is "a real-life fairly large graph for combinatorialists to study." The co-author relationship list begins with the Hungarian mathematician Paul Erds and branches outward, so that anyone who co-authored with Erds is assigned Erds number 1 and anyone who co-authored with an Erds number 1 is assigned the Erds number 2, and so on. The website offers some suggestions for how the lists might be used, including finding your own Erds number, testing algorithms, or just getting a sense of the different areas of mathematics represented by Erds co-authors. Visitors can also learn more about Erds, read articles about collaboration in mathematics, or browse through the websites which are linked from the co-author data lists. [VF]

NYU Movement Group [QuickTime, pdf, ps.gz]

The NYU Movement Group ("a new incarnation of the former Stanford Movement Group") is "dedicated to the analysis and animation of all forms of human movement." They describe their research as a program that is "at the boundary between computer science, dance, performance art, animation, medical research, and other uses of motion capture technology." Images and brief overviews provide additional information on their projects. For example, the Facial Expressions project posts a video that demonstrates an animated reconstruction of a spoken sequence using a factorization model. The publications page offers more detailed information on their research and innovations. [VF]

The State of Wireless London [pdf]

This website provides the results from a survey, sponsored by the International Chamber of Commerce, which reports on the growth of wireless usage in the greater London area and compares networks built by "freenetwork" groups to those built by commercial providers. The results show that London has more than 5,000 wireless networks that are being used in offices, government buildings, prisons, police stations and government offices. The data is displayed clearly with impressive maps and detailed documentation. The reference list offers numerous links for more information about wireless networks. [VF]


PBS: TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine provides teachers with "online professional development in mathematics and technology integration." The site offers online courses, facilitated discussions, self-paced professional development, as well as online resources and tools that can be used to plan your professional development. PBS member stations offer the courses for a fee but resources on Mathematics, Science, Technology and Curriculum Integration, and Reading / Language Arts education are available free online. The Interactives section provides some lesson ideas, explaining the purpose of the activity, ways to adapt the lesson and why the activity is useful. In addition, the discussion boards and planning tools can only be accessed by registered users, but registration is free. [VF]

Boston University: Dynamical Systems and Technology Project [Java, QuickTime]

The Dynamical Systems and Technology Project brought to you by the Department of Mathematics at Boston University and the National Science Foundation offers resources for teaching chaos and fractals. The website includes a number of Java applets and several interactive papers "designed to help teachers and students understand the mathematics behind such topics as iterated function systems (the chaos game) and the Mandelbrot and Julia sets." For example, from here, you can play the chaos game, explore iterated function systems, or make fractal movies. Some parts of the website are still under construction and more resources are promised in the future. The materials are intended for secondary school and college teachers of mathematics. [VF]

BBC: AS Guru Maths

BBC offers this easy-to-navigate website that reviews mathematics topics required for students in the British education system. AS Guru Maths was produced in consultation with teachers and "focuses specifically on those parts of the core curriculum that have proven the most difficult for students to deal with." The section on Methods reviews functions and graphs, differentiation and integration and the Pure section covers the study of functions, including trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential functions. A third section covers Statistics. The topics can also be selected from a drop-down menu. [VF]

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) is a magnet school for grades 10 - 12 "created by the State to develop talent and stimulate excellence in teaching and learning in mathematics, science and technology." About 650 students are enrolled in this 3-year residential program, which takes "a unique approach to learning that is problem-centered, inquiry-based and integrative." The bulk of the website is dedicated to describing the program for current and prospective students and others interested in their approach. However, a section for educators provides links to two of their educational centers. The first, the Center for Problem Based Learning, offers a tutorial on a curriculum development and instructional approach that "simultaneously develops problem solving strategies, disciplinary knowledge bases, and skills." The second link takes you to the 21st Century Information Fluency Project, which provides news, information, tools, and instructional strategies for "information literacy/fluency in K-16." They define information literacy as "the ability to locate, evaluate and use information" and offer professional development workshops and dynamic lesson plans that bring together math and science teachers and their librarian peers to support information literacy instruction. [VF]

Krell Institute [pdf]

The Krell Institute, whose name comes from a 1956 science fiction movie "The Forbidden Planet," aims to "provide superior technical resources, knowledge and experience in managing technology-based education and information programs." The Institutes primary activities include offering a fellowship for graduate studies in computational science, educational outreach programs, educational conferences, and a K-12 professional development and curriculum called Adventures in Supercomputing. The Learning Center section provides a wealth of website links to research centers, articles, journals, and web-based courses all relating to computational science. [VF]

NickNacks Tellecolaborate

The tagline for NickNacks Tellecolaborate is: "Fostering unity and understanding through collaboration." Building on the potential for the Internet to bring together educators and students around the world, NickNacks helps teachers participate in a telecollaboration or start their own. Telecollaborations can be developed to exchange information, collect research data, analyze data or conduct real-time Internet conferencing using email lists, discussion boards, as well as synchronous, or real-time chat formats. NickNacks offers instructions for deciding on the best program for your needs and available resources; links to online resources such as mailing lists, as well as useful tools, lesson resources, and publications. They also invite teachers to join one of their thematic telecollaborations. The thematic projects are accompanied by supporting instructional resources and extension activities developed by NickNacks. For those ready to develop their own instructional project, guidelines and online support are offered. [VF]


Agnes Scott College: Women Mathematicians

The Women Mathematicians website is "part of an on-going project by students in mathematics classes at Agnes Scott College, in Atlanta, Georgia, to illustrate the numerous achievements of women in the field of mathematics." Biographical essays or comments on most of the women mathematicians and some photos are posted here. Over 150 names are currently listed and more are being added as the project continues. The mathematicians are listed alphabetically and chronologically or can be searched by keyword or name. They also list the names of First Ph.D's in Mathematics by Women before 1930 and Prizes, Awards and Honors for Women Mathematicians, and an extensive list of other Internet resources on women mathematicians and scientists. Contributions of biographical information or essays from those outside Agnes Scott College are also welcomed. [VF]

The KnotPlot [mpg]

The KnotPlot website, developed as part of a Robert G. Schareins Ph.D. thesis, offers an extensive "collection of knots and links, viewed from a (mostly) mathematical perspective." Most of the images were created with KnotPlot, a program used to visualize and manipulate mathematical knots in three and four dimensions. The KnotPlot program is available to download for free from this website along with some beautiful images created using the KnotPlot. The Mathematical Knots section provides a nice overview of knot theory and the mathematics behind knots for those interested in more than just the visual beauty of the knots. [VF]

Nobel Prizes: Why is There no Nobel Prize in Mathematics?

The Nobel Prize Internet Archive offers a few explanations for why there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics. One explanation involves a woman...but after presenting evidence from the sci.math newsgroup's FAQ list, the author concludes that this is not a viable explanation and instead suggests that Nobel "did not create a prize in mathematics simply because he was not particularly interested in mathematics or theoretical science." Visitors to the website are invited to offer their own explanations and commentaries, which are also posted on this website. [VF]

Library of Congress: Built in America

The Library of Congress offers this website, Built in America: Historic Building and Engineering 1933-Present in the United States of exhibits drawing from two large collections, Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record. The collections include "measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 35,000 historic structures and sites in the United States dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries." The collection can be downloaded as a single file or explored through the various exhibits, such as Touring Turn-of-the-Century America, 1880-1920. A collection of images organized by state is also available and provides a sampling of buildings and engineering technologies which range from windmills and one-room schoolhouses to the Golden Gate Bridge and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. [VF]

2004 Science and Engineering Indicators [pdf]

The 2004 Science and Engineering (S&E) Indicators report, produced biennially by the National Science Board (also reported on in the May 10, 2002 report), is considered "the nation's most authoritative source for national and international science and engineering trends in education, the labor force, academia and the global marketplace, as well as nationwide and statewide expenditures for research and development." The NSF press release summarizes the findings and offers a link to the full (much longer) report. This 2004 issue is the first time that the report also includes a chapter with state-by-state breakdowns of key S&E indicators. [VF]

Reporters Without Borders: Internet Under Surveillance

Reporters Without Borders, an association dedicated to restore "right to be informed" in countries where there is no freedom of the press, has posted this report called Internet Under Surveillance. They report on the "Internet police force" in China and cases where Internet users have been sentenced to life imprisonment for criticising a dictatorship. Their analysis links governments justification for Internet controls to the fight against terrorism and cautions against comparing the actions of "routinely authoritarian regimes and those that may make mistakes (which can be corrected)." Data is presented by country and includes an overview of internet usage, Internet laws, government activities, and links for more information. [VF]

Topic In Depth


Aerodynamics General Information
Theoretical Aerodynamics for Students
Aerodynamics Text: Flight
The National Business Aviation Association: Principles of Aeronautics
Exploratorium: Aerodynamics of Bicycles
ThinkQuest:: AeroNet

Aerodynamics is the study of what makes things go fast, right? More specifically, its the study of the interaction between bodies and the atmosphere. If youve been watching Wimbeldon lately, you might have been wondering about the aerodynamics of tennis. Or maybe you were riding your bike the other day and wondering how you could pick up a little more speed next time. This topic in depth highlights some fun websites on the science of aerodynamics.

The first site (1) provides some general information on aerodynamics. For those wanting a little more on the theory of aerodynamics, the University of Sydney has published this web textbook, Aerodynamics for Students (2). When people think of aerodynamics, they generally think of aviation and flight, which is explained on this site (3). Aerodynamics also has applications in sports, such as tennis, sailing and cycling. This website provides explanations for sports applications whether you are a beginner in the study of aerodynamics or an instructor (4). The next website reviews the aerodynamics of cycling and has a form that lets you Calculate the Aerodynamic Drag and Propulsive Power of a Bicyclist (5). The last site, AeroNet (6), is an interactive site designed to provide information about topics involved with aviation in a fun way for anyone casually interested in flight, someone thinking about aviation as a profession, or a student doing research for physics class. [VF]

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