The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 4, Number 11

June 3, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Human & Machine Cognition
The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) is an interdisciplinary research unit of the University of West Florida. Researchers and staff at the IHMC investigate "a broad range of topics related to understanding cognition in both humans and machines with a particular emphasis on building computational tools to leverage and amplify human cognitive and perceptual capacities." Their work advances the study of human-centered computing, which takes a systems view to link human thought and action and technological systems. They are primarily interested in the analysis, design, and evaluation of computational aids or "cognitive prostheses." The website provides an overview of each of their current research areas, which include: knowledge modeling and sharing, adjustable autonomy, advanced interfaces and displays, communication and collaboration, computer-mediated learning systems, intelligent data understanding, software agents, expertise studies, work practice simulation, knowledge representation, and other related areas. They also provide Cmap Tools, a knowledge modeling software kit, which is free to download and "empowers users to construct, navigate, share, and criticize knowledge models represented as Concept Models." [VF]

Vienna University: Differential Geometry and Geometric Structures [pdf]
Differential Geometry and Geometric Structures is one of six research units which comprise the Institute of Discrete Mathematics and Geometry of the Vienna University of Technology. From this website, visitors can read about members and their research activities and download select publications (in German and English). They have also developed some software, which is in German, for use in geometry courses in Austrian schools. The Picture Gallery offers a collection of world Map Projections created by Hans Havlicek. Visitors can also view the picture gallery of map projections or the list of geometry related links. [VF]

The Fields Institute: Lecture Audio and Slides [RealPlayer, pdf]
The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences aims to "enhance mathematical activity in Canada by bringing together mathematicians from Canada and abroad, and by promoting contact and collaboration between professional mathematicians and the increasing numbers of users of mathematics." They support research in pure and applied mathematics, statistics and computer science, as well as collaborative projects between mathematicians and those applying mathematics in areas such as engineering, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, economics and finance, telecommunications and information systems. They offer this website with audio files and slides from events and lectures at the Fields Institute. The lectures, given by scientists from around the world, address such topics as Quantitative Finance, String Theory, Homological Algebra, Combinatorics, and much more. The files are organized by academic year and series title. In cases where the files are not available to download, they provide information on how to obtain the files. [VF]

UCLA: Image Processing Research Group [pdf]
The University of California at Los Angeles' Image Processing Research Group (or IMAGERS) focuses on mathematical modeling and computational techniques for image processing, with a particular emphasis on using Partial Differential Equations. The group is part of the UCLA Mathematics Department and the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics, but also collaborates with other departments on campus. The research areas described on their website include: Image Reconstruction, Inpainting, Computation, Segmentation & Active Contours, Level Set, Wavelets and Compression, Tomography, and Vision Modeling. They provide overviews of each research area along with links to full reports offering more in depth explanations. Recent papers by IMAGERS' researchers are posted online and available to download free of charge. [VF]

Engineering Case Studies
This website on Engineering Case Studies has been developed by Geza Kardos from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Neal Holtz from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, in collaboration with the RHIT Logo Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, and the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Canadian Design Engineering Network. They have gathered together a collection of information on engineering cases which provide accounts of real engineering projects. The collection of over 250 cases is intended for use in engineering education but may also be of interest to armchair engineers. Abstracts provide an overview of the case and a search function and classification system help visitors navigate the collection. They also provide an overview on how to write engineering cases, how to use engineering cases in the classroom, and "a short treatise on the use of engineering cases." Workshop notes and background on using engineering cases to introduce more design content into the engineering curriculum may also be of interest to educators. [VF]

MIT: Computation Structures Group [pdf]
The Computation Structures Group is part of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their mission is "to enable the creation and development of high-performance, reliable and secure computing systems that are easy to interact with." Their current research focuses on hardware synthesis, computer security, computer architecture and VLSI design. This well organized website provides short descriptions of the projects within each of these areas. Publications by researchers affiliated with the Computation Structures Group are also available. [VF] Lecture Notes [pdf, doc, ppt, ps]
This resource for educators and students of game theory aims to make lessons on game theory more relevant to the student (see also NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology, October 11, 2002). This section of the website provides links to lecture notes for courses in game theory and applied game theory offered by faculty at various universities. The collection is arranged in a table format and provides basic information on each entry as an overview, such as level of instruction, professor, course, institution, and special topics covered. Some of the special topics include finance, voting, and social learning. [VF]

Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Initiative
The Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Initiatives mission is "to actively engage in and facilitate energy technology development, assessments, demonstration projects, and policy guidance based on scientific facts, engineering principles and economic realities." They analyze the national impact of implementing new energy system technology options in relation to the current status of world oil and gas production, which is characterized by higher and higher prices. They study new and innovative energy technologies in the transportation, building, manufacturing, and electric power sectors and work with Georgia Techs researchers, as well as industry and government partners, to carry out research, development, and demonstration projects. Presentations from their formal kickoff dinner and workshop provide an overview of the Initiative, while more discussion of ongoing projects are described in the Current Projects section of the website. The Energy Facts section provides information on Clean Coal, Ethanol, Fossil Fuel Resources, and Nuclear energy. They also make two Energy Briefs available to download, one on World Oil Production: Future Implications and another on Hybrid Vehicles. [VF]


Bermuda Computing Curriculum Project
The Bermuda Computing Curriculum project is "a collaborative effort by the Computer Science Department and the School of Education at Stanford University to develop a computing curriculum for Bermuda public schools that uses programming as a central theme." The project emphasis curriculum development which includes the following components: content definition, pedagogical design, professional development, and student assessment. The goal is to have all students who participate achieve a high level of computer and technological fluency and be prepared to use computers and technology in their jobs or education. The website provides information on the educational principles and theoretical model used for their curricula as well as a project timeline and some slightly outdated project updates. They also describe the design principles that guide their professional development and make available several session reports describing their programs. Finally, they describe the goals and methods of their approach to assessing the program and post related conference papers and research reports. The Student Gallery includes examples of student work in courses such as Intro to Computing and CSI: Intro to Programming. [VF]

BEAM Education [pdf]
BEAM is "a specialist mathematics education publisher, dedicated to promoting the teaching and learning of mathematics as interesting, challenging and enjoyable." They publish materials aimed at children ages 3 to 14 and provide training and workshops for teachers in the United Kingdom as well as consultancy for companies, institutions and government, and teacher education programs. Although many of their products and services are available for purchase only, they do offer a number of online resources. In the section called Maths of the Month they post activities and games, which are organized by age range and topic. Their research reports are also posted online and address issues such as effective teaching of numeracy and learning about numbers with patterns. [VF]

Regional Technology in Education Consortia
The Regional Technology in Education Consortia (RTEC) program assists states, local educational agencies, teachers, school library and media personnel, administrators, and other educators to integrate technologies into kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) classrooms, library media centers, and other educational settings, including adult literacy centers. The activities, technical assistance, and information they provide are intended to promote the effective use of technology in education in the region they serve, but they also work to foster regional cooperation and resource sharing. Through this website they offer an impressive collection of course/workshop materials, website links, videos, tools, publications, and presentations, which are organized by category. The broad category areas include: Planning & Evaluation, Professional Development, Teaching & Learning, Integrating Technology, Technology Highlights, and Special Topics such as access and equity. The materials are also grouped by educational grade level classification such as adult education, elementary, higher education, K-12, or secondary. Visitors can use a search function to search the categories and resource type by keyword. [VF]

Association for Bridge Construction and Design: Bridge Design Tips
The Association for Bridge Construction and Design was formed in response to "the bridge crisis" which leaves "only an extremely small percentage of bridges throughout the nation" receiving the attention they need. The goal of the Association is to educate bridge designers, constructors, federal, state, and local officials, as well as the general public in the vital role of safe bridges in our society; to improve the science of bridge design, construction and reconstruction through a professional forum; to provide technical information and assistance; and to educate and encourage public and private authorities to use new and improved techniques for testing and reconstruction. This section of the website provides a basic overview of bridge construction along with related drawings and pictures. By reading through the text and following the links, visitors are taken to a section that discusses ways to calculate the forces in your trusses and then use Java program to design trusses. Links to related articles and websites are available for further reading on the subject of bridge design. Although the website has not been updated recently, the resources are still relevant. [VF]

Teachers Helping Teachers
This website called Teachers Helping Teachers has been in operation since 1995 and is maintained by Dr. Scott Mandel, who is also Director of the a musical theater group and an author. The resources provided here are posted by teachers and available at no cost. During the school year the website is updated weekly. As of this report, they were soliciting contributions that relate a teachers favorite lessons from the year or lesson ideas for the end-of-the-year, Fathers' Day or graduation time. The teacher-created lesson plans are organized by subject area, such as math, science, social studies, language arts, special education and the arts. Separate sections discuss classroom management and provide book reviews. Each week a new lesson topic is highlighted and a teacher's suggested stress reduction strategy is posted. The Educational Resources Page provides links to a variety of other resources online. [VF]

Global Grocery List Project
The Global Grocery List Project was designed by The Landmark Project and is supported by the Global SchoolNet Foundation. Through the Global Grocery List Project students share local grocery prices to build a growing table of data which is then available to use for computation, analysis, and conclusion-building within the context of social studies, science, mathematics and other disciplines. Since 1987, the project has collected grocery prices from classes all over the world. The website provides information on how to participate and posts the grocery list to use for students in the U.S. as well as other parts of the world, which are kept separate because of the different units of measure and currencies in use. A class can participate at no cost by filling out an online form that includes their local grocery prices and can also view prices already posted by using a search form. Teachers can also read about lesson strategies that have been submitted by teachers using the project and by the project coordinator. [VF]

High-Speed Visual Imaging [pdf]
High-Speed Visual Imaging (HiViz) provides "information and inspiration especially for students, teachers and hobbyists." Their goal is to dispel common misconceptions about high-speed photography, in particular that it is only for experts and requires specialized and expensive equipment. They provide tools for setting up and using a high-speed imaging system, numerous activities for teachers and an FAQ section that addresses questions about cameras, flash units, and timing systems. The Galleries section, which include portfolios of exemplary student work, and the Projects section provide a glimpse into what is possible using in high-speed visual imaging. They have also sell kits for students, teachers and hobbyists interested in starting their own project and provide links to relate websites for more information on related resources. [VF]

Squeak Programming System
Squeak is a programming system that is offered under an open source license, which makes it free to download. The website describes Squeak as "an open, highly-portable Smalltalk-80 implementation whose virtual machine is written entirely in Smalltalk, making it easy to debug, analyze, and change." The programming system can be used to create images, graphics, sound, games and websites. For example, the drawing function includes the ability to scale and rotate bitmap images at any color depth, anti-aliased TrueType fonts and vector graphics. The Documentation section includes several tutorials, bulletin board forums, and other online resources such as articles and books. In addition, a related website provides newly redesigned educational projects for students, parents, and teachers. [VF]


Nanotechnology: Friction at the Nano-scale was created to "provide a virtual meeting point for anyone involved in the field" of nanotechnology (See also NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology, June 6, 2003). This article discusses friction at the nano-scale. The author, Jacqueline Krim of North Carolina State University, explains how "nanomachines will depend on our knowledge of friction, heat transfer and energy dissipation at the atomic level for their very survival." The author provides an overview of friction and discusses the history of research on friction. She concludes with an appeal for more research and curricular emphasis on the study of friction at the nano-scale. References are linked to online resources for further reading on the subject. [VF]

Roman Numerals
This website provides an overview of the Principles of Roman numerals as well as a history of Roman numerals, which dates back to 1st millennium BC when they were used by Romans to record numbers in stone, art and coins. Some pictures in the gallery highlight the ways in which Roman Numerals are used today, such as on watch and clock faces. The authors point out that Roman numerals have a classic style and are less functional than the Arabic (decimal) numbers ( 0 to 9 ) which were introduced into Europe about 900 AD and adopted quickly because of their convenience and mathematical ease of use. They also provide lists (including one of Roman Numerals 1 to 2016), tables, and a converter that visitors can use to convert Roman numeral numbers to decimal numbers. Another section provides resources for teachers on lesson ides for teaching Roman Numerals. [VF]

Robotics Competitions
This Website is ideal for robot enthusiasts looking for a little competition. The website lists brief summaries of known robot competitions around the world and answers frequently asked questions. The listing is current and provides the necessary information to find a robot competition near you. Visitors are encouraged to submit information on new contests, which are then posted monthly on this list and through newsgroups. [VF]

Step Towards Real Life Matrix
This article from New Scientist News discusses the possibility that Sony might be able to develop a real life matrix. That is, people may be able to watch movies and play computer games in which they can also get to smell, taste and perhaps even feel things. The prospect was raised by Sony's approval for a patent on a device for transmitting sensory data directly into the human brain. The author discusses how this device might work but notes that Sony declined New Scientist's request for an interview with the inventor. If the method described by Sony works, the author speculates on its uses in research and medicine. [VF]

Society for Industrial Archeology [pdf]
The Society for Industrial Archeology is an association of "members, world-wide, who have a strong interest in preserving, interpreting and documenting our industrial past and heritage." Anyone interested in the industrial past is welcome to join the Society. The newsletter, which is available free to download, provides information on current news, recent publications and notices of conferences and events of interest to Society members. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology (IA) is available by paid subscription and includes essays and book reviews, as well as peer-reviewed articles on current research in industrial archeology. The Links section provides a list of online related resources. [VF]

History of Prime Numbers
The School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St Andrews, Scotland has developed an extensive collection of articles on the history of mathematics (See also NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology, June 4, 2004). This article, written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, reviews the history of Prime Numbers. The article includes hyperlinks to topics addressed further in other sections of the website. For example, from this website visitors can also find articles on Pythagoras and Euclid. [VF]

Grothendieck Circle
This is the website for a long-term project called the Grothendieck Circle which aims to make publicly available (and in some cases translate) the material written by and about mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck. They also hope to provide biographical material on Grothendieck's life and his origins. As of this report they have posted several of his writings along with other online resources of his work. Given that many of his texts are unpublished or are out-of-print, the collection is one-of-a-kind. Visitors can browse through the most recent editions, join the discussion forum or simply browse the sections of the website which are organized in to the following: Mathematical texts Biographical Texts and Photograph Album. Note that some texts are in German, but most are translated into English. [VF]

Boeing: International Space Station
Boeing, the prime contractor for the International Space Station (ISS), has developed this website to provide information on the technology of the program. The ISS will be more than four times as large as the Russian Mir when completed, and is "the largest, most complex international scientific project in history and our largest adventure into space to date." Boeing is responsible for the design, development, construction and integration of the ISS and assisting NASA in operating the orbital outpost. They provide an overview of the status of the project and describes the current configuration, components, structure, and systems with more detailed information on some sections. Visitors can follow links to also read more about the scientific research conducted by the expedition crew. [VF]

Topic In Depth

Graph Theory

Wikipedia: Graph Theory
Mega-Math: The Mathematics of Graphs and their Games
Graph Theory with Applications
Georgia Tech: Four Color Theorem
Graph Theory Book
Graph Theory Lessons
Frank Harary 1921-2005

Graph theory is widely used in computer science, engineering and of course, mathematics. Wikipedia offers this definition and overview of Graph Theory (1). This next website from Mega-Math (2) reviews some of the Vocabulary of Graphs and highlights some applications for graph theory, such as the design of computer systems and games. Some additional applications for Graph Theory are discussed in this more technical book called Graph Theory with Applications (3). This website from Georgia Tech (4) discusses a proof that allows a user to create a map of the U.S. using just four colors. For a more involved explanation of Graph Theory, see this Graph Theory book by Reinhard Diestel (5). On this next website (6), Christopher P. Mawata of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers a collection of Graph Theory Lessons for educators. The final website provides a short biography of a key figure in Graph Theory who recently passed away, Frank Harary (7). [VF]

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