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SHORT COURSES

There are five short courses, and these run from 8:30 to 11:30 on Friday. Pre-registration for these courses should be made through John Harris by Monday, March 10, 2008. An insufficient number of pre-registrations could lead to cancellation of one of the courses; on-site registration may be possible, subject to availability of spaces.

 

Mathematics and Social Justice   - Grimsley Rm 114

  -- Andy Miller (Belmont University) and Sheila Weaver (University of Vermont)

 

Prime Numbers: Finding and Applying Them - Grimsley Rm 112

  -- Jeffrey Ehme (Spelman College)

 

Active Learning Strategies for the College Liberal Arts Mathematics Course - Grimsley Rm 328

-- David Cochener and Nell Rayburn (Austin Peay State University)

 

Engaging Students in Advanced Analysis via Fractal Geometry and the Hausdorff Metric  - Thompson Rm 203

-- Doug Burkholder (Lenoir-Rhyne College)

 

A Short Course in Information Retrieval - Canceled

  -- Amy Langville, Emmeline Douglas, Kathryn Pedings, Shaina Race, and Anjela Govan (College of Charleston)

 

The registration form for a short course is attached. Mail this completed form with a check payable to the MAA in the amount of $25.00 (non-refundable) before March 10, 2008 ($30 after March 10 and on-site registration) to the Secretary-Treasurer:

 

John Harris, Secretary/Treasurer, MAA-SE

Department of Mathematics

Furman University

Greenville, SC 29613

John.harris@furman.edu

 

 

Abstract

 

Mathematics and Social Justice   

  -- Andy Miller (Belmont University)

Mathematicians are well aware of the wide variety of applications of interesting mathematics to real-world problems. One of our challenges as educators is to effectively communicate the power of mathematics to students, many of whom have little interest in mathematics beyond its ability to meet a graduation requirement. Many applications are either artificial (“Train A approaches Train B …”) or use tools that are beyond the scope of a general education course. Attempting to bridge this gap, a group of mathematicians have been developing course materials for use in entry-level and general education courses that teach mathematics through social justice applications. Intriguing, accessible mathematics can be applied to understand and attempt to remedy compelling social issues. In this short course, we will examine some of these materials and discuss how I and others have used them in class. Attendees will also be invited to join the community working on these materials.

 

 

Prime Numbers: Finding and Applying Them

  -- Jeffrey Ehme (Spelman College)

Since the advent of public key cryptography, the prime numbers and their properties have been an active area of interest. We begin this short course by reviewing some cryptosystems that require large prime numbers. Then for the remainder of the course, we consider different types of approaches to finding large prime numbers. Mathematicians would prefer methods that yield numbers that are unambiguously prime, but these deterministic methods are slow. Probabilistic methods are fast and yield “industrial grade” prime numbers. That is, numbers that are extremely likely to be prime and will work in the context where they are used, but we can’t be sure if they are really primes. Examples of the later methods include the Miller-Rabin test and a test involving Lucas sequences. No previous experience with these topics is assumed.

 

Active Learning Strategies for the College Liberal Arts Mathematics Course

-- David Cochener and Nell Rayburn (Austin Peay State University)

We will model the active learning instructional strategies which we employ in our “liberal arts mathematics” course at Austin Peay State University. Each semester the course consists of the instructor’s choice of two modules. Currently available modules are mathematics of politics, sound and music, cryptanalysis, and art. Each of the modules is organized around the application, and the relevant mathematics is studied as it naturally arises. Some of the mathematical concepts which are involved are modeling, geometry (similarity, scale, isometries, projections), elementary group theory, impossibility theorems, trigonometric and logarithmic functions, and problem solving strategies.

 

Engaging Students in Advanced Analysis via Fractal Geometry and the Hausdorff Metric 

-- Doug Burkholder (Lenoir-Rhyne College)

We shall call the space of all compact subset of R2 the Space of Fractals. By studying this space participants will see an interesting example of, and hence reinforce their understanding of, metrics, compactness, the triangle inequality, Cauchy sequences, and complete metric spaces. Participants will also see how the fixed-point theorem applied to our space guarantees a unique attractor for any iterated function system. Participants will see how to use this knowledge to supplement an Advanced Analysis course. No prior experience with the Space of Fractals or the Hausdorff Metric is required.

 

A Short Course in Information Retrieval

  -- Amy Langville, Emmeline Douglas, Kathryn Pedings, Shaina Race, and Anjela Govan (College of Charleston)

Topics in both traditional and web information retrieval, including query processing, ranking, link analysis, and clustering, will be covered during this course. Mathematical concepts such as the vector space model, the singular value decomposition, and the nonnegative matrix factorization will be presented. Popular algorithms such as Google's PageRank and Ask.com's HITS will be discussed. Examples and hands-on tools will be emphasized throughout. Also, a list of introductory and advanced references will be supplied.