John Vaughn's College Related Stuff
Recent Course Syllabi
- Math 375: Abstract Algebra I. Fall 1995.
- This course covers the basics in set theory, mappings, groups, quotient
groups, and the classification of finitely generated abelian groups.
- First Year Seminar 141: The Devil's Dictionary: Scientific Revolutions. Fall
1995.
- Here we examine the notions of scientific revolutions and revolutionaries. We look at how science has grown through various stages and do some science ourselves in the lab.
Recent Publications/Grants
- Looking For an Attractive Picture? Try Fractal Image Compression by Jude Sylvestre and John Vaughn. Proceedings of ESCCC '95, New Rochelle, NY, October 1995.
- National Science Foundation ILI Grant for Computer Lab, 1995.
Grant awarded to Professors Critchlow, Eck, Johann, and Vaughn.
Honors Projects/Independent Studies
- The Big Squeeze: Fractal Image Compression. Jude Sylvestre, 1995. Honors
in Computer Science.
- Fighting the Code War. Charles Rutstein, 1994. Honors in Computer Science.
- Software Engineering. Ivan Flores, 1995.
- Windows Programming in C. The Visually Enlightened Group, 1995.
Technos Trip
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend two weeks in Japan (June 4-18) this past summer. The trip was sponsored by Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust. Four students and one advisor from each of several liberal arts colleges were invited to spend two weeks enjoying a unparalleled introduction to Japan and the Japanese people. The trip was wonderful and I look forward to returning to Japan to see all the things I could not see during this trip and meet even more people.
Select these links to download some JPEG images from our Japanese trip.
- Group Photo: Notice the dashing fellow in the hat! (90K JPEG )
- Traditional Ryokan Dinner (50K JPEG )
- Hydrangea from a Shrine (50K JPEG )
- Temple figures (50K JPEG )
We visited Technos Institute in the outskirts of Tokyo during International Week. There we had a chance to exchange ideas with our hosts and experience different educational environments. All too soon it was time to return home but the memories
will always remain.
Current Happenings
- CPSC 226: Computer Architecture, Winter term 1996. Text: Mobile
Robots: Inspiration to Implementation by Jones and Flynn. Published by A.K. Peters inc.
Topics in this class will be basic logic circuits, microprocessors, assembly language programming, along with building mobile robots as a reality check. We have now passed through the vale of tears usually called digital logic and are steaming on to our encounter with Rug Warrior. No cause for alarm, RW is just a small, extremely non-lethal, autonomous robot whose design is found in the Jones and Flynn text. My daughter has named mine Fred. Anyway, we will be building RWs and programming them to play tag, avoid obstacles,and generally act out the role of electronic beetles. Check out this book, you will like the easy introduction to microprocessor controlled robots. You can order RW as a kit from A.K. Peters as well or take the plunge and collect the parts and assemble it all yourself.
- CPSC 124: Pascal Programming I, Winter term 1996. Text: Oh! Pascal! by Doug Cooper. Published by Norton Books.
We are plunging along with the syntax and semantics of Pascal. Programming exercises are done in Think Pascal on Power Mac 7100 machines. We have computed wind chill values (brrrrrr...), drawn some logos in character graphics, composed a simple animation using Quickdraw, and are heading into more loops, arrays, and files. Along the way, we are reading Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte and Silicon Snake Oil by Cliff Stoll. Stay tuned.
- Math 450: Independent Study. Topic: Galois Theory, Winter term 1996. Text: Field Theory and Its Classical Problems by Charles Hadlock. Published by MAA. Pop Quiz! True or False: Given a quadratic polynomial p(x), with coefficients in the reals, there exists a formula which computes all roots of p(x). True, of course, it's the quadratic formula. Not exactly big news, huh? Okay, what about a formula for computing the roots of any cubic, or third degree, polynomial. Yup. There is one for cubics. Quartics (fourth degree polynomials)? Why are you hesitating? Yes, there is also a formula (it's not very pretty as you might guess) for quartics. Quintics? Surprise! This is where the world changes.
Theorem: For polynomials p(x) (over the reals, say, just to make this a precise statement) of degree five and higher, there is no formula for computing the roots of p(x).
Want to know why this is true, along with why you cannot trisect an arbitrary angle, double a cube, or square the circle? Check out Galois theory. Hadlock's book is very specific in its aim to explain the theory of field extensions relevant to these problems but is very informative. For some background on this subject, check out Journey Through Genius by William Dunham.
- Math 450: Independent Study. Topic: Computer Viruses, Winter term 1996. Text: Mastering Turbo Assembler. Published by Sams. I disavow any intention to encourage students to produce, distribute, propogate, or otherwise disseminate computer viruses other than for stodgy academic study. Now that we have that out of the way, you won't be surprised to find a couple of CS majors around here hacking on simple viruses this term. Remember the book and movie Andromeda Strain, guys! Charles, and you know who I mean, this is probably due to your influence! More later.
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