Seen on the Web

20 Years on the Internet

Fall 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Hobart and William Smith Colleges' connection to the Internet. (For a few years prior to that connection, HWS was part of BITNET.) Soon after that, Professor David Eck set up a web site for the Colleges running on our main academic computer, a VAX named For a time, the HWS web address was (The link is to a copy of the site captured by the "Wayback Machine" at the Internet Archive in 1997.)

Our own web site,, was also established at about the same time. Originally, it ran on a Mac IIci computer in Professor Eck's office. You can see a version of that site. Most of the links don't work, but the one to Professor Vaughn's original web pages does. The web site later to moved to a Solaris workstation for a while, before finally settling onto a series of Linux servers. You might also like to browse the history of the site on the Wayback Machine.

One more historical note: Professor Eck's first course web page, for CPSC 328, Winter '95 (Program Translators) was up and running by early January 1995.

Posted 17 December 2014

Math Awareness Month

The web site has information about the annual celebration of Math Awareness Month in April 2011.

"Unraveling Complex Systems" is theme for Mathematics Awareness Month, April 2011, as per a joint announcement from the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Mathematics Awareness Month is sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM).

How do epidemics spread, birds flock, and stock markets operate?

Many of these answers fall within the realm of mathematics.

From natural entities such as living cells, insect colonies and whole ecosystems to man-made inventions like power grids, transportation networks and the World Wide Web, we see complex systems everywhere. Deciphering the mathematics behind such systems can unravel well-structured networks and discernible patterns in natural and artificial structures. That is the idea behind Mathematics Awareness Month.

Understanding these complex systems can not only help us manage and improve the reliability of such critical infrastructures of everyday life, but can also allow us to interpret, enhance and better interact with natural systems. Mathematical models can delineate interactions among components of these systems, analyze their spontaneous and emergent behaviors, and thus help prevent undesirable developments while enhancing desirable traits during their adaptation and evolution.

Posted 4 April 2011

Pi Day News: Version 1.1

Okay, a working link to the video about Pi Day is here.

Posted 14 March 2011

Pi Day: Will it turn into Tau Day?

Another video link from Vi Hart, the amazing math doodler.

Posted 14 March 2011

Math and CS Have the Best Jobs least according to an analysis by, as reported in this article in the Wall Street Journal from January 4, 2011. Out of 200 jobs rated, the top five spots in a ranking based on income, working environment, stress, physical demands, and job outlook went to professions in areas of mathematics and computing. The top five jobs, according to this ranking are: software engineer, mathematician, actuary, statistician, and computer systems analyst.

Posted 12 March 2011

GPU Programming for Medical Visualization

Max Beckett '11 found this 16-minute lecture on the TED web site, about the use of GPU Programming for visualization of medical data. Max did an independent study on GPU programming in the Fall semester.

Posted 1 March 2011

Math in the News: Four Are Awarded Medal in Mathematics

The Fields Medals, often considered the most prestigious awards in mathematics, have been given to four mathematicians in diverse areas of research. See this article that appeared in the New York Times.

Posted 1 March 2011