Saturday, November 21, 2009

SAGE: Calculus Research Lab!

Well, its not official, but we are going to try to set up a SAGE Lab course for this Spring!  The Spring section will meet every day (during some student's lunch periods).  Next year, we hope to have a full year course meeting everyother day.
Now that we have the new Fedora Lab, I think we'll install SAGE on a cluster.  Let's see if we can cluster SAGE using dSAGE or mpiPy which is part of the Python distribution included with SAGE. 

I think that running SAGE on a cluster will be more efficient than setting up a local SAGE server or even using the online SAGE sever at as we had originally planned.  Its easy to use dSAGE on a multicore PC (SMP) but, setting up SAGE on a grid (much less a hybrid cluster) is not that obvious.  We are going to have a little fun experimenting with all this!

SAGE is definitely working out as an alternative to Mathematica.  We have used Octave before (alternative to MATLAB) but, the more I use SAGE, the more I am convinced that the students can learn it very quickly and get a lot of use out of it when studying Calculus.  We also looked at C, C++, java and R, but I don't think that Calculus Research Lab is going to be a full-blown programming course.  However, while using SAGE, we will program some functions in Python ala Mathematical Computing or Scientific Computing (Newton's Method, Riemann Sums, Euler's Method, etc).

Teaching with Technology,

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