Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Opening Night!!!

Lincoln Center ... Free Rehearsal Tix ... Beautiful Sunny Day ... Opening Night ... Avery Fisher Hall ... Gala Reception ... NY Philharmonic ... Wynton Marsalis ... Black Tie Affair!  Need I say more?

Generally speaking,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Welcome to Room 429 PreCalculus and Calculus BC!

Here's a hearty welcome for my new students in Math 4R-11 or PreCalculus for Juniors!  Don't get excited, its 4R but there's no Regents exam in June!  However, you are a select group that, as Juniors, are preparing to take the AP Calculus AB class next year!  This is our grand experiment for this year.  

I've taught PreCalc for years.  Usually the students are Juniors and Seniors all mixed together.  The problem is that each grade has its own agenda.  The Seniors need another Math credit to graduate.  The Juniors often do better than the Seniors, however, as they typically are Honors level students in other classes or had to drop out of Honors Math classes as Freshmen or Sophomores for one reason or another.  Well, this is your second chance not only to get back into the Honors Math track, but into an AP college level course!  

Imagine the money you'll save in college if you get AP credit for Calculus in High School!  Even if you don't get the AP credit, it looks great on your transcript when you apply to colleges next year and its great experience in order to get ready for college.

And, here's a heart felt welcome back to my AP Calculus BC students!  Well, its only welcome back to some of you that I know from previous years in Computer Math or Computer Science, but welcome back to school, in any event, to all!  

OK, we finished our first unit and are ready for our first FRQ Friday.  However, as you know, it's going to be this Monday as I was out sick last Wednesday and we are behind a day...

So, you are ready for your first FRQ Friday.  And we've had some YouTube Wednesdays already (see videos above).  Pretty soon, we'll start MCQ Mondays too....

BTW, both Math 4R-11 and AP Calculus BC videos are available on our private FTP server as well as on my YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/calcpage2009).  Also, on the FTP site you will find PDFs of all my Smart Notes.  FYI, most of the videos are MP4s, but some older ones are WMVs.  I hope you find these recordings from class helpful (samples above)!

Teaching with Technology, 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Welcome to Room 429, Computer Math and Computer Science!

Here's a hearty welcome to all my new students in Computer Math! I think we got off to a great start. We've already got a hang of using http://www.sagemath.org/ and we are even starting to use the python programming language.  Our new textbook is great too, take a look at http://www.skylit.com/mathandpython.html, cudos to the authors Gary and Maria Litvin on a job well done!  This is a great course in Discrete Mathematics.  Combining this text with SAGE makes for a great intro to Scientific Computing too!

BTW, it's the 63rd anniversary of the first computer bug, so guess what YouTube Wednesday was about for the last few Wednesdays in class!

Welcome back to my AP Computer Science students who were in my Computer Math class last year! I think we're off to a good start here too having completed the first 2 chapter's of Cay Horstmann's Java Concepts text (http://horstmann.com/bigjava.html), the best programming book I've ever had the pleasure of reading!

Don't forget, in addition to YouTube Wednesdays, we're going to start MCQ Mondays this week.  Be prepared, be very prepared!  Remember, you guys are honorary Boy Scouts, http://www.scouting.org/.  So, your motto should be, "always be prepared!"   We're going to start FRQ Fridays soon too....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CIS(theta) Meeting I (2010-2011) - Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

DavidG, HerbertK, JayW, JoshG, RyanH

Reading: Building Parallel Programs, Chapter1



I welcomed our new CIS(theta) team today!  We will meet every other Wednesday.  Our task is to learn about cluster computing hardware in general.  Investigate the current state of cluster computing software and find a problem worthy of running on our cluster.  

First, let's get some vocabulary straight:
CIS(theta) = Computing Independent Study class
CIS(team) = DavidG, HerbertK, JoshG, JayW, RyanH (aka Geek Squad)
Shadowfax = 25 node, 64bit dual-core AMD Athlon 2GHz, gigE cluster

How about some history:
CIS(team) 0: We've done a bit of cluster programming over the years as a final project in AP Computer Science after AP Week all the way back to clusterKNOPPIX, i386/486s and slow ethernet!  Actually, about 25 years ago I helped JamesM with a robotics project for the Westinghouse Talent Search.  So, that's when the bug bit me to get into all this research with my students!  I think the computing independent study started about 20 years ago when JoeB wanted to learn about Mathematica and Vector Calculus.

CIS(team) I: ChrisR, FrankK, NathanielR successfully installed openMOSIX on 25 Pentium IVs over fastE and created several Mandelbrot plots using C++ and fork().  We followed the advice from this blog, http://nullprogram.com (search there for mosix, octave, c++ or fractal).  Take a look at the fractal prints on my deviantart site, http://cistheta2007.deviantart.com/gallery

CIS(team) II: MarcA, MitchellW were the first to use the current cluster hardware.  They installed the Quantian Linux DVD and used bash scripts to scatter/gather povray jobs over publicly authenticated ssh.  Take a look at the ray tracings on my zazzle site: http://www.zazzle.com/cistheta2008/gifts

CIS(team) III: ArthurD, DevinB, JeremyA, StevenB were the first to attempt using the current cluster hardware in 64bit mode.  We tried Fedora, CentOS and even Rocks Clusters and OSCAR to no avail.  I think we barely got HelloCluster.cc running on openMPI.

CIS(team) IV: DavidG, HerbertK, JayW, JoshG, RyanH will try 64bit mode again on Ubuntu Linux 10.04 that I have already installed on all nodes (see my post on this, http://shadowfaxrant.blogspot.com/2010/06/so-many-linux-distros-so-little-time.html).  You may want to try pelicanHPC too. This is a 32bit live Linux CD.  With this CD you are supposed to be able to reboot the whole room as an MPI cluster in minutes without installing a thing!  What's nice about this solution is that it includes openMPI and has a lot of demos.  We had this working on the new hardware last summer but sometimes its hard to use as its based on PXE and there's some DHCP server on our 10.5.*.* subnet that interferes with booting the nodes.  However, another benefit of this CD is that it includes Octave (like MATLAB/SAGE) and mpiTB (an interface for Octave to work with MPI)!  Hence your online research assignment listed above.  Another CD solution with MPI is BCCD.  An older DVD with openMOSIX is QUANTIAN.

So, our first meeting consisted of discussing all the above.  Also, I mentioned that the CIS(theta) team will act as my personal Geek Squad and help me install hardware, firmware and software in our PC Classroom (since I am still recuperating from surprise hernia surgery).  So, we had 2 "field trips."

Firld Trip 1: We went to the display case with some fractal and ray tracing prints we wanted to swap out.  We also went to Mrs. Murthy's new office to help decorate it with some prints.  We saved some nice big prints for the PC Classroom.  We are getting 6 new marker boards in there which will be installed all around the room.  I will hang a big print above each one.  So, my decorative work here is done!

Firld Trip 2: I also showed the current CIS(theta) team around to all the servers
centauri: ftp server in the book room
colossus: ssh server in the business office
guardian and caprica: new servers in the PC Classroom

So, the Geek Squad will also be helping me to install these new servers.  The new servers will eventually replace the old ones.  These new servers each have 4x72GB RAID drives and have 64bit Intel Xeon quadcores!  Maybe we should make a cluster out of these?  Google Cloud Computing using Ubuntu and Cloud Computing for HPC.

Wow, we have our work cut out for us.  But, I think we are going to have a lot of fun this year!

Happy Clustering,