Monday, April 18, 2011

CIS(theta) Meeting XIII (2010-2011) - Instant Cluster, just add water (continued)!

Instant Cluster, just add water (continued)!

CIS(theta) 2010-2011: DavidG, HerbertKJoshG, RyanH


Parallel Python
Large Integer number crunching Mersenne Primes
Large Integer number crunching Beal Conjecture

InstantCluster Step 4: Software Stack (Continued)
We got Josh up to speed adding openSSH and public-key authentication and openMPI. So, what follows is a summary of what we did to get up to plublic-key authentication. We then installed openMPI (see dependencies below) and tested multi-core with flops. Testing the cluster as a whole will have to wait until the next meeting! We followed openMPI install instructions for Ubuntu from
These instructions say to use sudo and run run apt-get install openmpi-bin openmpi-doc libopenmpi-dev However, the way our firewall is setup at school, I can never update my apt-get sources files properly. So, I used to look up these files and got the following dependencies!

If you think that's bad, look at all the dependencies I ran into to install VLC on Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat 10.04 which was required to instrall handbrake!

We finally got all this working (sans vlc which is on my smartboard station). Then we used the following FORTRAN code to test multi-core. FORTRAN, really? I haven't used FORTRAN since 1979!

we compiled flops.f after installing gfortran too:
mpif77 -o flops flops.f

and tested openmpi and got around 900 MFLOPS using 2 cores:
mpirun -np 2 flops

Next meeting we have to generate a "machines" file to tell mpirun where all the nodes are:
mpirun -np 4 --hostfile machines flops

Well, that's all for now, enjoy!

ICON SUNY Stony Brook: Science Fact & Fiction Convention (Convention and Art Show 4/2011)

We also displayed our fractal and povray prints last year at ICON 29's Art Show. That was our 5th year in the ICON Art Show. We didn't enter this year as we didn't have anything new to show off, but we are working on it for next year! I saw this year's art show and could tell they lost the great director they had last year... 'nuff said.

Icon science fiction
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This was ICON's 30th anniversary! I started going to ICON at SUNY Stony Brook in 1990. I didn't have a chance to go all 3 days this year as is my usual want. So, I missed my favorite filker of all time: Voltaire. He had a panel in the afternoon and a midnight show on Saturday, but I could only attend on Sunday. BTW, Voltaire is also a professor of stop motion animation at SVA.
First thing I did was go to the registration desk by the SAC Auditorium. They told me I had to put my real name on the back of the membership badge, but I could win a prize for the wackiest nickname on the front if it was math related. Little did they know that I am a professor of Calculus no less. So, I proceeded to draw: 2*fnint(e^(-x^2),x,0,inf) = sqrt(pi). They said I won, I still don't know what I got for my trouble except that they took a zillion pictures of my equation with their iPhones and Droids. I guess the pictures are immortalized somewhere in cyberspace. Maybe its on Facebook or Twitter or

Then I went to a talk about fusion reators and the disaster in Japan given by Dr. Takai (10 am SAC 304). After that I saw Dr. Halada speak about AI and AL and a new course for which he has NSF funding (11am SAC 304). Its a course on Science Fact vs. Science Fiction. Sounds like a stealth course in science ethics using famous scifi short stories. The students even get to write their own short fiction!

After that, I was off to Bob Greenbeger's perennial Movie Previews (12m Javitts 110). Long story, short: don't go to see "Thor," but you have to see "The Green Lantern!" I went back to SAC 311 at 1pm to see my favorite Star Trek author (Keith DeCandido) talk about "Mongols vs. Klingons" which was loads of fun. Just don't mention the "Great Tribble Hunt" in Worf's presence! Then I was off to lunch (sorry no BBQ this year), the Dealers' Room (where I got a ton Girl Scout cookies) and the Filk Guest of Honor: Heather Dale (3:30pm SAC Auditorium)! So, its official. Best filkers ever are (in no particular order): Voltaire, Tom Smith, Marc Gunn and Heather Dale.

Bear McCreary is no filker. He is an accomplished composer who does sound tracks for lots of SyFy shows, movies and games. IDK, why I mention him here other than he's is phenomenal! He composed some great music for BattleStar Galactica, I can still here the huge Japanese Kettle drums:

Of course, ICON season would never be complete without WUSB 90.1 FM's own Howard Margolin and "Destinies the Voice of Science Fiction!" So, run, don't walk to and listen to the archived "Destinies" shows. Make sure to listen to the 4 one-hour live specials for ICON 30 dated 4/1/11, 4/8/11, 4/15/11 and the up coming 4/22/11 shows. 4/15/11 is especially fun as it is recorded during the first night of ICON and features some great mystery guests from the con! One of the mystery guests was the great Keith DeCandido himself!

UPDATE: Sorry for the typo, the first of the recordings listed above was only 30 minutes and not live!

So, eternal thanks go to Capt Phil for hosting all the "Destinies" audio archives as well as a regular guest from, Chis DeFilippis, for all your great science fiction documentaries on "Destinies."

Below you will find a video from my cell phone (samsung rogue) I took during Heather Dale's concert on Sunday. I hope you can enjoy it. I really have to get my droid....
That's all folks, for now, I hope you've enjoyed our break from my usual rant!

Generally Speaking,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PI-Day, Suffolk Community College Grant Campus: PI-Day (Art Show 4/2011)

We won the PI-Day Art Show competition last year. We got 1st and 3rd place of all Long Island High School Seniors in the CGI category for our fractal and povray prints! The only reason we won 3rd place is due to the fact that we were competing against ourselves in the same category! Take a look at some of the prints:

Said category did not exist 2 years ago when we entered for the first time. At that time, we entered the math related poster contest. I don't think the judges read our entry essay very carefully and thought we just printed something off the internet. In point of fact, we generated each and every one of those 6000x8000 pixel (48 megapixel) prints 1 pixel at a time using an openMOSIX Linux Cluster (aka super computer) my students and I designed ourselves! I complained back then and they saw the error of their ways. We didn't enter this year, but hope to have something new for next year!
That's all folks, for now, I hope you've enjoyed our break from my usual rant!

Generally Speaking,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Math Conferences 2010-2011

SDD, Baldwin UFSD: Staff Development Day
(11/2010 Math Conference)

I spoke about using SAGE in High School Math classes at my Staff Development Day at my home school, Baldwin Senior High School this past November!

T^3, Molloy College: Teachers Teaching with Technology
(11/2010 Math Conference)

Then I spoke some more about teaching Mathematics with SAGE at the T^3 (Teachers Teaching with Technology) conference this past November at Molloy College. T63 is sponsored by TI (Texas Instruments). You would think they'd be a little miffed at my supporting PC based CAS (Computer Algebra System) as opposed to their handheld version (TI-89, TI-92, TI-200, TI-Voyage and TI-nSpire CAS).
I also spoke about teaching and learning Mathematics with technology in other contexts. This would include the use of SmartBoards vs. Tablets and Tablets vs. Tablet PCs. I should everyone how I use to record my classes for and and how my students use these resources. We also talked about my YouTube Wednesday project. See the links onthe right side of this blog for examples.

LIMACON, SUNY Old Westbury: Long Island MAth CONference
(3/2011 Math Conference)
I usually speak at LIMACON (Long Island MAth CONference) as well. This year I was going to take a break from LIMACON after 20 consecutive years of attending or presenting. Then one of my students won the LIMACON award! So, just when I thought I was free, the yanked me right back into the middle of it all!
Limacon 2011
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I hope you enjoyed this week's updates - that's all folks!

Generally Speaking,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Updates, updates and then ... more updates!

Servers, servers, everywhere
I setup a Linux sftp server that my students could access from anywhere in school and anywhere off campus. I installed jdk and made a few user accounts and never looked back. They login remotely whenever they want. They can create, edit and print files as I added a printer to the same network. They can do all their assignments on this one server, save their work as well as use javac and java as needed from the command line. As such, I don't use an IDE. Just give me a file manager, text editor and a shell and I'm good to go!

We started doing this right after Linux came out around 1995. We used Slackware back then. We used KNOPPIX for several years and dabbled in 64bit Fedora last year. Now we use Ubuntu and love it! So, we have the Gnome desktop (looks like a Mac) and the file manager is Nautilus and the text editor is gedit and the shell is a bash terminal. Reminds me of the good old days of UNIX in the 1970s! The more things change, the more they stay the same!

We used 2 servers, s and s for a LONG time.  These servers ran for some 13 years 24x7 and no down time! I love Linux, it's just bullet proof! Anyway, late last school year I replaced these servers with 2 new ones called s and s but had a lot of issues with them. The problem, just resolved this week, had to do with firewall settings and reassigned IPs for access off campus. Guardian is now a combined ftp and sftp or ssh server. I can even use these servers from my iPod Touch via Safari! BTW, I'm looking to add apache services to caprica so as to run a private SAGE server! BTW, the name "centauri" is inspired from the SciFi TV show "Babylon5." The names "colossus" and "guardian" are from the SciFi movie "The Forbin Project." The name "caprica" is based on the SciFi TV show "Battlestar Gallactica." I'm into SciFi, so sue me....

YouTube Math Class
In the coming weeks, I will be reorganizing my screen-casts on to make clear what's available as a rental and what isn't. Also, I have too many playlists, so I think I will consolidate some of them. I will also make a link to each playlist on the side of this blog as I did the links from re YouTube Wednesday dox and filks (see last week's blog posting).

RENTALS: preCalculus (2010-2011)Harvard Calculus I (7/2010)Calculus AB&BC (2009-2010)Harvard Calculus II (7/2009). FREEBIES: SAGE PresentationsSAGE in High School MathCalculus AB&BC (2009-2010)Computer Science (2008-2009).

YouTube Wednesdays
This week we did the 3rd installment out of 4 of National Geographic's "Miracle Machines" in my computer classes (we will finish the 4th one right before April Break this coming week). I ran the Abbott and Costello skits in preCalc. In Calculus we did "Numa, Numa Calculus" which  is a great review of anti-derivatives believe it or not! See clips below. I just burned DVDs from my DVR of the recent NOVAs about Watson and Fractals. I broke each 1 hour episode up into 4x15minute mp4s for class. That's how I uploaded "Miracle Machines" to YouTube, but the current NOVAs are still commercially available from, so I won't upload these! Anyway, I was thinking of showing the 4 Fractal clips in math classes and the 4 Watson clips in computer classes. However, these videos would apply to both classes. So, I will show them in both! Now I have 8 weeks of YouTube Wednesdays all planned out! After I finish the 4 clips, I'll just swap them and do Fractals in computer classes and Watson in math classes!

Advanced Computer Math
SAGE and Pythonic Math are alive and well in Computer Math and Advanced Computer Math! We are having fun with recursion and polynomials right now. Enjoy reading the textbook from home on your computer using the new ftp site! BTW, there's tons of other stuff on there. For example, you'll find a lot of the YouTube Wednesday video files....

AP Computer Science pep talk
You are ALMOST ready for the AP! We will finish Chpater 18 Recursion next week as well as Part 3 of GridWorld. You need to hit the books over April Break. Read Part 4 of GridWorld and get the latest Barrons review book for AP Computer Science A with Java and go nuts! Don't forget, our textbook and the GridWorld casestudy are online on the ftp site that you can now access from home. Don't worrry, we already had 12 days of AP review with 6 MCQ Mondays and 6 FRQ Fridays for chapters 2-7.

preCalculus 4 Juniors
We don't have a nonAPcalculus class. However, this year I started a preCalculus for Juniors covering most of a traditional preCalculus a bit accelerated (we just finished yesterday). I am now done recording preCalculus for YouTube. So, the rest of this year we will cover as many AP topics as we can. However, this portion of the course will go much slower than a standard AB course. Lucky if we cover 1/2 of what we ordinarily would cover the first quarter of AB. We will stress differential Calculus. Otherwise, we won't have time to do differential and integral Calculus justice in this short time frame. I will try to get 2 or 3 units done by the end of June. In anycase, they will get a good head start for next year's AB class!

Here's some edmodo alerts:
Alert #1
OK guys, after tomorrow's test, you are ready to start Calculus next week! You are going to be SO ready for Calculus next year!
Alert #2
My daughter is going to visit you on Game Day next Friday!
Alert #3
I won't be recording anymore this year as I will be posting my Calculus YouTubes here from now on....

AP Calculus BC pep talk
You guys are SO ready for the AP! We have 8 school days left for AP review. Don't forget we already had 20 days review with all those post MCQ Mondays and pre FRQ Fridays (aka ThinkAlotThursdays)! Get the Barrons review book and go nuts with it over break!

CIS(theta), Computing Independent Study and Shadowfax
Updates for my independent study class will be posted at from now on. We didn't have a meeting this week, but we will have a meeting next week, so I will post on my sister blog next weekend!

Game Day
I am setting up tremulous even as we speak (since I can ssh into my servers at school from home again) for this coming Friday before April Break!

Just in time for April Break, a science fact/fiction convention at SUNY Stony Brook (, and several birthday parties! Sorry, no art shows this year....

That's all folks....

Learning with Technology,