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Saturday, May 28, 2005

NUMB3RS: The MATH show

In the CBS show Numb3rs, “Cal Sci” (loosely based on Caltech, California
Institute of Technology) mathematician Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz)
gets chewed out by his friend, physics professor Larry Fleinhardt (Peter
MacNicol), for missing a meeting, in a scene filmed under the sunlit arches
of Caltech’s Kerckhoff Laboratories.Posted by Hello
"Leave it to television to work out a way to make a national symbol of
nerdiness—mathematics—into something sexy.

Aided by an intense, young, tousle-haired math professor named Charlie
Eppes, the creators of Numb3rs, airing Fridays at 10 p.m. (Pacific Time)
on CBS, manage to do just that. Yes, the algorithm ace looks dashing as he
plummets down a hill in a glorified go-cart he calls an extreme-gravity
vehicle. But it’s not just math-flavored machismo. Caltech-caliber
calculations course through the episodes, facilitated by professor Gary
Lorden ’62, who serves as Numb3rs’s mathematics advisor, and
buttressed by scenes shot at the Institute.

Numb3rs, which premiered January 23, covers familiar TV crime-busting
territory—foiling bioterrorism, outwitting bank robbers, and stopping a
serial rapist. But there’s a twist: FBI Special Agent Don Eppes (Rob
Morrow, of Northern Exposure fame) enlists the help of his brilliant
younger brother, Charlie (David Krumholtz), a math professor, to solve
some of the bureau’s most vexing cases.

Real algorithms help the Eppes brothers uncover a serial rapist’s point of
origin when Charlie works out an equation derived from crime scene
locations pinpointed on a map. He uses probability, statistics, graph theory,
and vector analysis to identify the culprit in a Spanish flu outbreak that
strikes Los Angeles. Week after week, viewers see how Charlie uses actual
mathematical methods to help crack tough cases."
[Source: "Crime and Computation" by Rhonda Hillbery (Full Story )]

Monday, May 23, 2005


A very good source of pointers to Mathematical Games and Puzzles is
MathPuzzle.com . The website is maintained and copyrighted by Ed Pegg
Jr, 1607 Park Haven, Champaign, IL 61820. If you've made a good, new
math puzzle, you may send it to Ed at ed@mathpuzzle.com. If you are a
real enthusiast of puzzles and mathematics games, you may join his
moderated recreational mathematics email list at

Maple 10 Released

Maplesoft have released Maple 10. Apparently the focus is on
communicating math rather than on calculation capabilities.
This press release published in pharmalive.com has a lot of good
information about the new release.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

RSA-200 Factored

RSA numbers are composite numbers having exactly two prime factors
While composite numbers are defined as numbers that can be written as
a product of smaller numbers known as factors (for example, 10 = 2 x 5
is composite with factors 2 and 5), prime numbers have no such
decomposition (for example, 9 does not have any factors other than 1 and
itself). Prime factors therefore represent a fundamental (and unique)
decomposition of a given positive integer. RSA numbers are special types
of composite numbers particularly chosen to be difficult to factor, and they
are identified by the number of digits they contain. For knowing more about
RSA numbers and challenge problems of factorization for different-length
RSA numbers, visit the site of RSA Laboratory .

On May 9, a team at the German Federal Agency for Information
Technology Security (BIS) announced the factorization of the 200-digit
2799783391 1221327870 8294676387 2260162107 0446786955 428537
5600 0992932612 8400107609 3456710529 5536085606 1822351910
9513657886 3710595448 2006576775 0985805576 1357909873 495014
4178 8631789462 9518723786 9221823983

Factorization of RSA numbers is significant because of the curious property
that proving or disproving a number to be prime seems to be much easier
than actually identifying the factors of a number. Thus, while it is trivial to
multiply two large numbers x and y together, it can be extremely difficult
to determine the factors if only their product xy is given. With some
ingenuity, this property can be used to create practical and efficient
encryption systems for electronic data.
[Main source for this posting: Mathworld.wolfram.com]

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Animation of Fluid: The Challenge

Film Animators are dissatisfied with at least one thing they do - the
animation of fluid. To date, the art of animating fluids has drawn on
relatively unsophisticated scientific models, but these approaches have
not delivered anything approaching realistic motion.

Mathematicians at the Australian research institute CSIRO and Korean
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) are
determined to tackle this last big challenges in animation. CSIRO
researchers will come to the rescue of film-makers by providing them with
more sophisticated models. Predicting the flow behaviours of entities such
as waves, bubbles, splashes, eddies and whirlpools, particularly when they
interact, requires complex models and is best dealt with by means of
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques.

They are taking the mathematical equations used to model complex fluid
interactions, such as the aerodynamics of aircraft or the behaviour of mined
ores in crushing mills, and applying them to animating fluids for motion
pictures and computer games.

CSIRO and ETRI will deliver these new CFD tools for animators working
with fluids. Korea is a global leader in animation. ETRI has chosen to work
with CSIRO because they understand that the leap forward in animating
liquids can only come from advanced mathematics.

For prototype examples of such animations, visit this CSIRO site.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

'SimDriveline' from Mathworks

The Mathworks has developed SimDriveline for modeling and simulating
the mechanics of automotive and aerospace driveline and drivetrain
systems. It includes tools for modeling transmissions, gears, clutches, and
rotating shafts - all within the Simulink environment.

SimDriveline includes libraries of components for driveline systems,
standard transmission templates, and simple engine and tire models.
Models for most driveline configurations can be built using the library of
common gear configurations and library of dynamic elements, which
provides interfaces for modeling clutches, flexible shafts and torque

With a solution algorithm and user interface optimised for modeling and
simulating driveline mechanics, SimDriveline provides engineers with an
environment for efficient simulation of driveline systems.