California State University - Northridge

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zakeri

What's new or relatively new?

  • Professor William Watkins has been elected as chair of the Mathematics Department beginning August 23, 1995. Our warmest congratulations goes to him.
  • Professor Guo-jun Wang from Shaanxi Teachers University at Xi-an, China will be her during this semester. His field of interest is geometry. If you like to learn more about geometry go see him. His office is in Building 14, Room 301.
  • Mathematics Department has moved to Building 14, third floor for faculty and Building 13 room 110 for Math Offices.
  • At the March 4, 1995 meeting of Mathematical Association of America - Southern California Section held at Loyola Marymount University, from CSUN, the following undergraduate students and faculty attended the meeting: Mei Lee who gave a poster pr esentation on "Finite element vs. Finite difference", Ruben Glueck, and Mike Stein and Drs. Chow, Ann Watkins, Bill Watkins and Zakeri.
  • Two teams (of 3 each) of our undergraduate students participated in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, during February 17-20, 1995. The contest offered students the opportunity to compete in a team setting using applied mathematics in the solvin g of the real-world problems. We will let you know as soon we know the result.
A Course on Chaos will be offered Fall 1995.

The Math department will offer "Chaotic Dynamical System", Math 496A during Fall 1995. This exciting course will be offered at 10:00-10:50 am, MWF by Dr. Zakeri. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about this topic. If you need more information pl ease contact him at 407-7816.

A Friendly Suggestion.........

A number of our graduate students/Seniors will wait until the first week of classes to enroll for classes. This causes that computer drops some of our upper division courses for the lack of sufficient enrollment. Please sign up early for all your co urses.

Math Club home page and World Wide Web

John Redden is created a prototype home page for us. You can visit it at You should use a Web Browser such as Mosaic or Netscape so you can really appreciate the graphics. Note this is a work in progress. Soon y ou see our newsletter there. At one of the club meeting (in near future) we will have a demonstration of the Web to get members started on it.

Did You Know That...............
the ever lasting desire to compute p most accurately goes back at least to the Bible. Today there are a number of books written on how to compute p, for example see A History of p by P. Beckmann. Here is a quick historical tour of computation of p: King Solomon (c. 975 B.C.) 3.0 Archimedes (c. 240 B.C.) 3.14 Aryabhata (c. 450 A.D.) 3.1416 Vieta (1593) 3.141592653 Newton (1666) 3.1415926535897932 Machin (1706) 3.(100 digits) Vega (1794) 3.(140 digits) Dase & Strassnitzky (1844) 3.(200 digits) Ferguson (1947) 3.(800 digits) Reitwiesner (1949) 3.(2000 digits) Shanks & Wrench (1962) 3.(100,000 digits) Gillout & Filliatre (1968) 3.(500,000 digits) Gillout & Bouyer (1973) 3.(1,000,000 digits) Kanada (1987) 3.(134,000,000 digits) "Dase and Strassnitzky obtained their results by long and tedious hand computations whereas Ferguson used a desk calculator. Reitwiesner followed John Von Neumann's suggestion and programmed ENIAC, one of the first computers, to arrive at his value for p . Indeed, his calculations (in 1949) were completed over the Labor Day weekend, when he and three of his colleagues at Aberdeen Research Laboratories took 8-hour shifts to keep ENIAC operating continuously. Shanks and Wrench in New York, as well as Gill out, Filliatre, and Bouyer in Paris, still employed arctangent methods to arrive at their results. It soon became clear, however, that these methods were subject to inescapable limits, even if computing power and speed increased a hundredfold. For examp le, Gillout and Bouyer's program would have required at least a quarter of a century to produce a billion-digit value for p. Thus all subsequent digit hunters used different methods, which are iterative and at least quadratically convergent. The results of Kanada (Tokyo 1987) were obtained on an NEC-SX2 supercomputer, using the Gauss-Brent-Salamin iterative algorithm. This algorithm is based on the work of Srinivasa Ramanujan (1914) and the related efforts of J. Borwein (1986), who state th at if one could somehow monopolize a supercomputer for a few weeks, more than two billion digits of p could be produced!" [Numerical Mathematics by Breuer & Zwas]. Interested reader should compute p using p/4 = arctan(1/3) + arctan(1/2), and p/4 = 2arc tan(1/5) + arctan(1/7) + 2arctan(1/8). Can you tell which one converges faster and why? Recall that arctan x = x - x3/3 + x5/5 - x7/7 + ... .

Did You Know That..............
1995 Mathematics Awareness Week was April 23-29 with the dynamic theme of Mathematics and Symmetry? The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics writes: "We have selected April 23-29 because it is also National Science and Technology Week, sponsored by the Na tional Science Foundation. Moreover, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics celebrates Mathematics Education Month in April." JPBM adds you can schedule activities any week in March, April, or May. "Symmetry is a concept used in mathematics f or analysis, classification, making predictions through modeling, and for understanding the structures of all kinds of objects--both in mathematics and in the physical world. Mathematicians refer to symmetry as invariance under transformation. Symmetry is a central theme of mathematics because transformations are a primary object of mathematical study."

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