IMU-Net 32: November 2008
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IMU-Net 32: November 2008

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France

CONTENTS

1. Editorial
2. News from IMU: Kenya has become an Associate IMU member
3. IMU on the Web
4. Ramanujan Prize 2008
5. Passing away of Professor Kiyoshi Ito
6. ICSU booklet
7. Subscribing to IMU-Net

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1. EDITORIAL

Dear Reader,

We are happy to welcome Kenya as the third Associate Member of the IMU
after Ecuador and Kyrgyzstan. I take this opportunity to recall that
an important mission of IMU is to promote and encourage mathematical
research and education in developing countries.
You can also help us increase the distribution of the Newsletter by
forwarding this issue to colleagues and encouraging them to subscribe.
I wish you a Merrry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel
Editor

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2. NEWS FROM IMU: KENYA HAS BECOME AN ASSOCIATE IMU MEMBER

The vote on Kenya's application for Associate Membership yielded a
positive result. As of October 2008, Kenya is an Associate Member of
the IMU. For more information on Kenya's Adhering Organization see:
http://www.mathunion.org/members/countries/kenya/

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3. IMU ON THE WEB: Access Grid: enabling e-Collaboration

Access Grid
"Video-conferencing" covers a broad range of functionalities from basic
two way use of video and audio for meetings to include document cameras,
data exchange, desktop sharing, recording and shared applications (such as
interactive whiteboards). Many versions, mostly commercial, of
video-conferencing are available running in specially equipped rooms or on
desktops/laptops. The Access Grid, AG, developed at Argonne National
Laboratories (see http://www.accessgrid.org), has been described as
video-conferencing "on steroids":  it's free, scalable to many Access Grid
Rooms, AGRs, and flexible. AGRs run under Windows, UNIX or Mac
environments. There's no typical AGR (for a photo gallery, see
http://www.accessgrid.org). However AGRs usually have a "wall": one large
projection screen of three (or four) linked computer projection screens.
There's usually one audio stream and video streams from three cameras.

Working on 2 screens
Many presenters work with two screens (with other screens used for video
of remote audiences etc). One screen displays the main presentation (pdf
slides, say) and one screen displays software demonstrations or "Digital
Ink": handwritten asides, worked examples or sketches. How Digital Ink is
provided depends on the hardware and software used.

Since the AG uses VNC for the data/software stream, the presenter chooses
to enable, or not, remote control: remote collaborators can take over the
mouse and control the software (Maple, Word, etc).

PIGs
The AG software can run on a desktop/laptop: it's free and all that's
required is a web-cam, headphones with a microphone and good internet
connection, resulting in a Personal Interface to the Grid, a PIG.

Canadian seminars
For three years, led by Simon Fraser University and Dalhousie University,
about 90 regional and coast-to-coast seminars, in mathematics and computer
science, have been conducted via a network of Canadian AGRs [1].

In Australia
ICE-EM (the education arm of the Australian Mathematical Sciences
Institute, AMSI), is coordinating and partially funded 11 AGRs, in
mathematics precincts in Australia. Most of the 38 universities in
Australia have access to an AGR. In December 2007, an AMSI one-day seminar
on engineering mathematics education had 16 remote AGRs participating.

Using AGRs to collaboratively teach Honours (that is, 4th year)
mathematics and statistics courses commenced in July 2006. During 2008, 17
courses were offered (see http://www.ice-em.org.au  and follow the links
Access Grid > Subject and Course List). Students, with the approval of
their home university, can take courses for credit toward their Honours
degree. All AMSI member universities are invited to participate.

The UK
Six centres in the UK, funded by the EPSRC, commenced (in October 2007)
the teaching of "broadening" courses for PhD students. Two of these
centres use AG technology: the MAGIC consortium of 15 universities (see
http://www.maths.dept.shef.ac.uk/magic/index.php) and the Taught Course
Centre: a collaboration between the Universities of Bath, Bristol,
Imperial, Oxford and Warwick (see http://www.tcc.maths.ox.ac.uk).

Conclusion
The Access Grid enables very rich multi-nodal remote collaborations in
research and teaching. Likewise, it is also an excellent and
travel-reducing way to run a variety of administrative and planning
meetings. The mathematics community, in Australia, the UK and Canada, is
leading the way with collaborative teaching of advanced mathematics or
seminars across networks of AGRs [2].

References
[1] Borwein, J., et al., Coast-to-Coast (C2C) Seminar: Background,
History, and Practice; and Apendices A & B.  In Borwein, J., Rocha, E.M.
and Rodrigues, J.F. (Editors) Communicating Mathematics in the Digital
Era. AK Peters, 2008. Available from
http://users.cs.dal.ca/~jborwein/c2c08.pdf

[2] Bill Blyth, What is Access Grid? . and so what for maths? Aust MS
Gazette, 35, 5 (November), in press, 2008. Available from:
http://www.austms.org.au/Gazette

Bill Blyth  (bill.blyth@ice-em.org.au)
National Coordinator, Access Grid project
Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, AMSI

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4. 2008 RAMANUJAN PRIZE

The 2008 Srinivasa Ramanujan Prize will be awarded to Professor Enrique R.
Pujals, Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA), Brazil.
The Prize is in recognition of "his outstanding contributions to Dynamical
Systems, especially the characterization of robust dynamics for flows and
transformations and th development of a theory of generic systems."

The Prize is supported by the Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund, with the
participation of the International Mathematical Union.

Information on:
http://prizes.ictp.it/prizes/Ramanujan/

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5. PASSING AWAY OF PROFESSOR KIYOSHI ITO

Kiyoshi Itô died on November 10, 2008, at the age of 93. Kiyoshi Itô was
one of the great figures of probability theory in the twentieth century,
along with A.N. Kolmogorov and P. Lévy. Itô's most famous mathematical
contribution is his invention of stochastic integrals, which were
initially motivated by the theory of stochastic differential
equations. The celebrated Itô formula gives an expression for a smooth
function of Brownian motion, or of more general random processes, in
terms of stochastic integrals. Itô's stochastic calculus has had an
enormous impact in theoretical probability, as well as a huge number
of applications in domains such as mathematical finance. For the
latter reason, Kiyoshi Itô was awarded the
first Gauss Prize of IMU at the 2006 ICM in Madrid.

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6. ICSU BOOKLET

The International Council for Science (ICSU) endorses a new booklet on
Freedom, Responsibility and the Universality of Science.

In the light of recent high profile cases of scientific misconduct, the
General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU)
reaffirmed the universal values that should guide the conduct of science.
The Assembly also explicitly recognised the key social responsibilities of
the scientific community as laid out in a new booklet, which will be made
widely available to scientists across the world.

The booklet asserts that: "all scientists have a responsibility to ensure
that they conduct
their work with honesty and integrity; and to ensure that methods and
results are reported in an accurate, orderly, timely and open fashion."


The booklet and more on the General Assembly are available at:
www.icsu.org/3_mediacentre/GA_29.html

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Previous issues can be seen at:
http://www.mathunion.org/Publications/Newsletter/archive
last updated: 2012-07-31