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Bailey Co-Organizes Math Course

January 1, 2006

David H. Bailey, the Chief Technologist of the Computational Research Division, co-organized a two-day course entitled “Experimental Mathematics in Action” at the annual joint meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America. The meeting was held January 10-15 in San Antonio, Texas.

Approximately 80 people signed up for the course, which was organized in the spirit of the two recent books by Bailey and Jonathan Borwein, Mathematics by Experiment: Plausible Reasoning in the 21st Century (2004) and Experimentation in Mathematics: Computational Paths to Discovery (2004), the latter with Roland Girgensohn.

Although the texts served as a good primer for the course, the specific topic lectures in the course were primarily new material. Bailey gave two 90-minute lectures focusing on algorithms for experimental mathematics and on case studies of using high performance computing technology in mathematical research.

The goal of this course was to present a coherent variety of accessible examples of modern mathematics where intelligent computing plays a significant role and in doing so to highlight some of the key algorithms and to teach some of the key experimental approaches.

“The last twenty years have been witness to a fundamental shift in the way mathematics is practiced,” according to the course abstract. “With the continued advance of computing power and accessibility, the view that ‘real mathematicians don’t compute’ no longer has any traction for a newer generation of mathematicians who can readily take advantage of computer aided research, especially given the maturity of modern computational packages such as Maple, Mathematica and Matlab.”

Bailey and the other four speakers in the course prepared written material to accompany the lectures and which will be published later this year as a book.


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