Math journals and the fight over open access Friday, Jan 18 2013 

Some may have heard me talk about this before, but I’ve caught the open source bug. At least, I’ve caught the collaboration and free-dissemination bug. And I don’t just mean software – there’s much more to open source than software (even though the term open source originated in reference to free access to source code). I use open source to refer to the idea that when someone consumes a product, they should have access to the design and details of implementation, and should be able to freely distribute the product whenever this is possible. In some ways, I’m still learning. For example, though I use linux, I do not know enough about coding to contribute actual code to the linux/unix community. But I know just enough python to contribute to Sage, and do. And I’m getting better.

I also believe in open access, which feels like a natural extension. By open access, I mean free access to peer-reviewed scholarly journals and other materials. It stuns me that the public does not generally have access to publicly-funded research. How is this acceptable? Another thing that really gets to me is how selling overpriced and overlarge calculus textbooks can allow the author to do things like spend 30+ million dollars on his home? This should not happen. At least, it shouldn’t happen now, in the internet age. All the material is freely available in at least as good of a presentation, so the cost of the textbook is a compilation cost (not worth over $100). But these books are printed oversize, 1000+ pages, in full color and on 60-pound paper. That’s a recipe for high cost! It’s tremendously unfortunate, as it’s not as though the students even have a choice over what book they buy. But this is not the argument I want to make today, and I digress.

Recently, I was dragged down a rabbit hole. And what I saw when I emerged on the other side made me learn about a side of math journals I’d never seen before, and the fight over open access. I’d like to comment on this today – that’s after the fold.

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Are the calculus MOOCs any good: After week 1 Saturday, Jan 12 2013 

This is a continuation of a previous post.

I’ve been following the two Coursera calculus MOOCs: the elementary introductory to calculus being taught by Dr. Fowler of Ohio State University, and a course designed around Taylor expansions taught by Dr. Ghrist of UPenn, meant to be taken after an introductory calculus course. I’ve completed the ‘first week’ of Dr. Fowler’s course (there are 15 total), and the ‘first unit’ of Dr. Ghrist’s course (there are 5 total), and I have a few things to say – after the fold.

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Math 90: Week 11 and Midterm Solutions Sunday, Nov 18 2012 

We had a midterm this week, and did more review during recitation. The solutions are now available below the fold

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An Application of Mobius Inversion to Certain Asymptotics I Thursday, Nov 8 2012 

In this note, I consider an application of generalized Mobius Inversion to extract information of arithmetical sums with asymptotics of the form \displaystyle \sum_{nk^j \leq x} f(n) = a_1x + O(x^{1 - \epsilon}) for a fixed j and a constant a_1, so that the sum is over both n and k. We will see that \displaystyle \sum_{nk^j \leq x} f(n) = a_1x + O(x^{1-\epsilon}) \iff \sum_{n \leq x} f(n) = \frac{a_1x}{\zeta(j)} + O(x^{1 - \epsilon}).

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Math 90: Week 10 Wednesday, Nov 7 2012 

We deviated from our regular course of action this week, so we did not have preset examples to do in classes. So instead, I will say a few things, and this can be the new posthead for questions.

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Math 90: Week 8 Quiz Wednesday, Oct 24 2012 

There was a quiz this week – in this post, we consider the solutions, common mistakes, and the distribution.

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Math 90: Week 7 Wednesday, Oct 17 2012 

I haven’t quite yet finished writing up the solutions to the problems we did in class yesterday. But I wanted to go ahead an make the solutions to the test available. If you ask me for them, I can send you a link to them.

But please note that there is an error in the key! In particular, on problem 7(b), I forgot that we only care about t \geq 0. So the final answer should not include t = 1/2.
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Math 90: Week 5 Wednesday, Oct 3 2012 

A few administrative notes before we review the day’s material: I will not be holding office hours this Wednesday. And there are no classes next Monday, when my usual set of office hours are. But I’ve decided to do a sort of experiment: I don’t plan on reviewing for the exam specifically next week, but a large portion of the class has said that they would come to office hours on Monday if I were to have them. So I’m going to hold them to that – I’ll be in Kassar House 105 (the MRC room) from 7-8:30 (or so, later perhaps if there are a lot of questions), and this will dually function as my office hours and a sort of review session.

But this comes with a few strings attached: firstly, I’ll be willing to answer any question, but I’m not going to prepare a review; secondly, if there is poor turnout, then this won’t happen again. Alrighty!

The rest is after the fold –

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Math 90: Week 2 Tuesday, Sep 11 2012 

Yes, although it’s the second week of class, this is after the first recitation. If you are registered for Tom’s class and haven’t yet done so, leave a comment at the bottom of Math 90: Week 1.

In addition, I can now announce my office hours. They are from 7-8PM on Monday in Kassar House room 105 and 12:30-1:30PM on Wednesday in my office (number 18, my name is on the door) in the basement of the Kassar House. To get in the building on Monday, you should look at the MRC page, and in particular at this (shaky youtube) video.

After my evening recitation, I’ll post up the problems I gave out in class and their solutions. Please feel free to ask any questions you want here. The details are included after the fold:

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Math 90: Week 1 Tuesday, Sep 4 2012 

This is a  post related to how I plan to conduct my [Math 90] TA sessions. I would like to use this space as a supplement to the class work. Each Tuesday night, after my recitations, I will post my worksheets and their solutions under a new page. That page will serve as a comment-forum for for any questions students may have over that week. I will answer any comments posted here periodically throughout the week. It is also possible I may post additional, supplementary materials here if I feel it necessary.

Now I ask that my students please do the following:

Below, you’ll see a comment form. Write a comment using your name (this will be displayed by each comment you make), your email address (this is not displayed publicly), and a comment. Write anything you’d like.If you need a prompt, write what you want to get out of this course, or ask me a question.

You can write mathy things on this forum using the \LaTeX formatting language. A bit more on that here, except that to product inline formulas with \$ \text{latex (code)} \$ (dollar sign, the word latex, the code, followed by a dollar sign). For example, we’ll be doing things like \displaystyle \int_0^1 x^2 dx and \displaystyle \sum_{n = 1}^N \left( \frac{1}{N}\right)f\left( \frac{n}{N}\right) in this course.

I look forward to seeing all of you in class. Please note that it will always be easy to check out my [Math 90] posthead  by clicking on Math 90 in my pages menu at the top left, or by remembering that link. There will be links to the different pages from the posthead, once there are different pages to link to.

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