1. Introduction:

Here is a list of possible skills you might consider mastering before the end of the semester. The present list includes those we’ve talked about in class so far. And to give your individual work some focus, you might choose just a few to do as mini-projects over the next two weeks. Let me know which you choose, and I’ll help you do them.

2. DPgraph Report

Write up a proper lab report on your DPgraph experiment. Prepare a 5-10 minute demo in class to go along with the report.

3. Learn Python

In a few hours you could learn enough Python to complete a nano-project, something you thought of and created. There are three ways of doing this.

3.1. From Stan Blank’s Notes

Read your way into 10-15 pages of this book, do some of the examples. You’ll need to install some software on your computer, unless you work in the lab. If there are some takers for this route, I’ll give a lesson on what and how to install it.

3.2. Using visual.py

It is possible to investigate the python library that is at a higher level than OpenGL in immediate and elementary deferred mode (our two lessons from Week 2) directly by "importing" the visual.py package. This route does depend on the integrated development environment contained in Vpython, below.

3.3. Using VPython

Vpython is an superb package designed to teach college physics through programming. It has many examples of sophisticated code, but primitive 3D graphics. This is good, when you want to learn to program graphics, but not waste our time on uninteresting examples. The physics examples here are really nice. We would use VPython for the entire course if there were some way of attaching VPython to Syzygy (for the Cube.)

4. Drawing Figures by Hand

There isn’t a successful computer graphics practitioner who doesn’t do sketches by hand at times. There is a bag of tricks for sketching a surface you can model on a tool, like DPgraph or Grapher (on the macs). A short tutorial can point you resources to start with.

5. Typesetting with LaTeX

The LaTeX mathematical typesetting tools for composing short documents is accessible in a relatively short time. If you have the need, there is a way. To get good at TeX takes about a year. But you can get started here. There are several tools available with varying degree of difficulty and usefulness. I can help you with these:

In addition, you’ll be creating a webpage for Math 198. Webpages can be built "by hand" or with a webpage "factory". In the past students have worked with asciiDoc, which is a primitive factory, with a shallow learning curve, modest results, and a few aggravations that you need to know about. I’ve been using asciiDoc since May to prepare these webpages.

6. Mathematical Topics

In combination with the above skills, you should develop a deeper understanding of few of the following issues. Many of them came up in your journals. The idea is to put some effort learning about them, and organizing what you find lying around the WWW, and thinking about explanations. Depending on "takers" I’ll organize supplementary materials and mini-lessons around them.