Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Ian Underwood

September, 2001

To: All Dr. Math Doctors
From: Ian Underwood 
Subject: Ask Dr. Math in September

Hi Math Doctors,

By now, you may have noticed the following message on the Math Forum

   We are upgrading our hardware October 1-3. You can
   view our pages, but the options to search, post, and
   submit will not be available. Thank you for your
   patience as we make these improvements to our site.

The time needed to transfer the data from our current servers to our
new servers requires us to temporarily stop any posting to
discussions, submitting questions to T2T or Dr. Math, responding to
PoWs, mentoring, and/or searching of the various libraries. Users will
only be able to "view" our site during that three day period.

I know it's an inconvenience, but when the freeze ends, the site
should be faster and more stable than in the past.  Searching the
office should start working again, and you'll find that several
improvements have been made to the clinic interface. 

Pages will be reachable via the same URLs that you use now.  Although
the domain '' will continue to be usable in the near
future, please update your bookmarks and links to reflect the change
to '' if you haven't already done that.  (If you still
have references to, those _will_ stop working in
the near future, so you really need to update those.)

In the first 25 days of September, we received 6843 questions (273 per
day), of which we answered 2640 (105 per day), for an average of
38.6%.  So we've picked up at just a little below where we left off at
the end of the last school year -- at around 40%, poised to make an
attack on the magical 50% mark.

Thanks to everyone who helped out this month, with special thanks
going to the following math doctors:

          | Sarah
  20/day  | Peterson
  15/day  |
  10/day  |
          | Rick
          | Rob
   5/day  | Anthony, Mitteldorf
          | Greenie, Jeremiah, Jerry
          | Fenton
          | Douglas, Floor, Jubal, Paul, Tom
   1/day  | Achilles, Budrow, Code, Jodi, Jordi, Pete
   1/wk   | Ann, Evandar, Luis, Roy, White, Wolfson

Although more than a third of the answers that went out in September
were accounted for by Drs. Sarah and Peterson, almost 30 math doctors
made it onto the chart, and almost 40 contributed to the total --
about the same number who contributed in April and May.  I hope we can
improve on those numbers, both by signing up new math doctors, and by
bringing some of you back to active status.

It's interesting to note that, except for a few answers regarding
rounding, Dr. Sarah relied exclusively on the archive and FAQ, which
suggests that getting more interns active could give us a big boost in
the number of questions answered each month... and also suggests that
improving our submission interface to help patients find answers to
their questions in the archive and FAQ could reduce the number of
'easy' questions that we get each month, allowing us to concentrate on
the more interesting ones.  

The number of archived answers, by the way, is now over 6800, in part
because of the great job you've been doing in flagging answers that
you think should be archived.  Keep it up!  We no longer have staff
dedicated to combing post-op for good answers, so for the forseeable
future, if you don't flag an answer, it has almost no chance of being

(For those of you who like to read through post-op, feel free to flag
answers from other doctors, if you feel they've been too modest.)

Finally, welcome to new math doctors Sarge, Jubal, Chad, Code, Harrison, and
Bloomer.  And congratulations to newly tenured Dr. Wolfson.

Okay, that's all the news for September.  Go forth, be fruitful, and
teach kids to multiply...

Dr. Ian
Attending Physician
Ask Dr. Math