Math Forum Internet News

Volume 3, Number 43

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26 October 1998                                   Vol. 3, No. 43


Macalester College POW | AMOF - Object Factory | Prime Glossary


Stan Wagon, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science 
at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, poses a math
problem to his students each week. Since the problems are 
meant to be accessible to first-year college students, very 
little background is needed to understand or solve them. 

The problems are sent out by electronic mail and are added
to a searchable archive; solutions are posted one week after
e-mail distribution and are accessible for the rest of the
semester. An archive of older problems is also maintained at 

  Fall 1998 problems include:
    - Random Tic-tac-toe
    - Passing Pebbles 
    - Three Circles in the Temple 
    - Draw a Perpendicular 
    - Spear the Points 
    - Isosceles Pairs 
    - The Doughnut Baker's Problem 

Previous archives housed by the Math Forum include more
than 80 problems, from fall 1995 through spring 1998.

Instructions for subscribing to the mailing list are on 
the Web at:



What is a combinatorial object? The main feature of such 
objects is that there is only a finite number of any 
particular type - a finite number of ways for persons
to order themselves in line at a theatre, or to make change 
for a dollar. On the other hand, temperature does not have
a finite number of values (it could be 25.3315411 degrees), 
nor does the position of a ball on a pool table, so these 
are not combinatorial objects. 

AMOF is part encyclopedia and part calculator, a teaching 
tool that generates mathematical permutations for some 
combinatorial object types:

 - subsets
 - combinations
 - permutations
 - 8-queens problem
 - pentominoes
 - permutations of a multiset
 - partitions
 - Fibonacci sequences
 - magic squares

AMOF also offers a number of links to sites relevant to 
K-12 discrete mathematics education, and to the
Combinatorial Object Server (COS), a site for university 
students and researchers that can help you find many 
additional types of combinatorial objects.



             THE PRIME GLOSSARY - Chris Caldwell

An Internet guide to the terminology of prime numbers, 
including some links to other pages with fuller definitions 
and information. 

The glossary is written on two levels: 

 - for schoolteachers and students, using as little jargon
     as possible to define the basic words of elementary 
     prime number theory and provide unusual or curious
     terms that could be the subject of research papers;

 - for those familiar with the basic terminology, listing 
     some of the useful but perhaps less well-known words 
     and ideas.

The Prime Glossary is a part of the Prime Pages site, an
index of information on prime numbers.



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