Discussion:  All Topics 
Topic:  Mathematical maturity and lowerorder knowledge & skills 
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Subject:  lower order 
Author:  grc 
Date:  May 10 2003 
Assertion for discussion: When referring to a piece of the math curriculum, if a
computer can do it, it is lowerorder.
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Hi Dave,
I actually was waiting for someone to comment on this. My initial reaction
(about computers being lowerorder) was no, but the angle I was thinking about
it from was universitylevel math research, and so it seemed that my frame of
reference might be skewing my perspective relative to students using computer
programs in classrooms.
You might be interested to know about the work of L.O. Chua out of the
University of CA Berkeley, who is doing a lot with pattern recognition, has a
computer generating its own microspecies, completing pictures given a small
piece of a picture, much like the human brain does. They are not presenting as
being like the human brain, but as "mimicking" the brain. Here is a small piece
about this CNN chip:
http://www.worldscinet.com/ijbc/10/1008/S0218127400001201.html
another:
http://156.17.38.22/icses/implementation_of_the_game.pdf
It plays Conway's Game of Life, and is really quite marvelous, is certainly not
lower order, although, perhaps the computer stuff for young students is. I've
only heard Chua give a talk on it once, about three years ago. It was
unforgetable. There is a reference on the Math Forum page:
http://mathforum.org/library/resource_types/applets/?start_at=101
going to this page:
http://www.cmp.caltech.edu/~mcc/chaos_new/Chaos_demos.html
and Chua's circuit (with accompanying simulation) is shown here:
http://www.cmp.caltech.edu/~mcc/chaos_new/Chaos_demos.html
 
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