December 10, 2007

Chaos Game

We're going to start with a fantastic piece by Keith Peters. What a great way to kick off the Flash-a-thon! ~Kristin


Author: Keith Peters
Author's comments:
The Chaos Game is a simple algorithm that can produce some surprising fractal forms. This one has been done in 3D. More info here:

Support the educational projects at GalaxyGoo, and make an online donation through Network for Good or Facebook Causes..

For live version, and source files, continue reading.

Continue reading "Chaos Game" »

October 25, 2007

Moo Cards! Flash on the Beach! and Mathematica!

The moo cards I ordered, to take to FOTB, arrived today! Yeah!


Looks like the conference is completely sold out! Wow! Really looking forward to it! I just hope my presentation stands up to all the other great sessions on the schedule. I'm having a great time preparing it! Atoms, and fractals, and algorithms...oh my!

Thanks to a temp license from Wolfram Research, I now have a copy of Mathematica installed on my laptop. Yeah! If you're going to FOTB, and you're curious, look for me at the conference.

May 14, 2007

My First Export to SWF, From Mathematica

A little while ago, I briefly posted about Mathematica 6 exporting to SWF. Well, I've had a little time to play with it, and must confess that I'm finding it difficult to focus on finishing a project, because there is always something interesting in the documentation to distract me.

I've set myself the task of exploring the export to SWF feature, and here's an early example. AT this point, all I've done is make some small modifications to provided examples.

My impressions, so far:

Some Good stuff:
1. A lot of power in a few lines of code! This example was created in about 4 lines.
2. Wonderfully simple programming interface--I've always loved that about Mathematica.
3. Amazingly easy to go from evaluating a function to producing an interactive animation of it (even if the swf export doesn't have the interaction part).
4. Nice range of color palettes to choose from, and easy to apply. (I need to research how to add custom palettes).

Some Problems:
1. The resulting swf is huge! 3.27mb!
2. There is no interactivity in the swf - it runs automatically, even though there is a slider visible. (within Mathematica there is a lot of interaction with the example).
3. The swf does not support the 3d rotation of rendered object, which is present in the Mathematica interface.
4. The swf appears to be frame-by-frame animation of stills, rather than making use of any of the Flash drawing api.

Because the file is so big, I've posted it to the extended entry, instead of the main body, of this post. I've also posted a screenshot of the Mathematica notebook file, used to create this swf.

Continue reading "My First Export to SWF, From Mathematica" »

February 15, 2007

Stage Show Schedule at Family Science Days

The Stage Show Schedule is posted for the Family Science Days, and the Mythbusters are first up on Saturday! I think I have a view of the stage from the GalaxyGoo booth, and I'm looking forward to their show. It would be cool if they'd stop by our booth, and pose for a photo with me. Even better, wearing GalaxyGoo T-shirts :-)

GalaxyGoo's booth is sponsored by Adobe. Also, thanks to the generosity of Friends of Ed, we have some great books to give away. Peter was kind enough to send some copies of New Masters of Flash 3 and LEGO Mindstorms NXT: The Mayan Adventure.

Stage Show Schedule

AAAS Family Science Days
San Francisco Hilton
11:00 AM — 5:00 PM

Saturday, 17 February
11:00 AM "The Mythbusters: Jamie Savage and Adam Hyneman" — The Science Channel
Noon "BioBug: Field to Fuel" — University of Idaho
12:45 PM "Iron Science" — The Exploratorium
1:30 PM "Fun with Science and Astronomy" — The Zula Patrol and KQED Kids!
2:15 PM AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books: Awards ceremony
3:15 PM "Waves in Nature: Lasers to Tsunamis and Beyond" — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
4:00 PM "The Outreach Roadshow" — Women@SCS Outreach Roadshow, Carnegie Mellon University

Sunday, 18 February
11:00 AM "Name that Mammal!" — Platypus Media
11:45 AM "The Science Hour of Power" — Sikes Science
12:30 PM "Global Warming Discovery" — ClimateChangeEducation.Org
1:15 PM "The Science of Yo-Yos" — Yomega Corp.
2:00 PM "BioBug: Field to Fuel" — The University of Idaho
2:45 PM "Cloud Nine" — How The Weatherworks™
3:30 PM "Robotics: The Next 10 Years" — The Robotics Society of America and San Francisco State University
4:15 PM "Kinetic City" — AAAS

October 31, 2006

The Mathematics Calendar Is Back!

The Mathematics Calendar is back for 2007!

Every day, a new math problem...since the answer is always given, the fun part is figuring out how that could be the answer. If that's not enough to make you want one, hanging one in your work-space is sure to make you look smart!


This fantastic calendar is the work of Theoni Pappas, author of The Joy of Mathematics and many other friendly math books.

April 03, 2006

Mathematical User Interfaces workshop

Someday, I'd love to go to one of these conferences (Mathematical Knowledge Management Conference). They've issued a call for papers on Mathemaitcal User Interfaces which looks very interesting.

Read the full post, to read the call for papers and description of the conference and workshop.

Continue reading "Mathematical User Interfaces workshop" »

August 04, 2005

A challenge for math-geeks

I just came across this site today called MathsChallenge, 'A website dedicated to the puzzling world of mathematics'. I got hooked instantly... The site has a lot of math-oriented puzzles which range from quite easy to quite challenging... Very fun stuff.

But the real fun lies in the section called Project Euler. Here a number of problems are posed that, in general, require the use of a computer to solve. You can register and keep track of the problems you solved and how you rank against others and all... I decided to join and get my hands dirty by using Python for the problems. Sofar, after one day, I've managed to solve 14 problems. I am sure some of the other problems will take me much longer to solve, if at all... But if yer up to challenge both yer math and yer programming skills, have fun!

July 11, 2005

Stumble Upon Math

I recently got 'acquainted' with Stumble Upon, a free tool which gets a random link from a large set of categories at the click of a button. It's way more addictive than it sounds (so don't install it if you have very little time!), and there's a large Math-section.

Here's a small selection of fun Math-sites I 'stumbled upon' in this way (I've not given the website names so you'll get an idea of how this works and how much fun it is, hehe):
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
Link 5

May 27, 2005

Planet San Francisco Sculptor donates Pi Table to GalaxyGoo Art Auction

We haven't mentioned anything on the blog yet, since we're still very early in the planning stages, but GalaxyGoo is holding a benefit art auction in November. The theme is Art about and inspired by Science and Math.

You may be wondering why I couldn't wait to blog about this. Well, today I got confirmation that local artist Mike Farruggia is donating one of his works to the auction: his Pi Table. It's made of steam bent oak, with over 3,000 digits of Pi stamped into the surface. There's a good picture of it on his website.

May 12, 2005

All About Ratios Project Now Onlne

Last night, I uploaded the All About Ratios project to our server. So far, testing is going well, but we could use some more feedback. The focus right now is on function.

For me, the most challenging part of the project was working with internal and externally loaded images as if they came from the same source, and keeping my code readable. Since Flash won't duplicate a movie clip with an externally loaded jpeg, I had to load them repeatedly. But I wanted there to be default images for the exercise, so that the learning tool would work even if it landed in an environment without external resources to load.

I'm going to take a break from the code for a little while, and then come back and look for ways to improve the class structures.

All About Ratios: a learnig tool built with Flash

November 17, 2004

The Algorithmic Beauty Of Plants

For those who are interested in Lindenmayer Systems (aka L-Systems), the authorative book on the subject is 'The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants' by Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz & Aristid Lindenmayer, a book from '90 that saw its 2nd & last pressing in '96. Needless to say, it is hard to come by. Until...

Today I came across this site called Algorithmic Botany, 'the website of the Biological Modeling and Visualization research group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary'. And guess who leads the department? Professor Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz, the one and only! And what is even better, the aforementioned book is available for download, edited & updated in 2004! Another classic book available to us all! There are also other publications from the department available for perusal and download. How nice :)

November 10, 2004

Coders have more fun with Prime Numbers

Thru Slashdot, I came across a pretty cool article called Fun With Prime Numbers.
From the author:
'This document has absolutely no redeeming social value. The prime number algorithms you find in this document won't break any records. If you want a REALLY fast prime algorithm, they're scattered all over the net.

This document contains a bunch of programs to figure out prime numbers. The first rendition requires 1:23 (one minute 23 seconds) to calculate all primes below ten million. From there, improvements are made, dead ends are explored and backed out of, leading to the final version, which finds all primes below 40 billion in less than 4 hours, and can find all primes below 100 million in less than 13 seconds. From there, if you really enjoy prime numbers, you can venture out on the net to find truly optimized algorithms.

But meantime, have fun!'

The article comes complete with the algorithms coded up in C so you can start number-crunching right away if you want to! Have fun (with prime numbers)!

October 08, 2004

IBM's ' Statistical programming with R'

R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is also free and open source. And it is also a very impressive piece of software which has a healthy community behind it and the code-archive called CRAN has many gems.

IBM is doing a 3-part series of articles on the usage of R called 'Statistical programming with R'. At the moment 2 of the articles have been put online:
Part 1. Dabbling with a wealth of statistical facilities
Part 2. Functional programming and data exploration
Part 3 will focus on finding patterns in large data sets.
Each article ends with an extensive list of resources and links (not just R-related!), also not to be missed.

These can serve as a perfect introduction to R and statistical software in general. And who knows... Doesn't a Flash front-end to R sound really nice? :) It doesn't sound impossible...

September 10, 2004

It's Mathematical Break-Through Season!

I'm not sure if it's 'that time of the year' or something, but this past week has been very exciting for mathematicians with 2 age-old problems possibly being solved once and for all.

Continue reading "It's Mathematical Break-Through Season!" »

August 10, 2004

Some Cellular Automata variations

One of the most talked-about books in mathematics of the past few years has been A New Kind Of Sciene by Stephen Wolfram. It is all about the wonderful and intriguing world of Cellular Automata. But it is also a hefty read that can be very overwhelming and theoretical.

The links-section of the site has an incredible amount of links regarding the subject, but 2 sites which refreshed my interest in implementing CA in Flash again this past week are Modern Cellular Automata and the Cellular Automata rules lexicon. They offer applets, pictures & rules of a variety of types/families of Cellular Automata (1D & 2D) that show the amazing complexity and variety that these relatively simple rules & concepts can provide. These are perfect for showing the beauty of Cellular Automata to people who are new to the subject.

April 29, 2004

MKMC call for papers on Mathematical User Interfaces

Are you working on mathematical user interfaces? Perhaps you should submit a proposal for this workshop:

Math UI workshop

The impact of mathematical knowledge management on user interfaces
is only begininning to show. In interactive proof construction,
some systems are able to suggest suitable theorems to apply to
subgoals by harvesting online libraries; in computer algebra,
folding/unfolding and automatic completion of terms helps
the user with the input of complex expressions.

Paradigms on how to use third-party software from within
a preferred GUI are emerging and promise to innovate
the notion of mathematical workspace.

This workshop wants to focus on novel aspects of UI brought
forward by the developments in MKM.
It would like to bring together researchers and practioneers
working with contemporary mathematical user-interfaces, including,
but not limited to:
- mathematical knowledge presentation
- interactivity with mathematical objects
- interactive simulations
- mathematical objects input and manipulations.
- access to mathematical knowledge

February 10, 2004

Gearing Up for Math Awareness Month

We're getting ready for Math Awareness Month.

We're hosting a friendly challenge to flash developers: let's see what you can create when you combine Math and Flash. If you'd like to participate, donate a prize, or just share some ideas, join us on the forums:

GalaxyGoo Working Forums - Math Awareness Month

Or send a note to me at blogging at galaxygoo dot org.

December 16, 2003

Mathematical Knowledge Management workshop

Second North American Workshop on
Mathematical Knowledge Management

January 6, 2004
Phoenix, Arizona

If I had time, I'd be attending this workshop. Anyone able to attend, and interested in reporting on proceedings for GalaxyGoo?

Continue reading "Mathematical Knowledge Management workshop" »

June 16, 2003


Oboy ... another programming language to learn!

Do you want a robust math calculator onboard, but you just can't seem to find the $2,000+ needed to purchase Mathematica? PARI/GP to the rescue ... and, as a bonus, you can now crunch those numbers 5-100 times faster than with Mathematica (depending on the function)!

My newest book on the shelf, The Algorithm Design Manual, provided the spark to this flame, by including a copy of an older version of PARI/GP on the CD, circa 1993, to be compiled in C. Now, I stumble trying to compile C/C++ programs (self-taught in computereze, I'm afraid!). I read the docs, but I immediately went into 'Confuse-A-Cat++' mode ... then I found the present home link for PARI/GP development in the readMe.txt. I explored the downloads available, and found that the latest alpha (Sept. 17, 2002, v2.2.6) has been packaged in a Win32 .exe ... I love Windows! Point, click, and mathify your world!

There's terrific documentation, as well as a 46-page tutorial.pdf to get you rolling ... the syntax is quite similar to Mathematica, which is a relief, but the UI is presently DOS command. I skimmed the docs and noticed a section pertaining to UI development, but that's for later! I can't get over the power that's available ... type in '\p 1000' (for precision to 1000 digits!), then your favorite function, and watch the sigdigs flow!

PARI/GP home

May 16, 2003

I've updated v1.3 with a few new functions, fixed comment errata, re-arranged categories, new application information, and functionality to display the extensions list and usage onstage while authoring, thanks to Vera Fleischer's 'FTraceAlertBox' component.

April 23, 2003

April Flash Math Challenge

Only seven days left in the GalaxyGoo April Flash Math Challenge.

April 10, 2003

Some math related threads

While searching through my text file archives for something else, I stumbled across a post I had saved from Nov. 17, 2002 by Jonas Galvez, summarizing math-related links available on the Flashcoders' list. However, just posting the link to the thread won't provide live links to the various topics.

Here is his Flashcoders' post, reformatted to provide a live link list to some wonderful information ... thanks for the research Jonas:

Continue reading "Some math related threads" »

February 20, 2003

MathExtensions1.0 Errata

The Math.toScientific rounding bug has been resolved, utilizing greenfly's solution

// ############## greenfly's rounding solution ###############
// I left his comments in, but changed the condition to round down
// negative numbers as well, adding a second call to formatDecimals.
// disregard expo_fact - it isn't used here
// ###############################################
// by not dividing by "expo_fact" at the end, we should have the number
// in the desired format: X.XXX, e.g. 3.234
// however, it is possible that by rounding in the step above, we've increased
// the number to XX.XXX, e.g. 9.999999 went to 10.00
// so we need to check for this condition
if (mantissa>=10 || mantissa<=-10) {
mantissa /= 10;
mantissa = Math.formatDecimals(mantissa,sigDigs-1);

Updated extensions:

Here is Robert's revised function:

Math.toScientific = function(num,sigDigs) {
    num = Number(num);
    if (isNaN(num)) return num;
    var exponent = Math.floor(Math.log(Math.abs(num))/Math.LN10);
    if (num==0) exponent = 0;
    var tenToPower = Math.pow(10,exponent);
    var mantissa = num/tenToPower;
    mantissa = Math.formatDecimals(mantissa,sigDigs-1);
    if (mantissa>=10 || mantissa<=-10) {
        mantissa /= 10;
        mantissa = Math.formatDecimals(mantissa,sigDigs-1);
    var output = mantissa;
    if (exponent!=0) {
        output += "e"+exponent;
}; //Robert Penner May 2001 -

February 01, 2003

Mathematics and Art

The theme for this years Math Awareness Month (April 2003) is
Mathematics and Art.

So, what are we going to do at GalaxyGoo? That's a good question. What do you think we should do? :-)

January 14, 2003

Math on the Web: A Status Report

Design Science publishes a newsletter every six months containing the latest news for computing and visualizing math on the web. I thought I would provide a link for this valuable resource in case our members were not aware of this site.

Math on the Web: A Status Report

January 05, 2003

Math Object Extensions

I've compiled a selection of extensions for the Math object which includes 4 new constants and 50 new functions to compliment the core Math object constants and methods. I may add to these in future, so note the version number for updates.

To use, copy to:
C:\Program Files\Macromedia\Flash MX\Configuration\Include (on PC),
then include the .as file in future scripts without the need for a path:

#include ""

At the bottom of the file you'll find a synopsis of the Math object constants and methods, and the Math object extensions of constants and functions, including method/function arguments, displaying an overview for quick application in your scripts. I'll include the list here for your perusal:

Continue reading "Math Object Extensions" »

November 23, 2002

Juniverse on Wolfram

A view of Wolfram's science
from within academia.

November 18, 2002

Designing Pythagorgrams?

If you read the GalaxyGoo blog, you probably already know about the Juniverse blogs. She's come up with a nifty little "widget", as she calls it, on Math Design in the Juniverse

November 12, 2002

European Mathematica Symposium

Hey! There's a Mathematica symposium planned for London!

International Mathematica Symposium 2003

November 07, 2002

GalaxyGoo Math Links Blog

Richard's experimenting with a blog: GalaxyGoo Math Links

October 10, 2002

Visualize Trig 2

Check out the new addition to GalaxyGoo: Sine curve visualization tool: built with FlashMX, by Vera Fleischer.

Vera saw my post about Helen Triolo's example, and built an interactive version in FlashMX.

October 02, 2002

Math Design

Over at the Juniverse, June Lester has a new blog: Math Design in the Juniverse.

August 30, 2002

plotting link

I hope Kim doesn't mind me shining a spotlight, but this is very my opinion. Great potential. Creative! I wish I could have played with this when I had to take statistics!
distributed plotting

She's sharing the source code too!

August 27, 2002

MathML central

A new MathML resource! MathML Central: A Wolfram Web Resource