Coding for pre-schoolers: a ‘Turtle Logo’ in Forth

*New!* (26 Nov) – Turtle Logo v1.4 is available now! Entirely key operated, suitable for 3-4 years+ to 99 years. 750 lines of Forth code. Algorithmic drawing program with advanced features, incl. macro record & playback, color, etc. Works on WinXP to Win10.

1. Inspiring the next generation of technology builders.

A challenge faced by both parents and teachers is how to help young children develop a ‘builder’ relationship with technology, instead of becoming increasingly passive consumers of content created by others. The consensus on what’s important for older kids and adults is clear: coding. This enables children to participate in the creation of their own technological “micro-worlds” — environments rich in educational potential.[14]

This autumn, spurred by having our own young children (one aged 4 years, the other 16 months), we began an experiment, the result of which is a Turtle Logo program for Windows computers (freely downloadable) that is simple enough to be accessible for children from 3 years and older, while providing an extensible platform that can grow with the child.

The long-term goal is to enable children to express their creativity, artistry, and natural ‘builder’ impulses using coding, computer graphics, and robotics as readily as the previous generation could using paints, brushes, and building blocks.

Turtle Logo - Inspiring the next generation of technology builders.

Turtle Logo – Inspiring the next generation of technology builders.

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The Mathematics of Duelling

Duelling with pistols. If you were the one issuing the challenge, your dilemma was that custom dictated that your adversary be allowed to shoot first. Only then, if you were still able to shoot, would you be permitted to seek “satisfaction”.

How much of an advantage does the first shooter really have? In this article, we build a simple probability model, and implement a numerical model in a few lines of R code.

Two gentleman face off in the snow.  Convention dictates the challenged shoots first.

Two gentleman face off in the snow. Convention dictates the challenged shoots first.

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A Radar Tracking Approach to Data Mining

(Statistics and Data Mining II)

Automated decision problems are frequently encountered in statistical data processing and data mining. An heuristic filter or heuristic classifier typically has a limited set of input data from which to arrive at a set of conclusions and make a decision: REJECT, ACCEPT, or UNDETERMINED. In such cases, pre-processing the input data before applying the heuristic classifier can substantially enhance the performance of the decision system.

In this article, I’ll motivate the use of a radar-tracking algorithm to improve the performance of automated decision making and statistical estimation in data processing. I will illustrate using the website visitation statistics problem.

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Analysis of Visitor Statistics: Data Mining in-the-Small

(Statistics and Data Mining I)

For a variety of reasons, meaningful website visitation and visitor behavior statistics are an elusive data set to generate. This article introduces the visitor statistics problem, and describes seven challenges that must be overcome by statistical and data analysis techniques aiming for accurate estimates. Along the way, we’ll encounter the “Good News Cheap, Bad News Expensive” Paradox of Data Mining — or, why information is often used “as-is”.

This article is the first in a series on algorithms, statistics and data analysis techniques (using free and open source tools) using the visitor statistics problem as a vehicle for illustration.

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Mathematical Finance and The Rise of the Modern Financial Marketplace

Abstract

One of the fascinating areas to arise recently in applied mathematics has been Mathematical Finance. From a technical point of view, Mathematical Finance uses a broad range of sophisticated mathematics for its financial models, and relies on state-of-the-art software engineering and computer hardware to implement these financial models, often in real-time.

Whether one is interested in technology or not, there is a kernel of core financial ideas at the heart of the global free market capitalist system that every literate citizen should understand. Whether we agree with their principles or with the inequities that are, arguably, the result, these ideas are in place across most of the world today. A closer look at mathematical finance will offer a better understanding of the mechanics of the modern financial world.

In this article, I’ll motivate the need for financial mathematics through a simplified account of the rise of the modern financial marketplace.

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Professional Grade Typesetting with LaTeX / TeX

(Mathematical Toolset Series: TeX & LaTeX, Part 1 of 3)

If symbols, formulas, and equations comprise a large portion of your professional communication, then becoming familiar with the LaTeX / TeX platform should be high on your to-do list. With the right tools and a little practice, the relative ease of creating beautiful documents with TeX may mean that you soon leave your favorite Office suite in favor of TeX for your technical writing.

This article introduces the LaTeX / TeX platform, illustrates its capabilities, and highlights the key differences between using TeX for document preparation and more commonly used word processing systems.

For those that like to know the human side of the tools they use, a little history of TeX, the philosophy motivating its development, and something about its legendary creator, is included.

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