Monday, August 27, 2001

Computer Science Program Receives Grant from National Science Foundation for Advanced Mathematical Research

Chestertown, MD, August 27, 2001 — Washington College Department of Mathematics and Computer Science has received a $30,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative project to develop a library of advanced mathematical programs. The grant is part of $280,000 in funding for a joint research project to be conducted in cooperation with the University of Delaware and North Carolina State University.

"Many researchers feel that if enough computers are unleashed on a task, they will eventually find some sort of an answer," said Austin Lobo, principal investigator and assistant professor of computer science at Washington College. "This project deals with computational tasks that are of such great magnitude, that one cannot simply wait for an answer to come--because that might take a lifetime. By developing programs using probabilistic techniques, we create software that makes intelligent guesses and reduces the time for complex calculating tasks literally from decades to days."
The goal of this project is to provide a component-based, open-source software library of advanced mathematical programs that can be used by other researchers to build and expand other mathematical computing modules. Titled "ITR/ACS: Collaborative Research-LINBOX: A Generic Library for Seminumeric Black Box Linear Algebra," the project will have applications in cryptography, data security, electrical communications, control systems and computer graphics, said Lobo. The Linbox group is composed of members from research institutions in the United States, France, and Canada and has been active for nearly three years.
"We have to prove mathematically before we begin the computations that our programs will finish the work at all and produce an answer despite their 'guesswork,' and that the answer will indeed be correct," said Lobo. "It takes years just to learn the mathematics needed to get to square one in this business."

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