Dept. of Mathematics
College of Arts & Sciences
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave., CMC342, Tampa, FL 33620
Office in CMC342(338), hours: M 11  12; W 2  3; F 5  6
phone (813) 9749550
email mccolm@usf.edu
GMAIL WARNING
It seems that USF created a gmail account for a lot of faculty  without even telling us.
I have just discovered that I had this spurious account, and that people had been sending
stuff to me at that account ever since 2008.
I apologize for not responding to messages sent to that account; no one even told me
it existed.
I am working to get this account deleted, but meanwhile it is haunting Blackboard.
Please send email to me at my regular USF account, mccolm@usf.edu.
Teaching &c.:
Here are my primary activities this coming fall:
Discrete Mathematics Seminar
Each semester, I am the organizer for the Discrete Mathematics Seminar, which is also
a section of the Graduate Seminar (MAT 6939) open to graduate students for
three hours credit (see below for details).

Each session, speakers speak about mathematical topics ranging from the theory of
computation to algebraic topology, from mathematical logic to graph theory; for a
sample, see the
announcement page for Spring 2014.
Starting September 14, we meet every Monday from 2:00 to 2:50 in a room TBA (although we will
have an organizational meeting on the first day of classes, August 24.
If you are interested in making a presentation, feel free to
contact me.

The Discrete Mathematics Seminar is a section of the Graduate Seminar (MAT 6939), a 3hour
graduate course.

The course is graded S/U, and counts only towards satisfying the 9hour requirement
for graduate assistantships; it does not count towards the degree in any way.
A student is expected to attend regularly and to give a seminar talk; this seminar talk
is developed by the student with the advice of a faculty sponsor, who is a member
of the Graduate Faculty who has agreed to assist that student with the presentation.

A student may enroll in the seminar if and only if the student is at least a secondyear
graduate student in good standing who has secured the support of a faculty sponsor
prior to enrollment.
For further information on this course, see me.
Upper Division Undergraduate Course on Symbolic Computation
This fall, I am teaching Symbolic Computations in Mathematics, COP 4313002, CRN 92982,
TR 9:30  10:45 am in CMC 209.
Students will learn to program using the language Maple.
There will be no text; instead, information for purchasing Maple will be posted on
Canvas before classes start, and students will be provided with (free) Maple "worksheet"
files via Canvas.
The work of the course will consist of reading the worksheets, doing the homework on the
worksheets, and completing the two exams.
Taking College Courses
I have written some pages, for math students (and teachers) in general, on homework, texts,
grading, etc.
(Some of these pages may be of interest to people in other fields as well.)
To go to these pages, start at my main page on
taking college classes.

About me:
 Here is my Curriculum Vita, and here is
departmental website.
 I lecture a bit, but I also have students work on problems in class and on a lot of homework
problems; if you check my course evaluations (see the
Eval Mart),
you will see that students are usually okay with it except sometimes in lower division courses,
where students are not used to working on a few hard problems (as opposed to many little ones);
see Rate My Professors
for details.
 I have other activities, and thus other websites:
 I am an amateur writer, with a website called
Scribble, Scribble, Scribble, Mr. McColm?
after a quote by George III to Edward Gibbon: "Another book, Mr. Gibbon? Scribble,
scribble, scribble, Mr. Gibbon?"
 I maintain a blog on mathematical crystallography called
The Crystal Mathematician.
 I am a political junkie, and maintain a map of the political spectrum, with commentary, at
LiberalMoonbat.com.

Destinations
Back to the USF Department of Mathematics Home Page
Back to the USF College of Arts and Sciences Home Page
Back to the USF Home page
Legalities (© 1999  2015):
All material on this website is protected by U.S. copyright laws.
It may be used (and reproduced electronically, or as hardcopy copies)
for educational or charitable or other nonprofit purposes as
long as pages are reproduced in toto and properly attributed.
However, please do not post copies of this material: put in links to
it instead (although external links to images in this site are okay,
as long as attributed).
For permissions, contact me.
Note: everything posted here is my responsibility, and I am not
representing USF in any official way  other than as one of USF's
pointyheaded professors.
This page last updated August 2013.
This site is under perpetual reconstruction, and please pardon the dust:
parenthetic asterisks indicate locations of URLs TBA.


ANNOUNCEMENTS
No pending announcements.
Research Areas
I was trained as a mathematical logician, with an emphasis on theoretical
computer science.
My specialty was Finite Model Theory, but I found myself working in combinatorial
games and random structures as well.
During the past few years, I have been working on geometry and its applications
to materials science and what is often called nanoscience.
("Nanoscience" is probably a misnomer, since it refers to the "mesoscale" of
microscopic physics  from many Angstroms to about a micron  in which quantum
effects are usually minor.)
Here are the areas ordered by my current level of attention.
As part of my involvement with reticular geometry, I am:
I have the attention span of a gerbil, so I am also active in ...
Philosophy of Mathematics, Science & Education
In addition to my website on
taking college classes
I have looked into the *philosophy* of these subjects, especially the problem
of reality.

Physics, chemistry, and engineering entail statistical mechanics and other probabilistic
concerns, so I am still involved in probability and combinatorics.
I got interested in probability originally because of "zeroone" laws of logic.
I still keep a weather eye on my original research topic.
Old Stuff
Old stuff includes:

A stochastic (or random) process may consist of many tiny processes; if they are
independent, then dealing with the entire process is easy.
But if all the tiny processes are coupled in some way, one has a more complicated
ensemble of coupled Processes.

Combinatorics is concerned with finite or finitary structures, often with counting them,
but also with describing them.
One uses enumerative combinatorics to count structures of given kinds to compute
probabilities (or vice versa in what is often called the probabilistic method).
One uses graph theory, poset theory, or some other structural theory to describe some
complex finitary object, and whenever the word "describe" appears, logic is never far
away.

Logic is traditionally divided into model theory (describing things), recursion
theory (computing things), proof theory (proving things  or being unable to
prove things), and set theory (the foundations of mathematics  or cloud nine,
take your pick).
Computational queries can be expressed in model theory, just as algorithms can be expressed
in various formalisms.
Finite model theory is that branch of model theory concerning predicate calculus (and
variants) applied to finite models, and has its most compelling applications to
computational complexity theory and database theory.
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Apprenticeship
Part of the college experience is apprenticeship, when a student completes a project
under the direction of someone more experienced in the field.
Here are the theses and dissertations completed under my direction.


Miscellany
Other Pages
Here are links to sites I maintain as part of my mathematical activities:
 The International Union of Crystallography gave me a place to run a blog dedicated to
mathematical crystallography, the
Crystal Mathematician.
 I also have a lot of pages about
Taking College Courses; the primary audience are calculus students, but it should be
useful to undergraduates in general.
Then there is a site I maintain for the United Faculty of Florida and the University of South
Florida Community: the USF Chapter of the UFF.
And I also maintain two sites on my own:

Math Programs
The Mathematics Department offers a mathematics major for bachelor's
students and a M.A./B.A.
program that allows one to get both degrees in about five years.
In addition, we offer a Ph.D.
Our primary research areas are in various areas in analysis,
probability and statistics, and various areas of discrete mathematics.
For more information on these programs,
click here.
The Mathematics Department is also a partner in the new Master's Program
in
bioinformatics,
which involves the design and analysis of very large molecules, especially
pharmaceuticals, proteins, and DNA.

Faculty Senate
I have been elected to a 2year term (for 2014  2016) to the USF Tampa Faculty
Senate.
I have an agenda: faculty morale and retention.
If you have any thoughts on these two issues, please feel free to
contact me.
Meanwhile, here is
the link to the Senate's Website.



United Faculty
The faculty of a university is the university.
Alas, many universities are controlled
by an administration which often behaves
like the shortsighted management of a business concern.
So faculty have must organize to protect their interests
and the longterm interests of the university.
Florida State University System faculty are represented by the
United Faculty of
Florida, which, via the Florida
Education Association, is a merged affiliate of the
National Education Association
and the
American Federation of Teachers
(the latter being an affiliate of the
American Federation of Labor
/ Congress of Industrial Organizations).
USF faculty are represented by the local
chapter of the UFF, which also has an
offcampus site.
I am the editor of the USF Chapter newsletter Uncommon Sense
and the webmaster of the chapter
website.
Here is an MS Word file for
a membership application to join UFF.


Mathematics Clubs
There are several major organizations in the U.S.A. concerned with
mathematics.
One of these, the Mathematical Association
of America has a chapter here at USF, which meets weekly.
Members get subscriptions to mathematics journals, plus other goodies,
and student memberships are inexpensive.
(It also looks good on resumes.)
Students interested in joining the USF MAA are encouraged to contact
Fernando Burgos.
Other major mathematical organizations include:
And there are more specialized organizations, such as the
Association for Symbolic Logic and the
European Association for Theoretical Computer Science.

Mathematics Awards
There are several awards in mathematics research.
Here are some of the most important.

Probably the most important award in mathematics is the
Abel Prize,
the closest thing to a Nobel in mathematics, and clearly
set up by the Norwegians with an eye towards Stockholm,
which had had its chance.
This prize is relatively new, so many people aren't used
to it, instead they are aware of...

The
Fields Prize,
a junior achievement award.
It is awarded to researchers under 40 whose stellar work
shows the greatest potential, and is often misleadingly
called the mathematical equivalent to the Nobel.

Computer scientists have their own awards, the most
important probably being the
Turing Award.

Speaking of Nobel's, the Swedish Academy has a sort of
miniNobel for those areas (like mathematics) not
covered by the Nobel, the
Crafoord Prize.

Meanwhile, the Israelis also have a prize in some areas,
including mathematics, the
Wolf Prize.

Muddying the waters is the Clay Mathematics Institute,
which is offering $ 1 million each for seven
Millenium Problems.

Writing
There are several writer's groups in the Tampa Bay area, and
amateur writers (like myself) can get feedback from fellow
amateurs (and occasional professionals) by joining in.
Groups in Tampa including the
Tampa
Writer's Alliance, an independent organization.
And I am the editor of three newsletters:

The
Quaternion,
the annual newsletter of the USF Department of Mathematics.

The
UFF Biweekly (scroll to the bottom of the page),
the electronic fortnightly newsletter of the USF Chapter of
the United Faculty of Florida.
The union produces this newsletter independently of the
University, and USF is not responsible for its content.

I have launched a
personal website on the craft of writing.
I run this site independently of the university, and USF
is not responsible for its content.

Lecture Series
The Mathematics Department presents the R. Kent Nagle Memorial
Lecture Series, in which we bring eminent scholars to USF to
speak to the public about subjects mathematical.
For more information,
click here.
This series is one of many series that this and other departments
are supporting to reach out to the community.
For other programs of this kind,
click here.

