Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. -- Charles Mingus

Monday, April 24, 2017

Recording an Onlne Course

John Etchemendy and I spent some time last week recording material for our upcoming online course on the semantics of first order logic (using our Tarski's World courseware package).

Here are some pictures of the audio booth and studio in which we do our work.

Control room for the audio booth

Audio Booth recording area

Studio viewing teleprompter

Studio viewing stage



















Thanks to all the crew, led by our producer Colin Reeves-Fortney for their work in getting this course together.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Mike Murray

After ten years working with us on the Openproof Project, Mike Murray has moved on to new adventures.

Mike is a very talented programmer, whose work has impacted every aspect of our project.  He leaves the project very much better than when he found it.

We therefore have an open position for a software developer. The advertisement is here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hyperproof Released

We today released a new courseware package called Logical Reasoning with Diagrams and Sentences.  The course teaches how to reason formally using first-order logic and our blocks world diagrams.  The principles are applicable to other kinds of diagrammatic representations too.  The software accompanying the package, Hyperproof, implements a formal heterogeneous proof system, which has inference rules which involve both the sentential and diagrammatic representation.

This package was previously published under the title Hyperproof in 1994.  This new package is a complete rewrite of the software (the original ran only on Mac OS 8.x and 9.x) and includes access to the Grade Grinder Internet-based grading service.

The new package is the work of many, many people.  Most notably Mike Murray who has done sterling work implementing the software.  Many others who contributed code and performed QA on the application.

The package can be obtained from our store.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Where were you?

This is a catch-up post because I didn't get around to writing anything in the second half of last year.  Its not like nothing happened -- quite the reverse.

Diagrams 2016 was in Philadelphia in August.  The conference was small, extremely well run and had a lot of high quality research.  It was nice to catch up with many colleagues and their activities.

Atsushi Shimojima visited early in September.  We're still working on our paper.  This visit marked a milestone in that we decided to streamline and focus the paper.  I think that it will be good when we have enough time to finish it (at the time of writing, we're pretty close to done, I think).

Continued to work on the new courseware package, Logical Reasoning with Diagrams and Sentences, through the fall.  This is a rerelease of our Hyperproof package, and is due out any day now.  I taught from the draft package in the summer session.  The class was tiny, but we got some good feedback and improved the package somewhat.  Bram van Heuveln at Rensselaer used it over the fall and also provided very useful feedback.

I started taking Japanese lessons.  I'm enjoying the challenge and am hoping that I will be better able to function when I visit Japan next time.

Saw Sweet Honey in the Rock in concert at the Davies Symphony hall.  They were excellent as always, but not the best venue for them.  Also heard Paula Poundstone on New Years Eve.  An excellent way to end 2016.

Oh, and there was an election.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vienna Teng

I was fortunate enough to see singer, songwriter, pianist Vienna Teng in concert last week at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall.  I've long been a fan, and was delighted to get the chance to see her perform.

This was a solo performance, with just her, a grand piano and assorted electronic gizmos -- a sampler and harmonizer, I think.  It was quite an intimate set up, and the concert hall was probably not the best venue to see this kind of show.  Vienna Teng did an excellent job of shrinking the space to feel a lot less impersonal than it might have been (its not that I dislike the space, but I think that it is more suited to a full orchestra, or large scale performance).

Vienna Teng performed most of her "hits" including some songs from her album "Aims" which have a full band in the original.  Audience members wrote requests on slips of paper, which Vienna Teng drew from a bucket and performed.  She has a pretty large repertoire by now, and this was a fun touch.

She invited audience members up to sing along with  "Soon Love Soon" and had quite an impromptu choir to perform with.

I came away impressed by every aspect of the performance.  If you get a chance to see her perform, do so.  But until then go out and buy an album or two.