Brian Shelburne's Alternate Home Page

(revised 01/06/2022)

This is my Working Home Page

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. It prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be. ... The computer resembles the magic of legend in this respect, too. If one character, one pause, of the incantation is not strictly in proper form, the magic doesn't work. Human beings are not accustomed to being perfect, and few areas of human activity demand it. Adjusting to the requirement for perfection is, I think, the most difficult part of learning to program.

- F. Brooks ("The Mythical Man Month", pages 7-8)

Links to Talks I've Presented, Papers I've Written, Stuff I'm Interested In

  1. From the U.S Constitution to IBM: Herman Hollerith, the 1890 Census, and the founding of IBM

  2. Zuse’s Z3 Square Root Algorithm: How the Z3 computed a square root; revised text of talk given at the Fall meeting of Ohio Section of MAA in 1999.

  3. Five Quadrable (Squarable) Lunes: a famous problem with a 2500 year history

  4. How the ENIAC Took a Square Root: Revised text of a talk given at the Spring meeting of the Ohio Section of the MAA in 2002.

  5. Another Method for Extracting Cube Roots: Expanded text for a talk given at the Spring meeting of the Ohio Section of the M.A.A. in 2005. Also available is a .pdf version of the transparencies I used.

  6. The First Use of a Computer (the ENIAC) to Determine the Digits of pi. How I got interested in the problem and what I found out.
    As a follow up I presented a contributed talk titled Pi to 10,000 Digits at the Spring Meeting of the Ohio Section of the M.A.A. in 2013 which filled in some of the details for the ENIAC calculation.

  7. From News Around the Hollow: The Pi Guy March 2013 Pi Day Entry: The ENIAC and Pi

  8. The ENIAC at 70: Details of the Euler-Heun Computation - on-line supplementary material giving the details of the Euler-Heun computation described in "The ENIAC at 70", Math Horizons, Volume 24, Issue 3, February 2017.

  9. Balanced Ternary Notation: Revised text of talk given at the Spring meeting of the Ohio Section of the MAA in 2006

  10. Exploring Asymmetrical Results in Mathematics: Asymmetries in the Real Numbers Paper for MathFest 2019 and Poster of same title.

  11. A Mathematical Potpourri : Conundrums, Puzzles, Tricks and Other Trivia - .pdf file of PowerPoint presentation given on August 30, 2010 as part of "Math Monday" series

  12. One of my favorites, the proof of the Schroeder-Bernstein Theorem that states for infinite sets A and B if |A| <= |B| and |B| <= |A| then |A| = |B|.

  13. Four Architectures: How I taught Comp 255: Principles of Computer Organization using different computer simulators

Links to Other Interseting Sites - Some Humorous
Brian J. Shelburne
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Wittenberg University

"Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" - Mark Twain

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects" - Lazarus Long from "Time Enough for Love" by Robert Heinlein 

"There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn't" - John von Neumann