Virtual Laboratory of Applied Mathematics

Fun and pedagogic experiments

1. History of VLAM

In 2007, at the Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City, an exhibition was organized jointly by UNESCO and the Embassy of France in Vietnam was entitled "Why Mathematics ?" The aim of the exhibition was to show that mathematics exists all around us. The filmmakers wanted to get this message through the use of real models built from lightweight materials. Among them are: the brachistochrone, the solar system, bulbs soap, pine cones... The exhibition attracted many students from the Polytechnic University as well as youth from other institutions.

Being designated as an animator, I noticed - beside the undoubted success - disadvantages and limitations of this scientific event. It was the lack of interactivity and inflexible models. When a young manipulating a model, it should settle its often limited availability. It could not possibly change the "input" as the size of the models, the speed of movement, the color of objects... Often the results were unusable or difficult to perceive, much less easy to interpret!

Recognizing the usefulness of this exhibition, I decided to "put" all on the computer. This is modeling. We will enjoy the power and expansion of computers to create models - or rather really interactive exercises, animated, creative imagination. And this was the reason for the creation of Virtual Laboratory of Applied Mathematics or VLAM.

After two years of solitary efforts, I have developed 18 topics (called exercises) built around the following 4 topics:

• arithmetic

• optimization

• differential equation

• other skills (linear algebra, fractal, sequence...)

These applications are written in Maple, the most widespread in the world formal language. To use them, a good level of mathematics in the first two academic years would be required.

2. Manual

a) It must first install version 11 Maple minimum. In addition, Foxit Reader (to read the help file in PDF). As for hardware there, it is better to have a powerful computer with a 1280 × 768 resolution at a minimum, but an old machine with a processor at 1.5 GHz shot will also work.

b) Then download a single file named VLAM.RAR. Unzip it on your hard disk. To launch an application, simply double -click a file suffixed maplet.

3. Important Notes

Achieved without any help, I decided to suppress all syntax checks and consistency of the input data. It is up to users to be masters of their data. One tip : Avoid fanciful and illogical data, the reaction VLAM unpredictable often.

The experiments were designed and tested in Maple 11. But in later versions, a small problem no effect on the operation of VLAM arrived with the message "Error launching maple splash sreen". Maple told us how to fix it here

Despite my constant efforts, mistakes are unavoidable. I apologize and do not hesitate to let me by sending your comments to :

vlam@pmhoang.net

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