Syllabus News Update for Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Syllabus News Update:
An Online Newsletter from Syllabus

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News for Tuesday, March 30, 2004

* U San Francisco to Build First FlashMob Supercomputer
* CalPoly Students Promoting Democracy via the Internet
* IBM to Pre-Load ThinkPads with Electronic Classic Books
* PeopleSoft to Partner on Enrollment Management Program
* USC Film School Grant Helps Shape Interactive Programming
* Drexel University to Reset Rittenhouse 18th Century Clock

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U San Francisco to Build First FlashMob Supercomputer

This Saturday, April 3, hundreds of computer enthusiasts will
create FlashMob I, the first FlashMob Supercomputer in the
world, and attempt to break into the Top 500 Fastest
Supercomputers on earth. Sponsored by University of San
Francisco, FlashMob I will be created on the University of
San Francisco (USF) campus, using USF student and
faculty-designed open-source software.

A FlashMob Supercomputer is created by connecting a virtually
infinite number of computers via a high-speed LAN, to work
together as a single supercomputer. A FlashMob computer,
unlike an ordinary cluster, is temporary and organized ad
hoc for the purpose of working on a single problem. It uses
volunteers and ordinary laptop PC's, and is designed to
allow anyone to create a supercomputer in a matter of hours.

"This is a radical new idea in supercomputing, as well as an
important scientific and social experiment," said John
Witchel, a graduate student and co- creator of FlashMob
Computing. "The goal of the FlashMob I project is to
demonstrate the viability of widespread supercomputing. We
hope to give ordinary citizens the power to explore and
address problems that are most important to them -- whether
it's a high-school science class looking to participate in
study of global warming, or a family impacted by breast
cancer, or even a chess club looking to build an electronic
grand-master. In short, we want to democratize
supercomputing."

For more information, visit: http://www.flashmobcomputing.org

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CalPoly Students Promoting Democracy via the Internet

As the White House struggles to democratize Iraq and
Afghanistan, they might take a lesson from hundreds of
college students around the world who are also strategizing
-- via the Internet -- how to promote democracy. The project
is being sponsored by the he Student World Assembly (SWA), a
global network of several hundred "wired” university students
headquartered at California Polytechnic State University
(Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Last week at United
Nations headquarters in New York, the SWA kicked off a
campaign that culminates this summer, when delegates arrive
in the United States from five continents for their first
international convention.

"We will actually push the button to kick off an online
democratic process, building a non-governmental world
assembly to represent people, in much the same way that the
United Nations represents governments," said Paul Raynault,
president of the Raynault Foundation, which provided initial
funding for the SWA. Two U.N. groups, the National Service
Conference of the American Ethical Union and the Youth
Committee of the Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations
(CONGO), co-sponsored the event, along with the Raynault
Foundation. Raynault expects the network to continue its
growth, with 25,000 students eventually talking to each
other.

For more information, visit:
http://www.studentworldassembly.org

IBM to Pre-Load ThinkPads with Electronic Classic Books

IBM has formed a three-year agreement with Vital Source
Technologies to preload more than 2,000 classics of western
civilization on ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops
for education customers. In addition, K-12 schools, colleges
and universities can work with IBM and VST to preload
textbooks and other customized content. The agreement is
designed to help educators operating under cost constraints
and textbook availability issues to load quickly accessible
educational content on the hard drives of personal computers,
reducing the need for students to carry backpacks filled
with books.

Education models of ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre
desktops will be preloaded with the vitalsource KEY, a
delivery application providing students and teachers with
tools for reading, searching, organizing, and annotating
class materials. vitalsource KEY, which is included in the
price of the system, pulls together materials from publishers
throughout the world and helps educators integrate that
information into their teaching environments. It includes
the Personal Portable Library, a customizable resource
containing more than 2,000 great works of literature, history,
political science and other subjects. Buying a hard copy of
each volume separately would cost about $13,500.

PeopleSoft to Partner on Enrollment Management Program

PeopleSoft, Inc. signed an agreement to develop PeopleSoft
Enterprise CRM for Higher Education, an integrated marketing
and customer service solution for higher education. The
agreement, to co-develop the software with Ciber Enterprise
Solutions, will enable colleges and universities to ensure
consistent communications and support throughout the student
lifecycle, from initial inquiry, through application and
enrollment, to providing support to current student
populations and communicating with alumni.

The first phase includes development of recruiting and
admissions functionality. This will expand PeopleSoft
student administration's marketing capabilities to enable
colleges and universities to target and communicate more
effectively with prospective students. Joneel Harris,
associate vice President for enrollment management at the
University of North Texas, which has licensed the PeopleSoft
CRM product, said the system “is intended to provide the
tools recruitment and admissions officers need to respond
more quickly and efficiently to inquiries from prospective
students, enabling institutions like University of North
Texas to achieve and exceed their enrollment targets."

USC Film School Grant to Help Shape Interactive Programming

Thee USC School of Cinema-Television (USC-CNTV) received a
multimillion-dollar grant to develop interactive media
education and create a launch pad for the next generation
of interactive entertainment. The contribution from
Electronic Arts will fund two new programs at of USC-CNTV's
Division of Interactive Media: the Electronic Arts
Interactive Entertainment Program and the Electronic Arts
Endowed Faculty Chair. The EA Interactive Entertainment
Program is a 3-year Master of Fine Arts degree program. The
program will help USC-CNTV's goal to educate the next
generation of high-level gaming design and thinkers in what
will be one of the 21st Century's primary entertainment
media.

"The School's rich storytelling tradition and long-standing
commitment to technological experimentation make it an ideal
partner for EA," said Don Mattrick, President, Electronic
Arts president Don Mattrick will be appointed to the school’s
Board of Councilors, joining the ranks of entertainment
gurus Jeffrey Katzenberg, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg,
John Wells, and Robert Zemeckis.

Drexel University to Reset Rittenhouse 18th Century Clock

With daylight savings time approaching, Drexel University
will be re-setting its rare 18th century tall-case clock,
one of the world's most complex clocks. It was made in
Philadelphia by astronomer and clockmaker David Rittenhouse
in 1773. A world-class relic and source of pride for
Philadelphians, the Rittenhouse Clock records time in
seconds, minutes, hours and days; has16 sets of chimes; and
plays 10 tunes.


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