Brian J. Shelburne, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Past Chair of Math & Computer Science Department
BDK Science Center 329E
Brian J. Shelburne, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, and previously Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, enjoys teaching courses in both mathematics and computer science. Originally (and still) a mathematician with a research interest in operator theory and Hilbert spaces (he published a paper based on his dissertation titled "The Operator Mz on Hilbert Spaces of Analytic Functions"), his interests shifted into computer science.
An interest in the history of early computers led him to co-author with Chris Burton (from the UK) a paper titled "Early Programs on the Manchester Mark I Prototype" which appeared in the July-September 1998 Issue of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. A second paper "The ENIAC's 1949 Determination of pi" appeared in the July-September 2012 issue. He also wrote a simulator for the "classic" PDP-8 computer which he uses in his teaching. A description of the PDP-8 simulator can be found in his article "A PDP-8 Emulator Program" published in the ACM Journal on Educational Resources in Education (JERIC) Vol 2. No 1. March 2002 (also see the article "Teaching Computer Organization using a PDP-8 Simulator" in the SIGSCE Bulletin - Conference Proceedings Vol 35 No 1. March 2003) or on his PDP-8 Home page website.
Currently his research interests include chaos theory and fractals (areas common to both mathematics and computer science), history of mathematics, theory of computation, computer architecture and the history of computers. He also likes writing software for use in his classes.
Previously chair of the Department of Mathematics at Sweet Briar College , he came to Wittenberg in 1987 after having earned his B.S. in Mathematics from Davidson College , his M.A. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Duke University , and his M.S. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Other hobbies and interests include running, biking, reading science fiction, military history, biographies and books on mathematics, and writing simulation software for use in his courses. He is happily married to a wonderful wife, Bonnie, and has a 20-year-old son Ian.
Links to Stuff I'm Interested In
- From the US Constitution to IBM : The 1890 Census, Hermann Hollerith, and the origins of IBM. Discover why the origins of IBM be indirectly traced to the U.S. Constitution.
- My PDP-8 Home Page : The classic 1965 PDP-8 was a 12-bit word machine with 8 opcodes. Its clean, simple, and elegant architecture makes it worthy of study. This page includes a link to download a PDP-8 Emulator Program along with an MS Word version of The PDP-8 Emulator Program User's Manual, both of which I use in teaching my computer organization course.
- The Manchester Mark I Prototype and Kilburn's Highest Factor Routine : June 21, 1948 - The First Computer Program - text based on a talk given at the Fall Meeting of the Ohio Section of the M.A.A., October 26, 1996.
- Zuse's Z3 Square Root Algorithm: .pdf version of talk given at the Fall Meeting of the Ohio Section of the M.A.A. in 1999.
- How the ENIAC Took a Square Root: Revised (01/19/2009) text for a talk given at the Spring meeting of the Ohio Section of the M.A.A. in 2002. For the pdf version the transparencies used in my talk, click here .
- 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 is I used.
- The Five Quadrable (Squarable) Lunes: A famous mathematical problem with a 2500 year history
- Balanced Ternary Notation: A paper based on a contributed talk given at the Spring meeting of the Ohio Section of the M.A.A. in 2006.
- Software written for use in my courses. Includes PDP-8 (see above), Turing Machine and Non-Deterministic Push Down Automaton emulators. The software was originally written for MS-DOS and so runs in any Command window on any Windows machine. It's offered "as is".
- My Alternate Homepage: A second home page which contains links to my course materials and other stuff.