New Virtual Home for VIGRE PFUGs!
The new VIGRE On-line site will have a public face (shown) as well as a private side where each PFUG will have access to its research materials and course materials. Members of PFUGS from 2003-2004 are shown in the photos on the main page.

Does a PFUG Make Music?
No, but a PFUG can be in harmony this fall. The research and learning groups called PFUGS have a new on-line community designed to facilitate their interaction. The acronym plays on the musical term fugue, a form in which each voice’s melodic line interacts with other voices harmoniously. The PFUGs were formed as part of a National Science Foundation funded project involving the Departments of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computational and Applied Mathematics.

The on-line community was developed by Web Services and readied for use this summer by Suganya Ramadas, the VIGRE web editor. The site puts at members’ fingertips several hundred .pdfs, course materials, threaded discussions, sample algorithms, and links to electronic databases and other resources. Each group’s “home” simultaneously displays research and academic materials, news for the day, the group’s own discussion list, the larger project discussion list, and communication resources prepared by the Cain Project. Members can easily announce events for their own group or the project as a whole or post announcements for the entire University.

Rice’s VIGRE On-Line is a dynamic Web-based environment in which interdisciplinary groups working on parallel themes can achieve the full potential of vertical integration and the merging of education and research. It was designed to ensure that members at all levels will be able to contribute to work in many fields and appreciate the broad relevance of mathematical sciences. The site will be ready for participants at the beginning of the fall semester.

  The Need for VIGRE On-line

Several groups in the Rice VIGRE Program are working on similar themes (such as problems in gene networks, biochemical networks, and statistical genomics) and are likely to learn from one another and “leapfrog” in their problem solving. However, interest across groups was at first impeded by lack of a central communication source and immediate opportunities to see what other groups are doing.

Because participants in a group are from various levels and different majors and departments, a group as a whole cannot be assembled frequently to ask questions, demonstrate their techniques or problems, and engage one another—although interest in doing so is remarkably high. VIGRE participants are especially enthusiastic about their emerging projects and have been eager to try out and play around with one another’s equations and data sets.

Moreover, this environment is a valuable laboratory for the Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication’s research on communication functions, curricular development, and group dynamics over the course of the VIGRE program.
Ramadas is creating an on-line tour to help prospective students learn about how the VIGRE groups work. Students interested in becoming members of a group should contact any of the leaders listed on the website at
Ramadas Joins Project
Suganya Ramadas holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Certifications in Graphic Design and in Website Development. She has worked with different aspects in the information technology area, but her greatest creative, personal satisfaction lies in website design and development, her main challenge in the VIGRE ON-LINE project.
Having worked on many web design projects, she says she enjoys working with people to create, build, and maintain quality websites that meet the needs of an organization. Over the coming academic year she will work closely with the PFUGs to discover new functions that can be added to the Program site.
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