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Department of Mathematical Sciences : Technological Development

Technological Developments

by Colonel David Arney

USMA has a long history of technological innovation in the classroom. It was Crozet and other professors at USMA in the 1820's who were the first professors in the nation to use the blackboard as the primary tool of instruction. In 1944, the slide rule was issued to all cadets and was used in all plebe mathematics classes. During William Bessell's tenure (1947-1959), the mathematics classrooms in Thayer Hall (a converted riding stable) were modernized with overhead projectors and mechanical computers. Bessell was also instrumental in establishing a computer center at West Point. The hand held calculator was issued to all cadets beginning in 1975, and pre-configured computers were issued to all cadets beginning in 1986. In recent years, the department has established a UNIX workstation lab, an NSF-funded PC lab, and has run experimental sections with notebook computers and with multimedia.