Important information regarding the recent AMS power outage.

The transformer that provides electricity to the AMS building in Providence went down on Sunday, April 22. The restoration of our email, website, AMS Bookstore and other systems is almost complete. We are currently running on a generator but overnight a new transformer should be hooked up and (fingers crossed) we should be fine by 8:00 (EDT) Wednesday morning. This issue has affected selected phones, which should be repaired by the end of today. No email was lost, although the accumulated messages are only just now being delivered so you should expect some delay.

Thanks for your patience.

Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Building Blocks of Movement," by Zoubin Ghahramani. Nature, 12 October 2000, pages 682-683.

Coordinating the movements of an arm is a computational task that human brains carry out easily but that is formidable to analyze mathematically. This kind of analysis is needed to program robot arms to move. Researchers believe that the brain may carry out complicated movements by combining simpler "movement primitives". This news piece describes a research article, appearing in the same issue of Nature, that provides new insights into this problem. This research provides "a new mathematical description of the motor primitives that the central nervous system uses to learn to control the arm," Ghahramani writes.

--- Allyn Jackson

American Mathematical Society