Close up of multiple computer screens showing IMACS logo

IMACS Through History

Some say that the history of IMACS began in 1963 with Burt Kaufman, but we think it started a long time ago. A long long time ago. We present below a somewhat light-hearted but accurate history of IMACS. A more detailed accounting of the institute’s history and the research and development that led to its creation can be had from the biography of its senior founder, Burt Kaufman.

4 ancient bones that shows scoring of mathematical marks

22,000 BC

Oldest Known Artifact

“Ishango bone” found in the Congo. This is one of the earliest known objects that may have been used by ancient humans to study mathematics, potentially indicating use of logical reasoning and understanding of prime numbers.

ancient Egyptian mathematical papyrus containing several problems in arithmetic, geometry, and algebra

2,000 - 1,800 BC

Egyptian Writings

Egyptian Middle Kingdom papyrus are the oldest known mathematics writings containing "word problems" or "story problems."

fragments of ancient tablet showing mathematical writings

1,800-1,600 BC

Babylonian Clay Tablets

They show fractions, algebra, quadratic and cubic equations, multiplication & trigonometry tables, methods for solving linear and quadratic equations, and more.

bust portion of sculpture of Roman mathemetician Pythagoras

582-508 BC


Inspired by the mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, he is credited with a proof of the Pythagorean theorem and alluded to the existence of irrational numbers.

thermometer showing negative numbers


Negative Numbers

Negative numbers appear in Italy and across Europe, though they had been used for centuries already in India and China.


Burt Kaufman

25+ years before IMACS, Burt Kaufman publishes the Goals for School Mathematics paper, containing a multi-track secondary school mathematics curriculum.

someone writing E equals M C squared formula on paper


Problem with Students

The textbooks chosen by educators working with Burt are proving to be too lacking in rigor to be used effectively with pre-college students. Work begins on improving multiple issues.


Book 1 is Born

Burt participates in what was to become Book 1 of Elements of Mathematics - a groundbreaking series that had an impact on the mathematics education community.


Ed Martin

Ed Martin becomes Senior Editor of the Elements of Mathematics series and develops a 2nd Edition derived from several years of classroom use of the 1st.

logo of the MEGSSS math program


Project MEGSSS

Schools join - at no cost - a Mathematics Education for Gifted Secondary School Students program that proves to be popular with both students and parents. This curriculum would provide the foundation for what would later become IMACS.



Howard Garns invents sudoku, meaning 'single number' in Japanese. Math puzzles quickly become popular around the world.


Iain Ferguson joins the Florida team

Computer science specialist Iain Ferguson arrives from Bath UK and soon sets about developing what was to become the MEGSSS computer science curriculum.


The World Wide Web is invented

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invents the World Wide Web. The first Web browser on a NeXT computer has many of the features of today's web browsers.


The Schemer's Guide

The first edition of the 300+ page The Schemers Guide is published. It's heavy "emphasis on fundamentals of good computer programming" is noted in reviews.

logo of the MEGSSS math program


Student wins 1st place with American Mathematical Society

As a High School MEGSSS student, Daniel Dugger wins the first place award from the American Mathematical Society for an original research paper.


IMACS is founded

Burt Kaufman, Ed Martin, and Terry Kaufman make the Project MEGSSS curriculum widely available by starting the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS).

someone writing E equals M C squared formula on paper


A Proof of Fermat's Last Theorem

After a stubborn 358 years, a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem takes on the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics.


IMACS extends class offerings

In addition to elementary-level programs, IMACS extends its reach across all pre-college grade levels with programs like University Computer Science and Logic for Mathematics.


Magic square stamps

The post office of Macao in the People's Republic of China issue a series of stamps based on mathematical magic squares.


A IMACS student meets Obama

Peyton Robertson, a 12 year-old IMACS student presents his "sandless sandbags" invention to President Obama at the White House. At the news conference, President Obama said "If you can invest in Peyton you should do so now."


IMACS Classes are all online

Multiple year-round programs (and student/parent portals!) from IMACS are fully online. IMACS goes global with these new classes.


IMACS continues to grow

Having seen over 15,000 alumni across more than 10 countries, IMACS continues to graduate the brightest students with our innovative programs and classes.


Your child's future is bright

Your child can be just like our current student Albert Wang who was recently admitted to MIT in only his Junior year! It all starts with a free class. The future of IMACS and your talented child starts today.