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Re: About file formats (was Re: [Axiom-developer] First (quick & dirty)

From: root
Subject: Re: About file formats (was Re: [Axiom-developer] First (quick & dirty) port of Axiom to gcl-2.5.2 and powerpc architecture)
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 16:41:18 -0400

Actually, dvi is a reasonable default choice, but it lacks a lot.
We'd like to have active objects within the pamphlet files (e.g.
graphics, executable equations, etc). This is clearly within the 
current technology albeit not within the dvi format.

It would help to think about computational mathematics at the 30
year horizon. We ought to be able to have the research, the test
cases, the code, the user docs, and even the proofs (machine proofs,
as well as human) available. They should be in a form that can be
executed and combined. In fact, we can probably expect that the
computational nature of the system is assumed and that the "book-like"
nature of the system will dominate. Books have long been a repository
of knowledge and the code is currently divorced from that repository.

That's not to suggest that just taking a textbook and making it active
is the correct way to view a future system. However, it is likely that
Axiom will evolve in the general direction of a system that communicates
from mathematician to mathematician in addition to a tool for a mathematician
to do research and teaching.

So format choices are important, indeed, vital choices. I've taken the
default of dvi because I haven't thought thru the ideas to arrive at a
good solution (due to lack of time so far) rather than by choice. 

It's 30 years from now and all of the known mathematics is available
in computer readable format as well as all of its supporting materials
(research papers, books, etc). How will Axiom be used to learn, teach,
and support research? Discuss among yourselves. You have 1 hour.

Tim Daly

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