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[Axiom-developer] subscribing to axiom-developer, user interface issues.

From: root
Subject: [Axiom-developer] subscribing to axiom-developer, user interface issues.
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 00:15:52 -0400

The axiom-mail mailing list will heat up shortly but you might find it
a bit redundant. As Axiom gets introduced into a larger audience the
same questions will come around (even though the answers end up in a
FAQ :-) ). I'ts a part of the game. The plan is to introduce the first
versions to the developers, fix it, reintroduce the version into the
axiom list, fix it, then introduce it on savannah, and then mention it
to the researchers thru various paths, finally announcing it on places
like sci.math.symbolic, slashdot, etc.  I'm using the developers to
give me a clue (like, hey, where's the documentation?) since this is
all new to me. I'm also depending on developers to build axiom for
different platforms and interfaces to different tools.  If you want it
first the axiom-developer list is where it'll happen first.

Axiom grew fastest when it was used by many people to further their own
research and development goals. I'm hoping to bring this system to a
larger audience so people can push it in directions they care about.

There are a number of people in France and Germany who are interested
in using an open source computer algebra system in education. I've had
several discussions about a "zero learning curve" interface that makes
it MUCH easier to do algebra. This would be useful for teaching as you
don't want to spend a lot of teaching time explaining how to use the
system. So the user interface is likely to get attention sooner than
you'd expect. Bill Page and Joris van der Hoeven have created a
Texmacs front end. You could contribute by giving feedback about
accessibility issues in mathematics which is something I never think

Another area where Axiom can excel is in research. I've had
discussions with people about extensions in various interesting
directions where computer algebra systems are weak. An open source
algebra system allows the researcher to quickly introduce their
algorithms. Trying to get a new algorithm published thru the
commercial systems is hard and takes a lot of time. An open source
system is clearly a fast-path to a large group.

A third direction of discussion has been toward proving the algorithms
in Axiom correct. We need to do this. How else can we trust systems of
this complexity? Fortunately most of the algorithms are in a very high
level language and are fairly close to their mathematical
descriptions. Unfortunately it's still a huge challenge.

There are several other directions that have been discussed.
It's an exciting time. Stay tuned...

Tim Daly

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