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RE: [Axiom-developer] Re: [Gcl-devel] gcl sockets

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Re: [Gcl-devel] gcl sockets
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 21:48:28 -0400


On Thursday, April 29, 2004 6:45 PM you wrote:
> ...
> Bertfried Fauser wrote:
> > (1) your planned AXIOM plugin into apache is very ambitious,
> > however, wouldn't a small perl script be a sufficient first
> > step? 
> I've read the mod_lisp.c code. It isn't very complex as
> these things go. It simply talks to a lisp process running 
> elsewhere thru sockets.

In the Zope application environment in which the portal and
Wiki runs everything (nearly everything) is a Python script
including the integrated web server itself. Modifying the
existing LatexWiki code to include calls to Axiom will
involve modifying and extending existing Python code which
already calls external processes like LaTeX and Ghostscript.
If we were to follow Bertfried's suggestion of simple
"first step", then Axiom could be called as just one more
external process in this chain. However I like Tim's approach
before for several reasons explain (I hope) below.
> ... 
> (2) Indeed a CGI something cannot handle multiple command
> in several HTML pages, but one can submit (using a form)
> a rather complex multiline command to AXIOM. 

>From the point of view of the browser interface, this is
exactly how Zope work, via form actions and urls that
trigger actions on the server. Zope also maintains the
session information for a user and keeps track of persistent
properties associated with "objects". An object can be
something as simple as a static web page, a downloadable
file, a folder containing other objects or even something
more dynamic like a wiki page.

> Initially it is planned to handle single commands. However
> I don't see any big problems to handle multiple commands.
> I can use the session identifier as the name of an Axiom
> namespace so that multiple users don't affect each other's
> results.

Yes, this is possible but in the wiki environment I think
it is more natural to associate an Axiom session with a
wiki page rather than with each user. A wiki is not really
a multi-user environment in the conventional sense. Instead
it is a shared workspace collaboration environment.

Of course people could have private wiki pages containing
their initial draft calculations and later share that
perhaps selectively with their co-workers allowing them
also to make changes and then eventual make it "public"
but read-only for the majority of users.

> ...
> (4) Do you think that a normal web server has the potential
> to handle a possibly computational intense AXIOM task too?
> In general I expect the web server to be barely registering 
> in terms of process time. I can't imagine tens of thousands 
> of people trying to do anything on the server at the same 
> time. Since Axiom is running in a different process (or 
> possibly on a different machine) the web server should be
> unaffected.

I agree that numbers of active Axiom Wiki pages (remember that
pages can be quite large - perhaps whole "chapters") in the
100's I think this approach is quite feasible.

> As for long computational tasks:
> (a) initially I expect Axiom will only be running on one
> processor and used to develop documentation thru Page's
> wiki server.


> (b) in the long term there is a sub-effort to put Axiom on
> a beowulf. I have access to a 128 node cluster with 2Ghz
> processors on each node.

That should be fun ...

Bill Page.

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