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[Axiom-developer] Re: your mail

From: Dirk Eddelbuettel
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: your mail
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 13:37:30 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

Hi Tim,

Excellent to get email from you -- I had been meaning to send you one to see
where your efforts with respect to Quantian for ISSAC went...

On Thu, Jul 29, 2004 at 12:18:07PM -0400, Tim Daly wrote:
> Reply-to: address@hidden
> Subject: Quantian
> --text follows this line--
> Dirk, Bill,
> I want to introduce you two. 

Hi Bill :)

> Dirk Eddelbuettel is responsible for Quantian, a Knoppix-live CD
> distribution of mathematical software. He maintains the distribution
> at:

These days it is actually a dvd as 700mb was too small, even at approx 3:1
compression.  With the dvd size, we can pack much more documentation -- I am
planning to eventually put almost all (that is easily available, which means
Debian doc packages for the binary packages) in there.

The most recent release came in at 1.2gb. I have a few HOWTOs on the site
showing how to boot that even if you don't have a dvd drive, let alone a
writer. Also, within days of "going dvd" I had heard from two dvd vendors
that Quantian dvds available for just a few dollars.

> Quantian is a very sweet idea. Basically a lot of mathematical
> software is collected on one linux distribution. I'd like this
> distribution to eventually get distributed as the "standard" 
> computational mathematics platform. 

Yes, though Quantian tries to stay somewhat agnostic of disciplines. Hence,
my focus is not primarily math -- it just so happens that a large number of
CAS systems were already available as good Debian packages, so I included
them. Personally, I work more on the empirical front.

That said, we have a lot of "quantiative" or "numerical" or "scientific"
software in here which make Quantian appealing to different "disciplines" --
I really welcome input like this and will try to accomate specific requests
where I can as this tends to improve things for others as a side effect. An
almost free lunch, if you wish.

I will also CC Ed Pegg, who is into math (as editor of Math Games at the
MAA), and who has been a supporter of Quantian for a while -- and has
contributed a very nice background image too. So everybody, meet Ed. He may
have some thoughts on making Quantian a base for math endeavours.

> Bill Page is responsible for the wiki pages (originally Axiom, now
> expanding to REDUCE and possibly others) which is another sweet idea.
> It allows online creation of mathematics. The wiki may eventually get
> split out as a standalone front end that can be packaged with Axiom or
> other systems.
> I think there is the possibility of a couple different events that
> could quickly come together with little effort.
> First to have a merger that puts Bill's work on Quantian. This would
> bring the wiki front end to other systems.

The best way for this would be decent Debian packages. It doesn't have to be
in the main Debian archive, though that is preferable. I do take for example
Scientific Python packages from a contributor site as .deb packages, and it
is the same with the giac/xcas CAS by B. Parisse.

> Second to promote Quantian as a platform for doing computational
> mathematics. Dirk has already collected a fair number of systems onto
> one CD. If we can coordinate efforts we could arrange to have Quantian
> CDs distributed at all of the math-related conferences.

That would be sweet. The cd/dvd printer may help and give volume discounts.

> Third to coordinate the next ISSAC conference to have at least poster
> sessions demonstrating the use of the Page+Quantian effort. This would
> involve actively creating some demonstrations using various systems.

I'd be up for that too, though my Ph.D. is in math econ. I better say that
now as I don't want to get you guys thrown out of your conferences if you
work with an Economist :)

> Thoughts?

Sounds good, let's keep it rolling.


> Tim

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
                                                -- Groucho Marx

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