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RE: [Axiom-developer] Failure of Axiom? (was: Static versusDynamically t

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Failure of Axiom? (was: Static versusDynamically typed) )
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 10:29:35 -0400

Bill Page wrote:
> In a sense, Axiom is/was an experiment in the application of
> strongly typed programming languages in computer algebra and
> to be quite honest and blunt, for the most part the experiment
> seems to have failed. :(

On September 23, 2005 8:12 AM William Sit wrote:
> Just to provide a better balance of these discussions, here 
> are some quotations taken from research papers involving
> Axiom published during 1999 to 2001. Note that these authors
> had used other computer algebra systems for the SAME research
> earlier. I am including three representatives from major 
> research areas of computer algebra:  abstract mathematics,
> applied computation, and comparison of algorithms. For details,
> see the original articles.
> ...
> You can make your own conclusion.

On September 23, 2005 8:52 AM Martin Rubey wrote:
> although I know that Axioms approach has *not* failed I 
> wouldn't qualify work from 2001 as recent. A lot has changed
> since then, especially regarding MuPad.
> Again, if I weren't convinced of Axiom, I wouldn't put that 
> much of an effort into it. However, A LOT OF WORK HAS TO BE
> DONE. 

I think Martin Rubey's and William Sitt's contributions to
Axiom are outstanding! Their dedication and the work of
other people here clearly demonstrates that Axiom has not
"failed", yet... Although I said that I thought the Axiom
experiment was (for the most part) a failure, I should have
qualified that as applying most directly to the commercial
version of Axiom that was for a brief time a direct competitor
to Maple and Mathematica. About the current open source
effort: I agree completely with Martin's statement: "if
I weren't convinced of Axiom, I wouldn't put much effort
into it".

I think William Sitt's quotations are encouraging. Also we
should not forget the enormous effort that was put into the
implementation of the current Axiom library itself. This
library contains over 1,000 domains and categories that interact
in complex and apparently correct manner. This is a major
accomplishment and it's all written in SPAD. Although I said
earlier that Axiom's library covers only a small part of
mathematics, to be fair I should also point out that in scope,
if not always in depth, it covers much more mathematics than
either Maple, Mathematica or MuPad.

So in that respect the Axiom experiment in applying a strongly
typed programming language in computer algebra has not been
a failure. But there is the larger sense in which the medical
idiom: "The operation was a success but the patient died anyway
... " almost applies to Axiom. I think Axiom is in a critical
state. As open source software it can survive in this state
for a long time, but to advance in needs a lot more support.
It is quite disappointing to me that during that last two years
of fairly intense effort on our part, Axiom has not been
adopted by any major university program or research institute
and we are still struggling to find any kind of substantial
support. :(

Bill Page.

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