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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: AMS Notices: Open Source Mathematical Software

From: M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: AMS Notices: Open Source Mathematical Software
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 12:38:47 -0800
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20071031)

William Stein wrote:

Whether or not a system can compete is determined by what actual real
people really want and can afford when teaching or doing research.
It's not at all clear to me that actual research mathematicians, teachers
and engineers  want what you're describing above more than the
other options they will have available.  In fact, I think it highly unlikely.

I can tell you what I want, but it's not something I think I'll ever see in my lifetime. I want a system that makes my research understandable as well as provably correct. I view what computational math will be in 20 - 30 years, assuming that the hardware keeps on its present growth path, as the ability to solve larger problems of the same kind we solve now.

As I already noted, I haven't used Mathematica at all and Maple only briefly in the context of paid work. I have, however, used Excel, Minitab, and R extensively there, and will be moving on to SPSS in the near future. None of these tools, with the possible exception of R, really cater to the concepts of "literate programming", or, as the R people call it, "reproducible research". The point, however, is that a reproducible research "compendium" or literate program has to be readable and understood by the people who pay the bills.

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