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[Axiom-developer] Interesting quote

From: daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Interesting quote
Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2007 22:03:14 -0600

Sage hit slashdot (and slashdot it back, I'm sure).
One anonymous coward posted the following quote which I find
worth preserving. The Crystal idea is a bit beyond what he's
thinking but I think he's on the right track.

I am a mathematician and shelling out a few hundred or even thousand
bucks for software is not a problem. A problem is that there is that
there is a gap in tools. There is one tool missing that would make
math much more accessible. The tool an IDE. Most IDEs that exist for
witting math are modeled after software development IDEs. But those do
not at all parallel how mathematicians think or write. We end up with
a lot of paper and books in higher math (post introductory undergrad
level) that are written in plain text. Diagrams are very few and
cross-references are often unintuitive. If there was a tool that
allowed to write math as easily as code is written in vi (or
emacs... please wait until Sunday morning for this flame war... that's
what Sunday mornings are for), to create diagrams as easily as AutoCad
creates mechanical drawings, that would realize that an item of text
maybe best served with a commutative diagram (which it would
immediately offer to draw) and that another part of the text is
probably a bibliography reference, then math would be developed as
well as software is. Basically, all the tools out there are still
trying to give mathematicians the freedom to write anything that would
write on paper. There is no tool that is really context-aware. If such
a tool did exist, it would leave all the others in the dust. Cost
would not matter. It would be to Mathematica what KDE is to Windows
desktop. Perhaps, this is too much to ask for. Perhaps, a better start
would be a language that captured the thought process of writing math
the way that emacs captured the thought process of witting different
types of text. And no TeX is not it. TeX only helps to typeset math to
make it look pretty. It doesn't make witting math on a computer easier
than writing it by hand.


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