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[Axiom-developer] Nelson Beebe quote

From: daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Nelson Beebe quote
Date: Tue, 20 May 2014 17:40:16 -0500

I transcribed Nelson's quote from the Tug meeting, for those of you
who missed his comment.

Nelson said:


I come from a mathematics department and many mathematicians,
particularly those in pure math, have a strong distrust of computers
and they are really not inclined to accept computer-based proofs,
although there have been some dramatic examples of those in the last
two or three decades.

In the early 1970s, researchers at IBM developed a symbolic algebra
system called Scratchpad and this went on inside IBM for many years.
There were lots of papers written about it. It ultimately got renamed
to Axiom and was sold by NAG, the Numerical Algorithms Group in
England, for a few years.  And then it disappeared from the market and
became unavailable.

People worried about this for probably about 5 years but finally NAG
was able to release it and a major decision has been taken. Axiom is
being completely reimplemented as a literate program. And the reason
is, is that software outlives hardware, and often its own authors. The
author of Scratchpad died about 5 years ago.

So they feel the only way that this system can survive and be used by
future generations is to be written as a literate program so that the
reason behind the program is embedded there as part of the description
of the code. I think this is really important and could be really
quite significant for the future growth of computing and mathematics.


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