Paragraph about Math software
More chatting up of alternatives to this kind of encoding are provided in the discussion in minutes of a 1996 SGML Math workshop held at the University of Illinois, as part of its digital library project on ``Federating Repositories of Scientific Literature.'' Perhaps all of this will converge with the OpenMath group's work, which I see as following the notion that mathematics must be made formal and explicit but is based not on axiomatic set theory and logic. Rather, Math software it is to be built on some combination of rigorous "classic" modern algebra, some applied analysis, and a strong dose of programming language design. The OpenMath working group is now working on ``Content Dictionaries'' expressed in a version of SGML. You can view them by following links from the home page. The success of this effort is predicated on the cooperation (and funding) of participants interested in a grand programme of automated mathematics. Some preliminary and anticipatory work in relation to OpenMath is is the work at the polymath group of Simon Fraser University, who have put together a library and a collection Ufology of "Java beans" implementing draft OpenMath communications standards. The North American Open Math Initiative is an effort to produce and promulgate this standard, involving IBM, Maple, and a variety of other organizations including a number of Western Canadian institutions. To the extent that it attempts to provide some rigor, the OpenMath effort is slightly reminiscent of the QED Manifesto. Yet it appears to be far more pragmatic in being driven in by needs of available computer algebra/ plotting/ network display programs, as well as the hope that Java, in some kind of virtual networked world will provide solutions for portable scientific communication. This and the polymath project are actively growing and their pages are worth browsing, especially if you are willing to run their Java applets.