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Report of the Workshop on Environments for Computational Mathematics (RFC1019)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000001823D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-12
Document File: 7 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

D. Arnon: AUTHOR


Syntax of an expression that would commonly be written "a*b+c".

This text was extracted from a ASCII Text document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 15% of the total text.

Network Working Group D. Arnon

Request for Comments: 1019 Xerox PARC

September 1987

Report of the Workshop on Environments for Computational Mathematics

July 30, 1987


Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California

Status of This Memo

This memo is a report on the discussion of the representation of

equations in a workshop at the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference held in

Anaheim, California on 30 July 1987. Distribution of this memo is



Since the 1950's, many researchers have worked to realize the vision

of natural and powerful computer systems for interactive mathematical

work. Nowadays this vision can be expressed as the goal of an

integrated system for symbolic, numerical, graphical, and

documentational mathematical work. Recently the development of

personal computers (with high resolution screens, window systems, and

mice), high-speed networks, electronic mail, and electronic

publishing, have created a technological base that is more than

adequate for the realization of such systems. However, the growth of

separate Mathematical Typesetting, Multimedia Electronic Mail,

Numerical Computation, and Computer Algebra communities, each with

its own conventions, threatens to prevent these systems from being


To be specific, little thought has been given to unifying the

different expression representations currently used in the different

communities. This must take place if there is to be interchange of

mathematical expressions among Document, Display, and Computation

systems. Also, tools that are wanted in several communities (e.g.,

WYSIWYG mathematical expression editors), are being built

independently by each, with little awareness of the duplication of

effort that thereby occurs. Worst of all, the ample opportunities

for cross-fertilization among the different communities are not being

exploited. For example, some Computer Algebra systems explicitly

associate a type with a mathematical expression (e.g., 3 x 3 matrix

of polynomials with complex number coefficients), which could enable

automated math proofreaders, analogous to spelling checkers.

The goal of the Workshop on Environments for Computational

Mathematics was to open a dialogue among representatives of the

Computer Algebra, Numerical Computation, Multimedia Electronic Mail,

and Mathematical Typesetting communities. In July 1986, during the

Computers and Mathematics Conference at Stanford University, a subset

of this year's participants met at Xerox PARC to discuss User

Interfaces for Computer Algebra Systems. This group agreed to hold

future meetings, of which the present Workshop is the first. Alan

Katz's recent essay, "Issues in Defining an Equations Representat...