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[Axiom-developer] RE: [SAGEdev] NotebookWiki

From: Page, Bill
Subject: [Axiom-developer] RE: [SAGEdev] NotebookWiki
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 19:20:23 -0400

On Wednesday, September 06, 2006 6:27 PM I wrote:
> ... 
> Certainly one thing that is remarkable about wikipedia is the
> response of wikipedia and it's contributors to instances of
> "mischievous edits" (or worse). The integrity of the encyclopedia
> is apparently being aggressively and effectively defended by
> people who do not expect anything other than a small amount of
> recognition for their contributions. The sense of "ownership"
> is evident in how most people describe wikipedia. One might
> even be inclined to suspect that "mischievous edits", when not
> allowed to overrun the really interesting and reliable content
> actually contributes to this sense of ownership.
> Wouldn't it be great if we were able to harness some of this
> human energy for the improvement of computer algebra systems!
> ...

This leads me to a perhaps radical but quite serious suggestion:

Here we are working on Moinmoin and ZWiki-based wiki web sites
for Sage and Axiom, but maybe we should really be spending some
time developing a MediaWiki interface for these systems ...
(MediaWiki is the software that is used to implement wikipedia.)
What I mean is, this sort of computer algebra system should be
available directly on wikipedia. I think for certain Sage (once
the Axiom interface for Sage is complete :) is a logical candidate
for such an extension of wikipedia given it's commitment to open
source software and the approach to integrating diverse packages
into a coherent user interface.

Wikipedia has a huge potential audience and a large contributor
base - even if we restrict our view to only the current mathematical
content. Although this might sound like a "bandwagon" kind of
strategy, I seriously think that we should consider approach
the wikipedia developers soon (that is assuming that no one has
already suggested this idea) rather than waiting for it to happen
is a less optimal way.

Of course there might be some reluctance given the computer
resource that might have to be dedicated to providing this
sort of user interface. Maybe at least initially we would need
to consider what "class" of wikipedia user/contributor would be
permitted access to the computational part of the system, i.e.
permitted to edit wiki pages contain such "live math".

I believe there are already systems such as this being
developed specifically to assist with mathematical education.
For example:

I know there are more, both commercial and open source projects.
I'll have to look back through my notes.


Bill Page.

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