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On formal correctness and readability (was: Re: [Maxima] Re: [Axiom-deve

From: David MENTRE
Subject: On formal correctness and readability (was: Re: [Maxima] Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: FeynCalc -> MAXIMA)
Date: Thu, 20 May 2004 10:21:40 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)


Bertfried Fauser <address@hidden> writes:

> Hence, for challenging problems, ie new math! and phys!, I would _reject_
> the lates goodies programmers can provide and favour to have a stable, as
> simple as possible, if possible provable algorithm.

This is the path followed by the FOC project
( The objective is to make
a provable CAS. They are using free software for that (the OCaml
language and the Coq proof assistant) but unfortunalty, they have chosen
to make the system closed source and proprietary[1].

On the Axiom side, there is a path that can be followed: using ACL2
( to make a similar
system. Both Axiom and ACL2 (and Maxima) run on GCL. But all the hard
work (i.e. proving things) remain to be done.

> New goodies, may be later added (in a separate pamphlet file <grin>,
> also by people who do not fully understand the theory and purpose of
> the program. They can then check against the slow but stable
> code. This method at least led me to stable and reasonable fast code,
> which at the and was relatively complex.

Interesting idea: systematizing the idea of reference
implementation. And formal proofs between the different implementations
are not necessary. We just need a framework to easily redo a fast
computation with a slower but safer implementation. Of course, formal
proof would be a plus, but I doubt that it can be done.


[1] I wonder when one french reasearcher will understand the power and
    necessity of free software for real research!
David MENTRE <address@hidden> --

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