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Re: [Axiom-developer] Building on Axiom... funding Axiom...

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Building on Axiom... funding Axiom...
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 07:20:39 -0700 (PDT)

--- root <address@hidden> wrote:
> >
> > More specifically, is there interest in adding the following to
> > Axiom:
> > 1) Support for units (somewhat like Maple has)?
> > 2) Support for content MathML, both in and out?
> > 3) .NET interfaces to allow it to serve as the core of a .NET app?
> Units are a very hot topic this month. See the mail archives for
> notes from CY Student and William Sit.

I'm CY Student (Cliff Yapp).  I suppose I really should quit using that

Glad to see more interest in units (grin) but I'm not sure you'd find
what we've been working towards would quite meet your needs, and I'm
even less sure it will reach functionality anytime soon (I'm still
slugging it out with fundamental notions of why dimensions like Work
and Moment are really different - I want to really understand at a gut
level what's going on there and it appears to involving bending some
fairly stubborn parts of my brain into new shapes.)  The archives will
give you some idea of how we're thinking, but I should warn you that
those ideas have continued to change and my current version (of just
the ideas!) is a bit different from even the most recent discussions on
the list.  Nor is this version likely to see the light of day, since
once it's ready for attack (which will be a while for the sake of Dr.
Sit's sanity) I'll send it to him to check, he will point out a myrid
of basic flaws, which we'll try to hammer out, and so on - it actually
reminds me of my thesis a little.  I might throw my latest brainstorm
up on the wiki so it doesn't get lost if my computer dies, but it's
pure latex and pure background at this stage.  We (well Dr. Sit anyway
;-) definitely have good ideas of how to handle most parts of it, but
the more subtle aspects of the issue, as well as reviewing other unit
systems people have created, are time consuming.  Part of the problem
is we seem to be addressing some points at a level of strictness almost
never applied in the real world - this is in part a consequence of
Axiom's design philosophy and partially bull-headedness ;-).  Also,
we're trying to do this as a true literate document, with all relevant
material included, so it's not just a matter of whipping up the code
and going.  We're researching what we want the code to do at this point
(or in my case doing remedial education so I can figure out what it
should be doing) and creating the documentation for what we want to
exist as we go.  Then we'll go back and see if Axiom CAN do it and if
so how to make it work.
I'll be glad to answer any questions I can - they usually make me think
(<grin> or at least try to!).  What features specifically were you
looking for?

Actually, for what you are describing (your overall goal for your
application) you might find Axiom is major overkill (or has the wrong
focus) and you might find Yacas, Giac/Xcas, or Ginac more appropriate
to your goals.  Maxima contains my first real attempt (with a great
deal of help from the Maxima list) to build a units package, which is
intended to work something like Maple's, but it is incomplete and
somewhat unwieldy.  (A few bugs left and a lot of unit definitions to
add, and a fair number of features found in other packages not present
yet.)  You may find the functionality useful, and Barton Willis has
also created a dimensional analysis package (which isn't hooked into
the unit package - those are two separate tasks as far as Maxima is
concerned).  I believe MathSoft and Dr. Fateman are also looking at the
possibility of Maxima as a symbolic core in MathCAD, so you might
contact Dr. Fateman about what's going on with that.


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