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[Axiom-developer] Aldor and Lisp

From: Martin Rubey
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Aldor and Lisp
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:58:20 +0200

I intend to send the following text to the lisp newsgroup today
afternoon. Comments welcome.

Dear all,

I'm one of the developers of the Axiom project, a pretty sophisticated --
meanwhile free -- Computer Algebra System. One of the distinguished features of
this system is it's extension language, which is -- in my opinion -- extremely
well designed.

However, there is a slight problem. Some years ago, this extension language --
than a commercial product -- was redesigned and in the process rewritten in
C. The new language was called Aldor.

Time passed by and Aldor became something gratis, but unfortunately, not quite
free. In particular, this means that the source cannot easily be obtained and
there is very little development on the source itself.

One important point is that at that time, Axiom (the computer algebra system)
was not free at all and available only to few people. Meanwhile, this has
changed, and it seems that there is quite a lot of interest in it. Bugs get
fixed and great contributions make the system become partly superiour to the
big players. In fact, you can try it out online:

Although Aldor can be used as the extension language for Axiom, some of its
most remarkable features cannot, since they lack support from Axiom.


So why am I posting to the Lisp community? 

The reason is, that Axiom is written in Lisp -- it currently runs on
GCL. (Porting to "other common lisps" would also be greatly appreciated...)

I believe that it would be wonderful to have an Aldor compiler and interpreter
written in Lisp.

Of course, the current compiler and interpreter for Axiom's extension language
("spad"), is written in a dialect of lisp (called "boot"), which itself is
written in lisp.

The greatest thing would be to enhance the present spad compiler and
interpreter to be compatible with Aldor. The semantics of Aldor are available
online, see Chapter 22 of

and do not differ greatly from the semantics of spad.

A milestone would be to enable the Axiom interpreter to use the features
provided by Aldor -- in fact, this boils down to *one* feature that is missing.
("dependent signatures")


If you are interested to work on this subject, please join us! There is a lot
more information available, and quite a bit of work has been done already. The
appropriate mailing list is address@hidden

Martin Rubey

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