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NYC LOCAL: Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22 April, 2005 Conference on Larg

From: secretary
Subject: NYC LOCAL: Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22 April, 2005 Conference on Large Computer Algebra System Axiom
Date: 19 Apr 2005 21:33:19 -0400

On Thursday 21 April 2005 and Friday April 22 2005 there will be a
conference on the large old growth computer algebra system Axiom.

Today Axiom is free software and almost all of Axiom's source code has been
converted to "literate code".  Much of Axiom's base programming system is

Thursday will be a sprint day, given over to actual code hacking; Friday to
an introduction and overview of the Axiom system.

The conference will be held at the City College of New York, main
campus, in Upper Manhattan, near 137th Street.  For directions, see

For a list of talks on Friday see

Here is the official announcement, from

   When:    April 22, 2005
   Where:   The City College of New York
   Contact: Bernice Ravitz <>

   There will be a Conference on Axiom on April 22, 2005 at the City
   College of New York. The focus of the conference will be to
   demonstrate the power and scope of Axiom to a general scientific
   audience. The conference is being hosted by CAISS, the Center for
   Algorithmic and Interactive Scientific Software. Timothy Daly, a
   senior research scientist at CAISS and a Research Associate in the
   Computer Science Department of CCNY has been heavily involved in the
   development of AXIOM over many years.

   Axiom, developed by IBM and released as open source software by NAG,
   has now been rebuilt by many developers into its original form
   together with a new version for Windows. Preceding the conference, on
   April 21st, will be a "sprint" day devoted to defining future
   directions and a marathon programming session in the CAISS Open
   Software Lab. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Help will be
   available for new developers.

   The Acting Dean of Engineering, Joe Barba and the Dean of Science,
   Maria Tamargo, are sponsoring the conference, which is also supported
   by the National Science Foundation. Further funding has been made
   available by the Chancellor of the City University of New York, Dr.
   Matthew Goldstein and the Provost of the City College of New York,
   Zeev Dagan, for both travel and accommodation for some participants
   and attendees of one or other or both events.

   Details of the talks on April 22nd and the get-together on April 21st
   will be posted on the CAISS web-site, in the next few

   Anyone interested in attending should email
   Bernice Ravitz <>.

   The conference is being organized by Gilbert Baumslag, Timothy Daly,
   Gretchen Ostheimer, William Sit and Douglas Troeger.



   Axiom has been in development since 1971. At that time, it was called
   Scratchpad. Scratchpad was a large, general purpose computer algebra system
   that was originally developed by IBM under the direction of Richard
   Jenks. The project started in 1971 and evolved slowly. Barry Trager was key
   to the technical direction of the project. Scratchpad developed over a 20
   year stretch and was basically considered as a research platform for
   developing new ideas in computational mathematics. In the 1990s, as IBM's
   fortunes slid, the Scratchpad project was renamed to Axiom, sold to the
   Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) in England and became a commercial
   system. As part of the Scratchpad project at IBM in Yorktown Tim Daly
   worked on all aspects of the system and eventually helped transfer the
   product to NAG. For a variety of reasons it never became a financial
   success and NAG withdrew it from the market in October, 2001.  Open Source

   NAG agreed to release Axiom as free software, under this license. The basic
   motivation was that Axiom represents something different from other
   programs in a lot of ways. Primarily because of its foundation in
   mathematics the Axiom system will potentially be useful 30 years from
   now. In its current state it represents about 30 years and 300 man-years of
   research work. To strive to keep such a large collection of knowledge alive
   seems a worthwhile goal.

Below is a quote from Tim Daly, head of the Axiom project, on one of the
central problems of computerdom:

   My goal isn't to solve physics/math problems. My goal is to build a system
   that will be used by computational mathematicians 30 years from now. Once
   this is the stated goal several things become clear.

This is from a proper rant by Tim Daly, to be found at

The World Wide Web entry point for Axiom is

Jay Sulzberger <>
Corresponding Secretary LXNY
LXNY is New York's Free Computing Organization.

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