Re: ***MATH***

Marcus E. Hennecke (marcush@crc.ricoh.com)
Tue, 16 Jul 1996 09:40:48 -0700 (PDT)


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 09:40:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Marcus E. Hennecke" <marcush@crc.ricoh.com>
Message-Id: <199607161640.JAA02259@cougar.crc.ricoh.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: ***MATH***
Cc: ma104@math.uio.no

On Tue, 16 Jul 1996 17:01:54 +0200, Lineaer Algebraiker <ma104@math.uio.no> wrote:
> I ***DON'T*** want plug-ins, inline gifs or what-have-you. latex2html does 
> that job more than well enough (sorry Ping, but your stuff is useless to me 
> because of this, as far as I could see).

Of course Ping's stuff can only work via inlined GIFs for now since that's
the only thing current browsers support. However, I can see some great
potential in his proposal.

> I just hope the end-product uses some experience from LaTeX, which every 
> mathematician knows is the only sensible way to write mathematics.

Not true. The problem with LaTeX's way to write math is that the computer
can't make sense out of it. It is not structural. For example:

	\int f(x)xdx

How would the computer know that x is the integration variable? To make
it more difficult:

	\int f(\vec{x})\vec{x}\vec{dx}

But why should the computer know? Because of the need for device
independence. What if you want to speak the formula? Then you need to
know what the integrand and what the integration variable is.

Another math notation that people have grown fond of is Mathematica.
Mathematica is a program that is capable of symbolic math. You can ask
it to compute derivatives and integrals symbolically or solve equations.
For example:

	Integrate[f[x]x,x]

Now it is very clear which is the integrand and which is the integration
variable. Mathematica is even able to translate formulas into LaTeX if
necessary.

As far as I can see, Ping's efforts go in the same direction.

> <fear>Or 
> does MS's membership in W3C mean that we'll get something based on <yuck>
> Word</yuck>?</fear> 

That would be far worse than LaTeX.

Marcus
--
Marcus E. Hennecke
marcush@crc.ricoh.com        http://www.crc.ricoh.com/~marcush/