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Re: Taking MathML "backwards" to go forwards

From: Paul Libbrecht <paul@activemath.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 22:04:21 +0100
To: www-math@w3.org, CMoss@tvnz.co.nz
Message-Id: <0B45CF96-40FD-11D6-9930-0003934D43BA@activemath.org>
Hi,

>> [...] Our data acquisition occurs in XML, we
>> have a template management system for our web content - so what I plan 
>> to do, is create templates in MathML to "wrap" statistical analysis 
>> equations around our election data (basically numbers of votes :) and 
>> process those equations.  [...]
>> Does anyone know of a MathML engine which does this type of
>> calculation already?
>
> Sure.  There are various options.  The obvious choices are Maple and
> Mathematica, which both import and evaluate either presentation or
> content MathML.
[...]
> What you propose sounds quite reasonable, and especially if you use 
> content MathML

I'd be careful here to distinguish MathML presentation from content.
As long as you stay in a relatively restricted field (really restricted) 
you have hopes to make a translation from presentation to content.

In general however, this is bound to fail. At least as soon as you 
introduce new symbols. I am pretty sure you can easily craft a 
presentation mathML object whose translation to content may have at 
least two non-compatible mathematical meanings.

If WebEQ, Maple and Mathematica do these translations, they do so with 
some heuristics with which I would be very careful. Of course, if you 
insist on presentation and the capability to input this presentation, 
then you might want to stay with these. And you will need to test 
permanently your equations.

If, however, your formulas are in content MathML then you're sure to 
have it working in Maple and Mathematica.
For the presentation of these formulas in a web-browser, however, you 
will need some kind of stylesheets.

You would do the same job with OpenMath, for example. The latter is 
slightly more matured than content MathML but has no official 
presentation language. Connections to mathematical systems which can 
receive and deliver OpenMath exist (though all alpha). See for example 
the RIACA projects' pages at
	http://crystal.win.tue.nl/projects/index.html
(among others, one not too poor and OpenSource is the Gap server and 
client for which you have a Java WebStart demo for both server and 
client shell. For a more adventurous one, but for statistics, I think 
they started something with R, an OpenSource statistics software).

As of presentations of formulas encoded in OpenMath within straight HTML 
(and recently to presentation MathML), a number of them are available, 
among others in the OMDoc repositories and the ActiveMath learning 
environment.
	http://www.mathweb.org/omdoc/
	http://www.activemath.org/

Hope that helps.
Note that I was not very clear what kind of "extraction of formulas" you 
were thinking of. Otherwise said, I did not understand the kind of 
document containing formulas which you are planning.

Paul
Received on Tuesday, 26 March 2002 17:59:54 GMT

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