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Re: Using content-MathML for computation and analysis in Science and Engineering

From: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2012 22:46:34 +0000
Message-ID: <4F6908CA.7040809@nag.co.uk>
CC: "www-math@w3.org" <www-math@w3.org>, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286@cam.ac.uk>
On 20/03/2012 22:10, Paul Libbrecht wrote:
> Le 20 mars 2012 à 08:12, Andreas Strotmann a écrit :
>> More to the point, a sequence of assignments would therefore
>> 'naturally' be expressed as nested lambda expressions in MathML to
>>  preserve semantics.
> My personal opinion, as a mathematician, is that this way of writing
>  might be well-founded in terms of expressivity or logic, it remains
>  fully opaque to most mathematicians except logicians.
> The concept of binding is understandable, and even that of mapping,
> but having to enter everything within lambda terms tends to be a real
> readability problem.
> paul

I'd agree with Paul here. Also, expressing the assignments via lambda
binding limits (in most natural encodings) the scope of the assignment
to a single expression, which may be too limiting.

While Andreas is right that a term encoding like MathML's (or
equivalently) OpenMath's has its roots in functional encodings and
lambda expressions, I don't see anything wrong with having symbols
denoting imperative assignments and, if necessary other imperative

can be given a perfectly well defined meaning as

x := 1

and can be defined to have scope a containing element, or the current
math expression, or the entire document, depending on the needs of the

I came across this old article of Gaston Gonnet on a programming CD for


(The OpenMath examples are written in an old lispish linear syntax
pre-dating xml and no longer supported in OpenMath, but the basic ideas
are independent of syntax)

I was actually looking for this one


That encodes assignment as well as for and while loops etc, and is part
of the current xml cd collection (although classed as experimental)

Received on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 22:46:59 UTC

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