W3C Issues MathML as a W3C Recommendation

The World Wide Web Consortium
   Issues MathML as a W3C

   Industry Players, Experts Collaborate to
   Produce Fundamental Solution for Mathematical
   Content on the Web 

             Press Release

                                   Fact Sheet


   For immediate release 
     Contact America --
                        Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>

                        Kathryn Esplin <kesplin@w3.org>
     Contact Europe --
                        Ned Mitchell <ned@ala.com>
                        +33 1 43 22 79 56 

                        Andrew Lloyd <allo@ala.com>
                        +44 127 367 5100
     Contact Asia --
                        Yumiko Matsubara <matsubara@w3.org>
                        +81.466.47.5111 ext. 3257

   http://www.w3.org/ -- 7 April, 1998 -- Advancing its mission to lead
the Web to its fullpotential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today
announced the release of the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML)
specification as a W3C Recommendation.
MathML, the first application of XML to be issued as a W3C
Recommendation, was designed for encoding mathematical notation and
content for use on the Web. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a
specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has
been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who are in favor of supporting its
adoption by the industry. "MathML is a major breakthrough in content
representation on the Web," said Vincent Quint, W3C User Interface
Domain Leader. "Not only it will allow scientists, engineers and
students to efficiently exchange ideas on the Web, but it's also easy to
implement in Web tools, due to its consistency with other Web
technologies such as CSS and XML." 


   MathML is a low-level syntax for representing structured data such as
mathematics in machine-to-machine communication over the Web, providing
a much-needed solution for including mathematical expressions over the
Web. In developing MathML, the goal was to define an XML-compliant
markup language that describes the content and presentation of
mathematical expressions.  This was achieved with MathML. 

As an effective way to include mathematical expressions in Web
documents, MathML gives control over the presentation and the meaning of
such expressions. It does this by providing two sets of markup tags: one
set presents the notation of mathematical data in markup format, and the
other set relays the semantic meaning of mathematical expressions,
enabling complex mathematical and scientific notation to be encoded in
an explicit way. 

As an XML application, MathML capitalizes on XML features and benefits
from the wide support of XML. Unlike HTML which was intended as a markup
language for use by people, MathML is intended to be used by machines,
facilitating the searching and indexing of mathematical and scientific
information. Software tools that work with MathML render MathML into
formatted equations, enabling users to edit mathematical equations
much as one might edit HTML text. Several early versions of such MathML
tools already exist, and a number of others, both freely available
software and commercial products, are under development. 

"The development of MathML opens the door to a flourishing of the Web as
a means to communicate mathematical ideas," said Dr. Dave Raggett, W3C
lead for Math. "W3C is thrilled to have brought together such a fine
team of experts. MathML will make it practical for users to interact
with math in ways that will greatly enrich teaching and technical

"No doubt that many MathML enabled tools will follow the ones already
available," added Quint. "Developers at W3C were very excited to support
MathML natively in Amaya, W3C's testbed browser/editor." 

MathML was developed by the W3C Math Working Group, which is comprised
of key industry players and experts from the mathematical community,
including Adobe, American Mathematical Society, Design Science,
Elsevier, The Geometry Center, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, INRIA, MINSE/Xerox
PARC, SoftQuad, Stilo Technologies, University of Western Ontario,
Waterloo Maple and Wolfram Research. 

   W3C Process 

Specifications developed within W3C working groups must be formally
approved by the Membership. Consensus is reached after a specification
has proceeded through the following review stages: Working Draft,
Proposed Recommendation, and Recommendation. 

Stable working drafts are submitted by working groups to the W3C
Director for consideration as a Proposed Recommendation. Upon the
Director's approval, the document becomes a "Proposed Recommendation",
and is forwarded to the W3C Membership to vote whether it should become
an official W3C Recommendation. The W3C Advisory Committee -- comprised
of one official representative from each Member organization -- submits
one of the following votes on the Proposed Recommendation: yes; yes,
with comments; no, unless specified deficiencies are corrected; no, this
Proposed Recommendation should be abandoned. 

During the Member review and voting period (approximately 6 weeks), the
Working Group resolves minor technical issues (if any) and communicates
its results to the W3C Director. 

After this time, the Director announces the disposition of the document;
it may become a W3C Recommendation (possibly with minor changes), revert
to Working Draft status, or may be dropped as a W3C work item. 

The MathML specification has been produced as part of the W3C Math
Activity, and is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-mathml. Please
see attached Fact Sheet for additional information on MathML. 

For information on W3C's work on mathematics, see

For information on the W3C Process, see

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C] 

The W3C was created to develop common protocols that enhance the
interoperability and promote the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is
an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer
Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in
Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in
Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of
information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; sample
code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various
prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology.
To date, more than 250 organizations are Members of the Consortium. 

   For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see

   W3C Hosts 

MIT Laboratory for Computer Science http://www.lcs.mit.edu/ 
INRIA http://www.inria.fr/ 
Keio University http://www.keio.ac.jp/

Received on Tuesday, 7 April 1998 11:34:02 UTC