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Task area 1: Computer Algebra


Computer algebra systems work with exact computations from various fields within Mathematics. In recent years computations that have previously seemed impossible have now become possible. This does not come without challenges. As the input and output data have now become too large for humans to handle, the resulting computations are run in parallel thus affecting runtime, which can take up to several months. In turn, there is now a need to affirm the accuracy of the results generated and to digest the results of these computations. Thus, the focus of TA1 will be to establish confirmable workflows, data formats and databases for computer algebra ensuring a degree of standardization that is beneficial to developers and publishing companies within the mathematical community.

Both data and software play an increasingly important role in publications in mathematics. A normal paper in mathematics has to adhere to the notation of the respective field and provide the references upon which it builds its results. This is to make sure that it is easily understood by its peers. For a publication containing software or data we aim at providing guidelines and standards to ensure easy understanding and reviewability as well. We will augment this with a multitude of examples over time.

As a first demonstration we developed a testing process [1] during the writing process of the book "The Computer Algebra System OSCAR: Algorithms and Examples" [2]. This testing process aimed at keeping all the examples up to date during the writing process. After the writing phase of the book, all examples were integrated into the OSCAR testsuite to ensure that OSCAR development does not break the examples.

Software peer review

In order to develop best practices for software peer reviewing of mathematical papers we need to be able to work with journals and conferences to be able to test out the reviewing process in order to see what works and what doesn't. We are therefore willing to work with anyone who would like to experiment with introducing some kind of software peer reviewing process and do this by initially taking over the burden of doing software reviews.

Conferences for which we did software reviews:

If you are interested in letting us do software peer reviewing for you, please contact Jeroen Hanselman.

File Formats and Serialization

We aim to broaden the accessibility, usability and find-ability of mathematical research results so that the data can be used amongst different research groups and software systems.

Our View on Data

Software and data formats are in a state of flux, which is quite the opposite of mathematical objects. Mathematical data should be made to stand the test of time. Our mission is to provide guidelines and a data format that can be adapted to as many technologies as possible as well as to new technologies.

The Data Format

We have written a paper about our file format, currently available here. Our approach to data serialization is a bottom up approach, meaning we have started the implementation of (de)serialization from a specific software system namely OSCAR expanding to other software systems when specific use cases arise.

Runtime systems

We are currently developing a prototype for predefined software environments called MaPS.




  1. Michael Joswig, Lars Kastner, Benjamin Lorenz: Confirmable Workflows in OSCAR (2024)
  2. Wolfram Decker, Christian Eder, Claus Fieker, Max Horn, and Michael Joswig: The Computer Algebra System OSCAR (2024)