William Stein says "Sage has overall failed"

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Harald Schilly

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Aug 21, 2014, 6:17:43 AM8/21/14
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Surprisingly, sometimes Reddit contains actual discussions:

http://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/2e3qla/william_stein_says_sage_has_overall_failed/

-- H

William A Stein

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Aug 21, 2014, 8:21:27 AM8/21/14
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I just read through it. It might be one reason that there were over
250 new SageMathCloud accounts in the last 24 hours, but that might
also be partly due to the new semester/quarter.

Thanks to all the knowledgable Sage contributors that answered
questions in that thread.

The title they gave it -- 'William Stein says "Sage has overall
failed"' -- seems a bit sensational. I think that if people read
the blog post they will see that I don't mean that the enormous effort
that people like Volker, Jereon, etc., are doing, isn't a fantastic
job. I'm measuring progress specifically in terms of the original
mission statement.

-- William

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--
William Stein
Professor of Mathematics
University of Washington
http://wstein.org
wst...@uw.edu
Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 2.15.52 PM.png

kcrisman

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Aug 21, 2014, 9:32:03 AM8/21/14
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The title they gave it -- 'William Stein says "Sage has overall 
failed"' -- seems a bit sensational.      I think that if people read
the blog post they will see that I don't mean that the enormous effort
that people like Volker, Jereon, etc., are doing, isn't a fantastic
job.  I'm measuring progress specifically in terms of the original
mission statement.


To be fair, you did kind of invite that interpretation with a somewhat dramatic line like that.  Sage clearly IS a viable alternative, and basically is a replacement at the undergraduate level.   It is not a replacement for everything - perhaps we need a jump like the combinat and matroid crowds did in arithmetic geometry?  But neither are they replacements for Sage at this point, right, in many areas?   Again, Sage is a viable alternative even for Matlab.  It's not as good for this as Octave, apparently, and no third-party support etc. - but some people do use it, or they wouldn't be asking for help.

So I think that it would have been better to say that the statement that has failed is a viable *replacement* for all four M's.  Well, that would be a hard goal indeed!  For precisely the reasons you give.  I don't think that makes Sage a failure, it just makes it different.  Presumably Maple and Mathematica are not replacements for each other either.

- kcrisman

Paul Graham

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Aug 21, 2014, 9:10:01 PM8/21/14
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2014-2015 will be a big year for Sage i think, with SMC leading the charge, now that SMC in particular has matured alot. From personal everyday experience i know that the idea of being able to make a free account and have access to a more mathematically substantial/capable version of Wolfram Alpha ,where you can log in and save things, would be popular once school starts. Its annoying for students (including myself) trying to do something on wolfram alpha, but you cant because your only allowed to use the non-paid gimped version, unless you subscribe to become a pro member ($$$).

A lot more that could be said, but just some quick thoughts.

Anne Schilling

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Aug 22, 2014, 12:28:29 AM8/22/14
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Hi William,

From my point of view Sage definitely has *not* failed! I would not be able to do the computations I need
for my research on any other platform at this point (of course this could be possibly done, but with an enormous
effort). More and more people are interested in switching to Sage at least people with a focus in
combinatorics, representation theory, root systems, .... and are offering to organize Sage Days to learn
and start using and contributing to Sage. In fact, we just concluded Sage Days in India and there were
people interested in a variety of topics. From this point of view, Sage has gone far beyond any other
mathematical software system I know!

Best,

Anne

maldun

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Aug 25, 2014, 5:10:03 AM8/25/14
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Sage has definietly not failed! I use it as alternative to Matlab and Mathematica for years now, and what the true strength of Sage is not, that it is better than one of the 4M's, but is doing a equivalently good job in all those areas, which each of this programs is speciallized in!

The one thing I have personally to criticize about sage is that the scientific computing/numeric community is quite weak here. Of course thanks to scipy that part is very well covered, and the scipy ecosystem is part of sage, but it still has the feeling of 'beeing on board' instead of beeing fully integrated.

maldun

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Aug 25, 2014, 5:12:30 AM8/25/14
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And I forgot: It is defenitely better than the 5th M, namely MatCAD! 
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