[om] Re: [om-a] critique of OpenMath

Andreas Strotmann strotman at cs.fsu.edu
Thu Jan 18 20:49:57 CET 2001

> My apologies for the argumentative tone I seem to be
> assuming for this dialog.  I hope I'm not too far off-base
> on my understanding of what's been proposed and done.
> In part I may be expressing my exasperation that this
> activity has taken so long to achieve what appears to
> me to be relatively little, while several other projects
> gallop past.

Richard, I'm sure we can all feel with you in your exasperation.
Just imagine *our* frustration who began what we hoped would be about a
2-year project which has now been running for about seven years.

Why has it taken so long?

Surprise, surprise:  it's really, really hard to do it right, and of the
several projects that I have seen work on something similar, *and* the
list of languages you mentioned earlier, *none* reach OpenMath's quality.  
(This includes MathML-Content, by the way, as I have been pointing out on
the appropriate mailing list.)

This was the gist of our particular article in the SIGSAM Bulletin:  it
was hard, really hard, and sometimes, yes, controversial for a few
hours or even weeks, but OpenMath -- finally -- did it. It's still not
perfect, but its specification is a solid foundation on which to build.

  -- Andreas

PS:   Try, for comparison, looking at the several versions of KIF,
 who were following your LISP advice, and look at what the ANSI KIF draft
 actually contained.  I wrote a little paper (unpublished) on this failure
 of the AI community to do things right.  And it took them even longer
 than OpenMath.  Ergo:  THIS IS REALLY HARD!!!
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