[om] Newbie questions on the meaning of the Attribution Element

sal at dcs.st-and.ac.uk sal at dcs.st-and.ac.uk
Mon Jan 13 00:08:20 CET 2003

I think Richard misses many uses of attribution:

1. to include reproducible, but perhaps expensive to 
compute information derived from the object. Eg the size of a group given by 
generating permutations, or a factorization of a polynomial or a proof of 
primality of a number or....

So one would read this as: "the object is XXXX but you may also like to know 
some things about it"

Type information falls into this category.

2. to include history, copyright, origin and other non-mathematical 
information: "the object is XXXX and was constructed by Steve Linton on Jan 
12th 2003, using data from this and that source...." or "the answer is 42 [object] 
and it took 5 million years to compute at a cost to your grid account of 
$XXXXX [ annotations]"

3. for non-mathematical control information. One option for a designer of an 
OM service is to accept objects annotated with a description of what the user 
wants done to them. There are other options. but this is one.

4. To qualify an object. "the value is 1.00000 with a systematic error of +- 
0.01 and a statistical error of +- 0.03". Or "the answer is 42, but I computed 
it using a Monte Carlo algorithm with error probability 10^-9"

Annotation symbols need to be agreed between producers and consumers, just 
like any other symbols, but those who do not understand them may ignore them 
and retain the core meaning.

Steve Linton	School of Computer Science  &
      Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Computational Algebra
	     University of St Andrews 	 Tel   +44 (1334) 463269
http://www-theory.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~sal	 Fax   +44 (1334) 463278   

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