### Numerical math consortium - the new OpenMath?

In the news recently is the numerical mathematics consortium,

http://www.nmconsortium.org, which is attempting to define an open

standard for numerical math. But how does it expect to succeed where

OpenMath, http://www.openmath.org/ has so far failed?

When you look at the expertise of the NMC in numerical math an odd picture

emerges:

MathSoft make a computationally light-weight product, MathCAD. Their

real innovation and experience is in the interface design, not in numerical

algorithms.

MapleSoft have no real experience in numerical computation either, instead

buying in their numerical libraries from NAG.

National Instruments is a major company but one who have never developed

numerical software, instead purchasing MatrixX after Mathworks were

forced to sell it.

Only INRIA have any real experience. Being academic collaborators on

other open source consortia, they might be expected to join in any such

an effort.

Absent are obvious significant experts in numerical math- Mathworks,

Wolfram Research, NAG etc.

Now look back at OpenMath. It was arguably the symbolic version of the

NMC. The main contributors were NAG, makers of Axiom, then a recent

addition to the symbolic computation market, contributors to computer

algebra systems GAP, Reduce and MAGMA, all fading even then and

MapleSoft, a significant company but not leading in their field.

Just as MapleSoft once gathered minor players in computer algebra around

them in the hope of competing with Mathematica, now it seems National

Instruments are gathering minor numerical math partners in the hope of

taking on Mathworks (who they are in unrelated conflict with) and Wolfram.

Will it work this time? The commercial forces are bigger, but

ultimately, it can only work if they make a standard that is any good,

and since the experience comes from INRIA, who contributed to the

bloated un-implementable OpenMath standard, it could be another good idea

which will take a decade to go nowhere.

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