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Enabling synchronous math discussions on the Web

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1 Author(s)
Canessa, E. ; Int. Centre for Theor. Phys., Trieste, Italy

In an increasingly interconnected world, communication tools play an essential role in facilitating the exchange of ideas and discussions over the Internet. In particular, we must have profession-specific tools for synchronous distance collaboration that focus on users' interests, such as mathematics and science. As early as 1990, when the original view of the Web emerged, scientists realized it would be extremely valuable to have a readable and writable collaborative medium. Our community's current needs regarding the use of mathematical notation and symbols, which are part of the fabric of scientific professional life, are far from met; this is a completely open technological challenge for investigation. The article describes the development of a prototype tool called ScientificTalk that lets scientists synchronously communicate their mathematical results to their peers worldwide. Such scientific-language capabilities will fill a gap in professional Web-chat applications. Our goal has been to offer an electronic facility to carry out threaded online conversations using math between groups of distant physicists, mathematicians, engineers, and students. The application was developed under the open-source approach and can easily be implemented on Linux machines

Published in:

Computing in Science & Engineering  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 5 )