|STAN DEVITT, Waterloo Maple Inc., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada|
|Extracting mathematical meaning from MathML notation--an essential step towards live math on the Web|
The meaningful representation of mathematics on the web has had a checkered past. Approaches have fallen into essentially three categories: Pictures of formulae, prepared using other software such as Maple, Expressionist, TeX or Mathtype, embedded special encodings processed by plugins and applets such as techexplorer or WebEQ, and pictures of entire pages formatted using page layout software such as PageMaker, TEXor FrameMaker.
While there are extensive problems deriving from scaling and alignment of the pictorial fragments, especially after rescaling of the page, each of these approaches has a much more fundamental flaw. Their heavy reliance on pictures of formulae and page layout based encodings prevents the encoding the mathematical meaning of the original formulae. Without a mechanism for the author to specify the intended semantics, there no way to automatically process formulae that are embedded on web pages.
W3C's MathML 1.0 specification addresses the semantics issues by providing encodings for both the visual/aural encoding and the mathematical semantics. The approach taken allows authors to actually define and reference their notation. This talk explores how MathML allows you to work with the mathematical meaning of expressions, especially when interacting with computer algebra systems such as Maple.