The International Math Union's Electronic Initiatives -- and WestGrid

Jonathan Michael Borwein, FRSC
Shrum Professor and Canada Research Chair
Director, Centre for Experimental and
Constructive Mathematics
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, V5A 1S6, BC


ABSTRACT. Great changes are underway in the way we compute and communicate. This extended and annotated abstract will discuss a few of the changes that impinge especially on the mathematical sciences, concentrating on the initiatives of the IMU. [The CMS adheres to the IMU within the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). via NRC !]

  • See Computers in Science and Engineering's recent issues on the Top Ten Algorithms (also Science News) and on Tomorrow's Hardest Problems (especially Challenges for Mathematical Computing).

    While I will talk primarily from the perspective of a researcher it is important to remember how many `players' there are and how small a part mathematical science publishing and computing really is. [Even though we think it is everywhere.]


  • PART 1: CEIC


    ``The work then proceeds in a manner unique to science. Because practitioners publish their work electronically, through the e-print archives at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the entire community can read a paper hours after its authors finish typing the last footnote. As a result, no one theorist or even a collaboration does definitive work. Instead, the field progresses like a jazz performance: A few theorists develop a theme, which others quickly take up and elaborate. By the time it's fully developed, a few dozen physicists, working anywhere from Princeton to Bombay to the beaches of Santa Barbara, may have played important parts.''

    Gary Taubes, ``String Theorists Find a Rosetta Stone," Science July 23 (1999) 513.




    ``Three years ago, said Dr. Zanelli in Chile, one of his own students posted a paper and the next day received an e-mail message from Dr. Witten. The student was at first so shocked that he accused Dr. Zanelli of playing an elaborate practical joke.

    `We learned that great physicists do read the archives daily and they browse through all the preprints,' Dr. Zanelli said, `even if they come from an obscure place in the end of the world.'

    Dr. Witten's instant response, Dr. Zanelli said, `was like having the pope drop by for tea.' ''

    James Glanz, ``Web Archive Opens a New Realm of Research,'' New York Times, April 30, 2001.


    PART II: WestGrid, the SFU CoLab and Other Links


    I will finish by briefly touching on some of the following:


    Revised: July 26/2001