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Happy birthday, Ada Lovelace

12 December 2012 Leave a comment

It’s a bit late here down under. But I’m going to say it anyway: Happy birthday, Ada Lovelace. Here’s a nice synopsis about the first computer programmer.

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2011 Spies Prize: Robert Bradshaw

18 July 2011 Leave a comment

This year, Robert Bradshaw is the winner of the Annual Spies Sage Development Prize. Congratulations, Robert! Here is the prize citation:

Robert Bradshaw has been an extremely active and productive Sage developer for over five years. Additionally, he has been a leader, both in maintaining the community and in important design decisions.

He is probably best known for his work on Cython, which is critical for the performance of many key parts of Sage, and his work designing and implementing the coercion model, which makes many powerful mathematical constructions possible. However, his interests and significant contributions are wide-ranging, including: exact linear algebra, arithmetic of elliptic curves, L-functions, 3-D plotting and parallel building. A recent project is the patchbot tool, which automates testing contributions posted on trac. Moreover, he is an important contributor to trouble-shooting and design discussions in the sage-devel forum and is also the third most numerous poster of all time in the sage-support forum.

For his many important technical contributions, and his long-time and continuing involvement in the Sage community, Robert Bradshaw is awarded the 2011 Spies Sage Development Prize. This award carries a prize of $500 from the Sage Foundation (thanks to Jaap Spies).

Happy Software Freedom Day 2010

19 September 2010 Leave a comment

Saturday 18th September 2010 is Software Freedom Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of free and open source software in your city. This year’s celebration for Melbourne, Victoria was held at the State Library of Victoria. The various stalls were setup in the library’s Experimedia venue, while a series of parallel talks and workshops went on in three different rooms. The timetable for the talks and workshop is below and some photos I took during the day are available.

I caught up with many familiar faces during the day and made many more new friends. One of my friends brought me a packed lunch so I would have something to eat during the day. It was also nice to meet Richard Jones for the first time, the person who originally wrote gdmodule, which is a component of Sage. Thanks, Richard!

During the day I coordinated the short talks: looking after the speakers, arranging to get them to the venue in time to adequately prepare their talks, introducing speakers, and chasing them around the library to ensure they know where the talk venue is. I find it rather inconvenient that the talks and workshops venues were cut off and rather far from where the main stalls were. I think this contributed to visitors’ confusion about where the talks and workshops were held. But I was surprised that each talk and workshop were very well attended. Volunteers during the day wore a distinctive orange t-shirt. (I joked early on in the day that it was an Orange Revolution.) Volunteers guided visitors to the talks and workshops venues. I myself played the role of a guide during the day, walking from one end of the library to the other. At the end of the day, one of the library staff joked that I must had walked a few miles or more.

Sage Math weekly Facebook update: 2010-09-08

8 September 2010 Leave a comment

Here is this week’s summary for the Sage Math Facebook page:

  • 335 monthly active users; 17 since last week
  • 1,752 people like this; 15 since last week
  • 13 wall posts and comments this week; no change since last week
  • 460 visits this week; 87 since last week

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

25 March 2010 2 comments

March 24th of each year is observed as Ada Lovelace Day. It is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science and technology. The daughter of the English poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace is recognized as the first computer programmer due to her work on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. Sage contributor Christopher Olah has written a blog post celebrating the women who have enriched his creative, social, and technical experiences. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge women who contribute in wide-ranging capacities to the Sage project. So without further ado, here they are.

  • Alyson Deines — Unfortunately, I have no record of Alyson’s contribution to Sage. The only record I could find is ticket #5380, which mentions that Alyson has contributed to Sage. However, the ticket does not specify in any way what Alyson’s contributions are. I would be glad if someone could point out her contributions.
  • Amy Glen — Amy has contributed to the combinatorics module of Sage through her work on SageWords.
  • Anna Haensch — Anna made her first contribution to Sage in version 4.5.2 with her review of ticket #9317. With her work on ticket #9355, she brought the doctest coverage of the quadratic forms module up to 100%.
  • Anne Schilling — Anne is an active member of the Sage-Combinat team. She has contributed substantial code to the combinat codebase, especially through her work on crystals.
  • Charlotte (Charlie) Turner — Charlotte made several contributions to the algebraic geometry code.
  • Emily Kirkman — Emily has contributed substantial code and documentation to the graph theory module. Whenever you visualize a graph using Sage, you have Emily to thank for the visually appealing layout of graph theoretic structures.
  • Gabriele Nebe — Gabriele contributed to the quadratic forms code, especially to the computation of genera.
  • Jennifer Balakrishnan — Jennifer’s contribution include a \LaTeX mode for the Magma interface. Her work on the number theory module includes new code on computation of p-adic heights and Coleman integration.
  • Jenny Cooley — Through her Summer scholarship at the University of Warwick, Jenny contributed new code to Sage’s elliptic curves module. In particular, she implemented elliptic curve isogenies of low degree and complete isogeny classes for elliptic curves over \mathbf{Q}. Her Summer project was showcased at a poster session during October 2009.
  • Joanna Gaski — During her time as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Joanna contributed new code to the combinatorics module. Her work allows Sage to interface with the online Sloane database of integer sequences to query the Sloane sequence A000008.
  • Kate Minola — Kate has provided substantial feedback and suggestions on Sage’s early build and automated testing systems. Many of her bug reports and constructive feedback played the critical role of making Sage’s build system portable across the Unix family of operating systems.
  • Maite Aranes — Maite has contributed substantial new code to the modular forms and number theory modules of Sage. Her wide-ranging contributions include bug reports on these modules as well as new code for cusps over number fields, Manin symbols over number fields, enhancing the reduction modulo ideals of number fields, and many utility functions relating to number fields.
  • Mariah Lenox — Mariah is known within the Sage community as the person who administers the SkyNet network of computers. It is the timely access to these machines for automated building and testing that have played a critical role in the stability of Sage and its portability across the Unix family of operating systems. Mariah has also provided constructive feedback on Sage’s documentation.
  • Teresa Gomez-Diaz — A former Axiom and MuPAD-Combinat developer, Teresa initiated Sage’s category hierarchy based on those from MuPAD and Axiom. As member of the Plume project, she actively participates in advocating Sage and Sage-Combinat on the Plume project’s website.

I hope I have not left anyone out. Feel free to add any contributions I have left out. This post appeared in the sage-devel and sage-combinat-devel forums.

2010-03-27: Added Teresa Gomez-Diaz as recommended by Nicolas M. Thiéry. Thanks, Nicolas!

2010-03-31: Updated details for Jenny Cooley, following suggestions from John Cremona.

2010-04-14: Added Gabriele Nebe and Charlotte (Charlie) Turner, following suggestions from Alex Ghitza. Thanks, Alex!

2010-09-09: Added Anna Haensch

Software Freedom Day 2009

20 September 2009 Leave a comment

The 2009 Software Freedom Day (SFD) took place on Saturday 19th September. The Linux Users of Victoria group organized the celebration at Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne, Australia. I have uploaded some photos taken during the day to picasa. Brianna Laugher has uploaded more photos. Here’s a news item at iTWire about the SFD celebration in Melbourne. I’m delighted to say that it mentions Sage a lot 🙂

This year’s venue was more spacious than the venue for the 2008 celebration. Ten speakers delivered a total of 11 half-hour talks in two parallel talk sessions, spread across two lecture rooms. Three workshop demonstrators delivered hands-on tutorials in a computer lab. Here is a table listing the talks and practical workshops.



I gave a talk on beginning programming with Python. I have uploaded the slides for the talk as well as written up notes for it.

The Summer that was…

27 February 2009 Leave a comment

If you’re wondering what I was doing during the Australian 2008/2009 summer, I’m happy to report that I was hanging around at the Melbourne branch of CSIRO’s Mathematical and Information Sciences division. I met new people and had the chance to play with one of CSIRO’s compute cluster (woo hoo!). During that summer, over one hundred students worked as CSIRO vacation scholars on projects across CSIRO’s many divisions. Here’s a sneak peek of the work space of yours truly:



Here are more photos taken during my time hanging out at CSIRO.

It was not all about hacking away at my work space. I also played a game of cricket at a nearby park with some of the vacation students and CSIRO research scientists. And yes, some of us were not cricket experts, but we just tagged along to pick up a smattering of cricket. Aside from cricket, I also played the part of a tour guide for a number of vacation students who were from Sydney and Adelaide. During one tour, we visited a Christmas window show in the Melbourne central business district. As always, my lighter side was with me and I noticed the following scene:



At the end of my summer project, I flew to Sydney to attend the “Big Day In” vacation scholar seminar, 12-13 February 2009, at Macquarie University. Some of the photos I took during my 2 days at Macquarie University can be found here. All vacation students gave talks on their projects. Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised by Tim Wraight’s project and talk, who is now an Honours student in mathematics at RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. OK, I admit that I had no ideas what Tim was talking about, but I can say that he used Sage during his summer project sponsored by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI). Following his talk, I had a conversation with Tim and discovered that a former student from RMIT told him about Sage and how it could be used for his project. Of course this is hearsay and not admissible as evidence in a court of law 🙂 But hey, it’s good to know that another person finds Sage useful.

I gave a talk on my project to an audience of fellow CSIRO vacation students, AMSI vacation students, and CSIRO research scientists. Here’s a picture of yours truly in action:



Just in case the curiosity cat has bitten you, my talk slides and project report can be found at my virtual home. Oh, did I mention that I used NetworkX, Python, R and Sage when I was hanging out at CSIRO?