In the last few years, interfaces for computer algebra systems have improved a lot as some front-ends allow, for instance, mixing text, graphics, and formulas, shrinking paragraphs, browsing an on-line manual using hypertext mechanisms, and so on. Taking advantage of previous work, the HISC project focuses on highlighting new research directions to simplify the use of symbolic computation tools. Many problems are poorly or not at all addressed by present user interfaces. These include the use of alternative input technologies -- such as voice or pen; direct manipulation of subexpressions involving both syntactic and semantic aspects; interactive manipulation of curves and surfaces; representation and interactive manipulation of exotic mathematical objects; intelligent session management providing support to users solving non-trivial problems, interaction with theorem provers/checkers such as COQ, HOL, LEGO, etc.
Another characteristic of this project is its close connection with the ACELA project. ACELA is a long term project of both RIACA and CWI. It aims to develop a software environment to help in writing interactive mathematical books. In collaboration with the expertise of CAN/RIACA, an interactive book on Lie algebras should be released using this technology. Such a book will offer full hypertext facilities, such as jumping from subjects to definitions or browsing through an on-line mathematical encyclopedia, or other interactive books. Moreover, it will embed some comprehension of the syntactical and semantical structure of the formulas, allowing interaction with computer algebra systems and interactive examples or exercises.
It was decided that the main activity of the HISC project should take
place in the first semester of 1994. As for all RIACA projects, the
research was to be pursued by guest researchers who would be invited
for a one-week to six-months period. As part of the project, a workshop was
to take place in the first quarter of 1994. Dr. N. Kajler was appointed as of
November 17th, 1993 to prepare and co-ordinate the HISC project.