SAGE is open source math software. I spent some time becoming familiar with the software and the project before I jumped ship from the math world. Essentially, the idea is to be able to replace the closed, expensive, proprietary math software frequently in use (e.g. Matlab, Mathematica, Magma) with a free and open source alternative. Along with the usual arguments for this sort of software, there are additional reasons research mathematicians have for wanting something open like this. Truth in math is determined by people, and if people can’t see the source code, they can’t decide whether an argument holds water. Closed software is inherently divorced from the basic epistemology of mathematics.
Anyway, SAGE has been evolving for years, and even though it’s been around longer than ARIS, it looks like they’re heading for a watershed moment too. William Stein writes on the SAGE blog this week about some of the organizational possibilities ahead of them in terms of hosting and long term sustainability. It’s interesting to see some of the similarities between our two projects. I hope there’s a lot to learn from their work and struggles.
There are a few other things that Stein has written that might help those far away from math understand what this open source math project is about.
Tensions between research and education uses for SAGE (this one might also be relevant to our work, but mostly it makes me glad to be over here instead of in math)