IMU-Net 33: January 2009
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IMU-Net 33: January 2009

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France


1. Editorial
2. IMU on the Web: The Digital Library of Mathematical Functions
3. Hyderabad ICM 2010 posters
4. 7th PACOM
5. Subscribing to IMU-Net



Dear Reader,

Last month I visited India, and among others, I was shown the site of
our 2010 Congress in Hyderabad. I also attended a "Pre-ICM"
Conference in Delhi.

The ICM is the single most important event in mathematics every 4
years, and its organization, from the work of the local organizers to
the Program Committee to the Prize Committees to the publishers of
the Proceedings (and many others) is the most important task for our

There is sometimes skepticism about the Congress, quoting its large
dimensions (for a mathematics meeting), and the fact that a single
participant will know only a small fraction of the other
participants, and will be able to follow only a small fraction of the
section talks. But if you talk with somebody from physics or computer
science, or from other branches of science, he or she will be envious
of the fact that we mathematicians have such an event, where we can
listen to carefully chosen speakers describing the latest
developments, where we can award our most important prizes, have
panel discussions about important issues, etc.

The Fields Medal and the Nevanlinna Prize themselves are unique in
their scope: they award the highest recognition not to old people
whose work is known and well recognized already, but to young people
and new results, thereby calling the whole community's attention to
these young mathematicians and their achievement.

Before I left for my trip to India, several friends wondered about
such a trip, mentioning all sorts of dangers from snakes to malaria.
If you recall, the particular time was also burdened by the terrorist
attacks in Mumbay, and indeed quite a few participants of the
conference cancelled their trips. Needless to say, the terrorist
attacks had no influence on my visit, except for some increased
security at public buildings. And with some caution, it is easy to
avoid infections. And India is a country where crime, especially
violent crime, is rare. And it is a country of fantastic sceneries,
buildings, and people.

So I can recommend visiting India very warmly to everyone, and hope
to see you at ICM 2010 in Hyderabad!

Laszlo Lovasz



The Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) is a new
reference work modeled on the highly referenced 1964 Abramowitz and
Stegun Handbook of Mathematical Functions. Its 36 chapters, which
survey current knowledge about special functions, were written by
distinguished experts, validated by other experts, and supervised by
the NIST editorial board, consisting of Frank Olver, Dan Lozier, Ron
Boisvert, and Charles Clark. The DLMF is scheduled to appear later
this year in a print version, as well as to be released as a
free public Web resource at, which currently contains a
preview of 5 of the chapters. Among its distinguishing features are
references to available software instead of voluminous numerical
tables, inclusion of recently established properties, coverage of
special functions not previously represented, and extensive and
innovative two- and three-dimensional graphics.

Motivated by the Web's potential to radically change the way
mathematics is disseminated and used, the DLMF project has inspired
NIST to develop new techniques and software for semantically marked-up
representations of mathematical formulas, mathematically aware search,
and mathematical graphics. These innovations were designed to be used
in the DLMF, and also serve as models for similar developments in
other areas of mathematics and its applications.

LaTeX was designed to produce beautiful mathematical documents, but
lacks means of encoding semantics, that is, the mathematical meaning
of the symbols on the page. Since one of its long-term goals is full
semantic markup, the DLMF became one of the first large projects to
commit to preparing its entire Web site in XML/MathML, which is
specifically designed to provide superior rendering of type-set math
(the Presentation form of MathML) as well as the encoding of semantic
math (the Content form of MathML).
To generate the XML/MathML from the LaTeX source, Bruce Miller, the
DLMF's information architect, undertook the task of developing a
suitable processor, named LaTeXML. It soon became clear that LaTeXML
had much wider potential applications. For example, in a joint project
with Jacobs University in Bremen, LaTeXML has been applied to more
than 400,000 documents in the preprint archive at For more
information, see

Another goal of the DLMF project was to develop a more powerful
mathematical search engine, beyond simple bibliographic queries such
as author, title, and keywords. In collaboration with Abdou Youssef of
George Washington University, NIST undertook a project to provide for
search within the DLMF based on queries that contain math fragments.
Examples are Ai ^ 2+Bi ^ 2, for formulas containing a sum of squares of
Airy functions, int_0 ^ infinity BesselJ, for  infinite integrals with
the J-Bessel function of order zero in the integrand, and int ? ^ ? for
finite or infinite integrals whose integrand contains any variable
raised to any power. As with the LaTeXML processor, the mathematical
search engine has the obvious potential for applications far beyond the
For more information, see

Dan Lozier and Peter Olver



The organizers of the ICM 2010 have produced three posters to
advertise the next International Congress of Mathematicians which
will be held in Hyderabad, India on 19-27 August 2010.
All mathematical institutions in the world are asked to download,
print and post them.
To download the posters:

Information about the ICM 2010 can be found on the ICM 2010 server:


4. 7th PACOM

The 7th Pan African Congress of Mathematicians (PACOM) will be held
from Monday 3rd to Saturday 8th of August 2009 in Yamoussoukro (Côte
d'Ivoire), at the Félix Houphouët Boigny Foundation for Peace
Research, on the theme: New trends in the Development and the
applications of Mathematical Sciences.
For more information, please contact the Secretariat of the Congress:
Prof. Etienne DESQUITH, African mathematical Union (AMU)
Vice-President, West African Region (

We apologize for the recent e-mail that was sent about the African
Congress: this was due to an administrative error.



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last updated: 2012-07-31