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NIST Releases Updated Handbook of Math Functions

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the essential-reference dept.

Math 128

An anonymous reader writes "NIST announced the publishing of the NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions reference text (967 pp), also available in digital form at the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions. Access it with a MathML-enabled browser (Firefox or IE+plugin) to view equations as scalable text rather than bitmaps; the 3-D graphs can also be viewed with a VRML plugin for local rotating / zooming." The original Handbook of Mathematical Functions was published 46 years ago; the revision has been in the works for a decade.

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128 comments

Ob (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206572)

Let the number of the post be defined by a monotonically increasing function f, such that the initial value of f is zero.

Re:Ob (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206648)

Let the number of the post be defined by a monotonically increasing function f, such that the initial value of f is zero.

Corollary 1.1:

Let the rate of posting trolls be defined by the the exponentially decaying 4th degree wave function of T(t), with a maximum frequency of /b/tards approximated inside t[10,60] seconds, with T(t) approaching 0 as t approaches infinity.

Re:Ob (4, Funny)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207668)

f(x) = x satisfies that condition.

Perhaps you meant monotonically decreasing nonnegative function on the nonnegative reals with f(0) = 0, or something to that effect...

As I'm sure you can tell, I'm a big hit at parties.

Re:Ob (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#32212374)

It can't be real, unless you assume that there can be fractions of a post. Actually, no, you'd still be able to use the set of all quotients for that. Since it's starting at 0, you would presumably define it over the set of cardinal numbers. If you'd started at 1, you would use the N+ natural numbers. However, on the basis of this post alone, I would actually advocate defining posts over the set of complex numbers, so as to deal with imaginary components.

Re:Ob (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209648)

That renders as "0th post" in my browser.

How do I submit a bug report?

Or shall I just flame-shame you into fixing it?

Re:Ob (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 3 years ago | (#32212210)

Let the number of the interesting post be defined by the zero function...

Re:Ob (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#32212552)

Actually, you want something like:

Let interesting posts be defined on the set of cardinal numbers such that the number of interesting posts is less than or equal to the total number of posts not allocated to the set of posts defined by trolls, funnies and miscellaneous posts, and where a post is moderated as interesting by that set of users who don't do this to give funny posts karma and who also have an excellent karma and who also have an above-average achievements score and who know something about the subject at have, and where such moderations exceed the total number of any other kind of moderation.

42 (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206586)

That's all you need to know about maths.

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32206642)

You must be from the US.

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32206670)

You must be from the US.

Douglas Adams was English

Re:42 (3, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207028)

That's all you need to know about maths.

You must be from the US.

USians wouldn't say "maths". Our knowledge of math is singular.

Re:42 (-1, Troll)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207226)

USians wouldn't say "maths". Our knowledge of math is singular.
Who are these USians you speak of? Since people from the United States of America are called americans.

Re:42 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207280)

One country doesn't get to claim the whole hemisphere, even if they would like to.

Re:42 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207700)

What hemisphere is named "America"?

Re:42 (2, Insightful)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207736)

Does that mean we get to call our neighbors to the north "Americans"? They usually don't like that, you know.

Re:42 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207298)

Who are these USians you speak of? Since people from the United States of America are called americans.

As are people from Canada, Mexico, Belize, Brazil, and any other American country.

Re:42 (1, Insightful)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207590)

As are people from Canada, Mexico, Belize, Brazil, and any other American country.

Umm no. If you mean a continental context you would say "North American" or "South American".

If you mean citizen of a country you use the appropriate Demonym [wikipedia.org]: Canadian, Mexican, Belizean, Brazilian etc.

US citizens are the only ones called Americans. Citizens of other countries are not.

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207654)

But America isn't a country, so Americans means people living in America, which can be Canada, Mexico, USA, Brazil, etc.

When you say European you're talking about a continent. When you say Asians you're talking about continents and parts of continents.

You guys choose to make your country name an acronym, so get used to the terms USAsians or United States of Americans.

Re:42 (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207802)

Since only shitholes like you use that term, I don't have to get used to it. I may deal with shitholes, but at least they are American shitholes.

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32208054)

Easy grandpa... easy... let me turn up the O2.

Re:42 (1)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208458)

Do you also refer to people from West Virginia as "Virginians" and people from New Mexico and "Mexicans"?

Re:42 (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#32210708)

Do you also refer to people from West Virginia as "Virginians" ...

No, they are West By God Virginians.

... and people from New Mexico and "Mexicans"?

No, they generally get asked about visas and passports, especially now in Arizona.

Re:42 (4, Insightful)

icensnow (932196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208976)

Sigh. The full, legal, proper name of my country is "United States of America," it is the only country with "America" in its name, and we refer to its people as "Americans" by the same construction that we (in English) refer to people from the Federal Republic of Germany as Germans or the Peoples Republic of China as Chinese. This might be one of the oldest stupid arguments on the internet -- it certainly was common on Usenet > 20 years ago.

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32213170)

Latin Americans think of themselves as Americanos, in fact, many Mexicans quite proudly call themselves Norteamericanos. Latin Americans call us Estadounidenses (which one might render in english as United Stateser, or maybe USian).

Re:42 (1)

VisceralLogic (911294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32210824)

But America isn't a country, so Americans means people living in America, which can be Canada, Mexico, USA, Brazil, etc.

When you say European you're talking about a continent. When you say Asians you're talking about continents and parts of continents.

You guys choose to make your country name an acronym, so get used to the terms USAsians or United States of Americans.

Can we still call Mexicans Mexican, or do they have to be EUMians/Estados Unidos Mexicanosians?

What about the Spanish? Do we have to call them REians/Reino de Espanans?

And I suppose we should call Germans Bundesrepublik Deutschlandians?

Do you begin to see how silly this is? America is part of the name of our country, so we call ourselves Americans.

Re:42 (1)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207610)

I've never heard a Canadian, Mexican, Beliz..ian, or Brazilian call themselves an American. In fact, I'm pretty sure they avoid doing so.

Re:42 (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208622)

We do, but only when reffering to people of the whole continent (for instance, "we Americans should follow Europe's example and make an American Union"), which doesn't occur often in day-to-day usage.

Re:42 (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208734)

It is very common to shorten the name of a country that is hideously long. For example, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was commonly called the Soviet Union. People from the Soviet Union were called the Soviets. That all ended a couple decades ago but the point still stands.

So, how better to abbreviate "The United States of America"?

"The"? No. Not very good.
"Of"? Just as bad. Maybe worse.
"United"? Other than the fact that a couple countries have "United" in their name, there's also an airline with the same name.
"America"? Wow. There's a good one. It's in the names of 2 continents but no other country has it in the name. I say we go with that one.

Re:42 (2, Insightful)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208002)

USians are all the really smart asians we have here and claim as our own to help negate the fact that our school system is in the shitter. "Ok we need to take a "random" sample of our standardized tests. Wong ok, Chan good, Jackson we better put that at the bottom of the pile".

Only on Slashdot (2, Funny)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32211024)

I was trying to make a funny, a play on the mathematical term "singular". Instead, I got modded insightful and started a flamewar. Ain't Slashdot wonderful?

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32206920)

Actually I prefer the number 23.

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207596)

Actually I prefer the number 23.

Multiply that by three and then you've got something!

Re:42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32208418)

An erection and a headache?

may be offtopic (3, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206742)

If you are looking for a good math reference I would recommend Mathematical Handbook for Scientists and Engineers by Korns [amazon.com]

Russian translation of it was a must-have for every member of Russian "technicheskaya intelligentsiya".

Re:may be offtopic (1)

silverglade00 (1751552) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207438)

Mathematical Handbook for Scientists and Engineers by Korns

Math Freak on a Leash?

Re:may be offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32209020)

More like trying-to-be-hip calluses on feet.

Re:may be offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32210390)

I actually have this book. It's useful at times, but it is rather dry on explanations. Thus, it tends to speaks less to the mind and more to the sphincter.

Opera MathML support (3, Interesting)

molo (94384) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206748)

Opera has had MathML support since 9.5, but it looks like this page serves up PNGs for equations to Opera unless the user-agent is changed. When the user-agent is changed, MathML is served up, but the rendering is off, with little blank boxes dotted around (see this page for example: http://dlmf.nist.gov/2.7 [nist.gov] ). Anyone else getting similar results?

-molo

Re:Opera MathML support (2, Informative)

hakey (1227664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207130)

You don't need to change user-agent. Take a look at the customization page http://dlmf.nist.gov/help/customize [nist.gov]. I wish all sites had something like that.

Re:Opera MathML support (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208208)

You don't need to change user-agent. Take a look at the customization page http://dlmf.nist.gov/help/customize [nist.gov]. I wish all sites had something like that.

No, all sites should not have something like this. End users should not have to do something special like this to work around the fact that IE doesn't support MathML properly. (IE requires a plugin, and even with the plugin, it doesn't support standard mathml; web authors have to make special IE-only versions of their pages with nonstandard kludges written in.) The best solution is for IE to die. The second best solution is for Opera users to contact the webmaster at nist.gov and ask them to configure their server so it recognizes recent versions of Opera as having mathml, in the same way it recognizes recent versions of Firefox.

Re:Opera MathML support (2)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208078)

Opera has had MathML support since 9.5, but it looks like this page serves up PNGs for equations to Opera unless the user-agent is changed. When the user-agent is changed, MathML is served up, but the rendering is off, with little blank boxes dotted around (see this page for example: http://dlmf.nist.gov/2.7 [nist.gov] ). Anyone else getting similar results?

This is just one of many examples of the pain and suffering caused by MS's failure to implement the MathML standard in IE. Webmasters shouldn't have to special-case browsers like this, but they're forced to, because they can't just afford to have the page not work for IE users. When you have to special-case different browsers and version numbers of browsers, it's inevitable that you'll get problems like this. Every new browser that is every written will not get served mathml by a site like this, until someone finally gets in touch with the webmaster of the site and gets him to add a special case for that browser. The only solution I can think of is to make it a federal crime to use IE.

Re:Opera MathML support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32210132)

The only solution I can think of is to make it a federal crime to use IE.

Lets make it a capital crime. Use IE and get the chair. People will wisen up fairly quickly after the first few nationwide televised mass executions.

VRML! (1)

jambox (1015589) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206750)

I did comp sci at university and they made me make a model of the campus in VRML. This is the first time I've heard of it since!

Re:VRML! (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207036)

Lat time I saw a website with VRML was in 2002. It was a great idea that failed, I don't know why.

Re:VRML! (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207306)

It was created in a time when bandwidth was too expensive and computers too slow. Today computers aren't still fast enough, but something like it may appear again in the near future, and be adopted this time. (Or, if we are luck, people won't be affected by NIH, and use the already existent VRML. But I wouldn't bet on it.)

Re:VRML! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207624)

I wouldn't bet on it either, for the same reason modern games aren't supplied in DOOM WAD files.

Re:VRML! (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209786)

When phones are capable of running it, it might start to catch on again.

Actually, my Nexus One does pretty good with 3D graphics, but the apps are pretty simplified. Having them be fully interactive with most of the information transfer occurring over the data link would bog it down to a small fraction of an FPS.

So the 2-D click-and-wait model still makes the most sense for the machinery that's gaining market share the fastest.

Re:VRML! (1)

burni2 (1643061) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207316)

1.) sluggish plugins
2.) slow rendering / in '97
3.) not widely known

4.) it was a good idea .. do you really expect good ideas to succeed ?

967 pages? (2, Funny)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206786)

That would take forever to actually read through... I guess if you understand most of these functions you don't have to worry about a wife or girlfriend anyway...

Re:967 pages? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209336)

If you understand the math, it shouldn't take more than 8-12 hours total reading time.

If you don't, sure it'd be considerably longer if you wanted to understand it, but 1k printed pages really isn't a lot of reading if you can actually read.

It would be... (1)

bagsta (1562275) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206798)

...more than welcome if they could make an off-line digital DLMF in any of pdf, djvu, odt or any other format...

Has coding for every equation in TeX, pMML, PNG (3, Informative)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206812)

It also has alternative coding for every equation in TeX, pMML [wikipedia.org] (XML wrapped default coding) and PNG

I've had my copy for 40 years (4, Insightful)

richg74 (650636) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207092)

And I have found it to be invaluable reference. It's not a textbook; it assumes you basically know the math, but just need to check the details. One other feature, quite handy for programmers of quantitative applications: it has approximations for many functions (e.g., the cumulative normal density function), with notes on their accuracy and range of applicability.

From my experience... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207390)

It's not a textbook; it assumes you basically know the math

That applies to every math book out there.

Re:From my experience... (4, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209300)

It's not a textbook; it assumes you basically know the math

That applies to every math book out there.

No, there is at least one mathematics book for which the statement does not hold. I don't have a constructive proof for this my claim, though, so I can't give you an example.

Re:From my experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32211716)

Michael Spivak, Calculus, W.A. Benjamin, Inc. New York, Amsterdam 1967 is such a book. The very first sentence from the preface:

Every aspect of this book was influenced by the desire to present calculus not merely as a prelude to but as the first real encounter with mathematics.

Re:From my experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32212426)

It's not a textbook; it assumes you basically know the math

That applies to every math book out there.

Clearly you've never seen this book. [google.com]

"What Is Mathematics?" should be the very first math textbook in any library.

Re:I've had my copy for 40 years (1)

uberdilligaff (988232) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207526)

Me too. Discovered it during a grad course in numerical analysis. With the CRC Handbook in one hand and the HBMF in the other, you had a great deal of summarized practical math at your disposal. Throw in Numerical Recipes in FORTRAN (later released in C) -- icing on the cake.

another reason to encourage people to abandon IE (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207224)

MathML has been around since 1998, which is a heck of a long time by web standards, and yet IE still doesn't support it out of the box. That's why IE users can't view this book properly without a plugin to provide mathml support. Yet another reason to encourage everyone you know to drop IE and get a decent browser. Supporting mathml in IE is also a ridiculous pain in the neck for people creating web pages. Even if you are willing to tell your readers that they can't view your site without the plugin, you still can't write standard xhtml with mathml embedded in it; if you want it to work with the MathPlayer plugin for IE, you have to write all kinds of ugly, nonstandard hacks, and serve up a different version of the page to IE users than to everyone else. The end result of all this is that MathML doesn't get used nearly as much as it should.

For instance, Wikipedia renders bitmaps as equations, using software called texvc. A guy named D.M. Harvey at Harvard wrote software called blahtex that can be used as a drop-in replacement for texvc, rendering math as either MathML or bitmaps as required. There was a long discussion of this on WikiProject Mathematics, and there was a clear consensus that texvc was old, lame technology, and needed to be replaced with blahtex. However, the people who run the software setup for WP never implemented it -- never, apparently, even bothered to give an actual response, just blew it off. The attitude would presumably have been different if the situation with IE had been different. Since most people access WP with IE, those people would still have had to be served a version of the pages with bitmaps. That would have been a hassle in terms of software.

I believe that the current plan is for html 5 to include support for embedded mathml and svg tags (even though html 5 isn't xhtml). It will be interesting to see whether MS supports this aspect of html 5, or just does a partial implementation that omits these features.

Re:another reason to encourage people to abandon I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32208376)

However, the people who run the software setup for WP never implemented it -- never, apparently, even bothered to give an actual response, just blew it off. The attitude would presumably have been different if the situation with IE had been different.

Congratulations, you win the competition to find the biggest "presumably" on Slashdot today :)

Re:another reason to encourage people to abandon I (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209076)

Wikipedia renders bitmaps as equations

That sounds quite difficult. Are the bitmap-derived equations small enough to fit into the margins of the articles?

Re:another reason to encourage people to abandon I (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209294)

They've already committed themselves to SVG support in IE9, though I don't remember anything about MathML it doesn't interest me directly so I may have just ignored/overlooked that bit.

As far as WP implementing it ... does the current software work and fill the needs that need to be filled? If so perhaps they simply did the intelligent thing and didn't try to fix what was working fine.

You'll find a lot of people don't upgrade software just because someone rewrote it.

Re:another reason to encourage people to abandon I (2, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209782)

As far as WP implementing it ... does the current software work and fill the needs that need to be filled? If so perhaps they simply did the intelligent thing and didn't try to fix what was working fine.

The current software renders equations as bitmaps. The bitmaps look lousy. They're less legible than mathml. They look awful when you print them. They're the wrong size compared to the text. People who are visually impaired can use the controls in their browser to enlarge the font in the web page, but that won't enlarge the equations. People who are blind can use text-to-speech on the web page, but it won't read the equations out loud.

I hope you're not saying that it's okay for Microsoft to make math on the web inaccessible to blind people. It's totally messed up that Microsoft can hold back progress in putting math on the web for a decade or more, just because they have the most popular browser and don't feel like implementing the standard in a standard way.

Re:another reason to encourage people to abandon I (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209852)

Seriously?

What proportion of the web-browsing public do you estimate will ever touch a page with a single div of MathML on it?

When it reaches 1/50, Microsoft will probably consider adding support. Then probably forget about it.

Great feat but lost on this generation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207504)

Most people who bother to even skim over the first two pages of this will bookmark it and act like they know something about math.

Pity.

Math PNGs not optimal (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207738)

A great resource, easier to use than a heavy, giant book, and full of beautiful and useful graphs. However: web text with math mixed in as graphics can be done in a way that is pleasant enough to read, but NIST's pictorial mathematics is not optimal: the size of the symbols is not matched very well with the surrounding text and, because of extreme anti-aliasing, the contrast is very low. Since this is this way most users will see this material, it's a shame they didn't do a better job.

Re:Math PNGs not optimal (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208280)

A great resource, easier to use than a heavy, giant book, and full of beautiful and useful graphs. However: web text with math mixed in as graphics can be done in a way that is pleasant enough to read, but NIST's pictorial mathematics is not optimal: the size of the symbols is not matched very well with the surrounding text and, because of extreme anti-aliasing, the contrast is very low. Since this is this way most users will see this material, it's a shame they didn't do a better job.

They did do a better job. You just aren't seeing it because you're using Internet Explorer, which doesn't support MathML. Try viewing the site with a recent version of Firefox, and you'll see all the math rendered correctly.

Re:Math PNGs not optimal (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208666)

I don't use Internet Explorer. I said "Since this is this way most users will see this material [meaning, obviously, as PNG images, because most people can't see MathML) , it's a shame they didn't do a better job [at creating the PNG equations. Duh.]".

I did browse the site using Firefox, and the MathML rendering, while generally easier to read than the PNG version, has the usual problems, namely, poor typography and the occasional unavailable or incorrect character. The latter occurs frequently enough that I wouldn't bother to try to use the MathML version of the site, but would stick with the PNGs, bad as they are.

Re:Math PNGs not optimal (2, Informative)

krull (48492) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209080)

Install the STIX fonts as they suggest. I did and now the equations all render in MathML just fine and look pretty good...

http://www.stixfonts.org/ [stixfonts.org]

Re:Math PNGs not optimal (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209638)

Install the STIX fonts as they suggest.

As they suggest where? I looked around at the stix site, but it seems that I'll have to spend more time there to actually find out how to download the fonts. I saw a sugestion that I need to register as a beta tester to use them. Is this true?

Re:Math PNGs not optimal (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32210022)

I browsed it using Firefox, and it bitched about having to load certain fonts, and then rendered several glyphs as black rectangles.

Fuzzy PNGs would have been an improvement.

Useless. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208236)

If you don’t know what they mean, you could as well be an automaton applying them.
And if you do, you don’t need them anyway, as you grasp the concept behind it, and can build your formulas yourself.

But hey, the automatons that leave school, having been though “math” as something where you are obsessed with “the right way”(TM) to write it, and learnin everything by heart without ever understanding it, is gonna love it...

Re:Useless. (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209668)

Yes, you can derive all of mathematics from a fairly small set of axioms every time you want to do something. The point of having a reference handy is that you don't have to. You see, in the modern world we have this thing called a "body of knowledge," the idea being that smart people can do new work which builds on the previous work of other smart people. It's been quite a successful approach so far; perhaps you should give it a try?

Question for mathematicians (3, Interesting)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208364)

Roughly how long would it take to implement the entire NIST library as functions in C++ just using the standard C math library (abs, acos . . .tan, tanh)?

Re:Question for mathematicians (1)

AlejoHausner (1047558) | more than 3 years ago | (#32208916)

The NIST code is mostly in fortran, but what's so bad about fortran? It's well suited to numerical computation, pretty easy to learn, and there's always f2c, which will turn fortran into C.

Re:Question for mathematicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32208918)

A really long time--most of these functions were defined/invented because combining the standard trig/exponential/etc. functions were not sufficient.

Re:Question for mathematicians (1)

krull (48492) | more than 3 years ago | (#32209158)

Keep in mind the reference is not just function definitions. The main content is actually approximations to functions (asymptotic, series, and polynomial) and various formulas involving relationships between functions.

Yuo Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32208920)

the 4roject iS in

967 pages of mirth (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32210204)

I finally got around to reading the NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions.

Turns out the Zeta function did it.

Copyrighted unlike the original (1)

Taxman415a (863020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32210640)

The submitter could have benefitted everyone and noted that this is the long awaited version of the original that was known as the Abramowitz_and_Stegun [wikipedia.org] because it was so useful in certain areas. Because it was printed as a government publication it was automatically in the public domain. This new version [wikipedia.org] was wholly created and printed through NIST so it is under copyright. That's an unfortunate side stepping of our rights as citizens. It was created with public money, it should be public domain.

Re:Copyrighted unlike the original (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32211094)

That's an unfortunate side stepping of our rights as citizens.

What rights are these, and where do they come from? They are not legal rights, of course, as the assignment of copyright was done according to the law.

It was created with public money, it should be public domain.

Does not follow. Should all the government's classified information be made public domain immediately because it was created with public money? Should members of the public be able to reproduce without attribution my scientific papers because the research was supported by tax dollars? I hope not. (This is what "public domain" means: far more than free access.) The online version of the handbook is free and provided in a convenient form. What would we gain if it were placed in the "public domain"?

Epic Fail (3, Interesting)

whitis (310873) | more than 3 years ago | (#32211898)

I have been waiting for this to come out for a while but I see a number of reasons for disappointment.

First, a big part of the reason for having a library of mathematical functions compiled by a government agency is to have a public domain source that can be reused for any purpose in any field of endeavor. They screwed that up royally: "© 2010 NIST". Commerfcial use is specifically prohibited. Ironic considering that NIST is part of the US Department of Commerce. And since comercial use is prohibited, it can't be used in software distributed under a permissive license which allows commercial use.

Second, they call it a "digital library" but it isn't. It is more or less a book in html by chapters. They used MathML instead of OpenMATH. MathML is too presentational and not sufficiently semantic. You should be able to configure OpenMATH or MathML or PNG produced from the OpenMath and you should be able to download OpenMath content dictionaries.

It is still useful as a free-for-viewing-only ebook, but that is only a tiny fraction of what it should have been. Tax payers got gyped. We paid perhaps 90% of the cost for 20% of the result, and the copyright even interferes with someone else finishing the job.

Re:Epic Fail (3, Interesting)

belmolis (702863) | more than 3 years ago | (#32212900)

I am wondering what the legal basis for the restriction on commercial use might be. US government publications are in the public domain - there is no crown copyright at the federal level in the US. So the only situation in which they can legitimately impose restrictions is when they are reproducing material whose copyright is owned by others.

Re:Epic Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32212910)

You keep using words that I don't think you quite grasp the true meaning of. And special fail for bringing up OpenMATH.

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