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EU open source software project launches

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An open source software project to extend the capacity of computational mathematics and interactive computing environments has received more than 7 million euros in EU funding. The project, dubbed ‘OpenDreamKit’, involves the University of St Andrews, which has been awarded 900,000 euros to fund part of the international project led by the Université Paris Sud.

The project will develop software for mathematical tools (such as GAP and SageMath) which can be used by researchers to run computer models and crunch vast quantities of data, using computers to manipulate and solve equations. The resulting code, together with associated data and research publications, will be made available for free on the Internet as open source software that other researchers can use.

The software underpins many research projects, ranging from physics and gravity simulation, to engineering, materials research and pure mathematics.

The funds will also support the development of virtual computing environment tools (such as the IPython Notebook) that create interactive documents able to solve equations using computer code, and process and visualise the resulting data.

This work flow aims to revolutionise the ability to reproduce a computational experiment and document research data exploration. It allows the computation and results to be shared in the ‘notebook’ with collaborators and is expected to penetrate all aspects of computational science over time.

OpenDreamKit is a 7.6 million euro project funded by the European Union’s Framework 2020 programme. The four-year project brings together 15 academic and industry partners from France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The UK-based Universities of St Andrews, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and Warwick will share in 2.2 million euros to fund their contribution to the project.

‘The project’s aims and approaches link closely to ongoing work at St Andrews on the GAP system for computational abstract algebra and the recently launched CoDiMa project, which brings together UK work on software for discrete mathematics,’ commented Professor Steve Linton, principle investigator at St Andrews. ‘This will be a great opportunity to link our existing tools with other free mathematical software to deliver a first-class integrated environment for mathematical research.’