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Archive for December, 2009

The story of SAGE

Couldn’t stop reading it. Fascinating. William Stein’s account of the development of SAGE.

To Sage and it’s developers, and a bright, free future for mathematical software ahead!

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‘Twas the night before Finals, and all through the towns
Not a student was drinking, not even an ounce!
The tables in libraries were covered with care
By books of all sizes and looks of despair.
Trying hard, in the night, to recall the semester
A student pored through all the things they would test her.
“There’s too much to study, there’s not enough time!”
She said to herself, at the bell tower’s chime.
The tower struck seven, then eight, nine and ten,
But no one had studied enough even then:
On every face, one could clearly observe
The look of “Those people will skew the grade curve!”
Away in a manger of flashcards and notes
Someone was feasting – no, gorging – on quotes;
And far down the valley in a room full of Asians,
Eng’neers derived partial diff’rential equations.
As midnight drew nearer, so did looks of dismay:
Soon one could say truly, “My test is today!”
Seconds passed quickly, minutes quicker still,
As the dark day of doom nimbly crept up the hill –
Till at last someone broke down, could stand it no more,
And, leaving his table, rushed out his room door.
Hark! What should he hear as he tugged at his hair,
But a chorus of shouts in the cold midnight air,
Sounding forth, in one voice, from insomnaic host
Of most students, at least, and all students, at most,
Declaring to everyone sharing their plight,
“Best wishes to all, and to all a good-night!”

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