WebALT eContent Project

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Research and Development

Mathematical content is one of the corner stones of the information society, for education just as much as for science, technology, or business. Advances by European science in representing mathematics on the web enable content actors to create and deliver quality mathematical content to users across Europe, who need it in their work, studies or at home.

Mathematics is a particularly suitable area for electronic learning. With present day information technology it is possible to create interactive learning tools which themselves know an impressive amount of mathematics. This is to a large extent due to the exact and a priori nature of mathematical knowledge. Many areas of the exact sciences rely heavily on basic mathematical knowledge.

European science and technology, including some of the partners in this proposal, have played a fundamental role in the development of the world wide web, and the same has been true for enabling semantically rich representations of mathematical content on the web. Under the heading of “OpenMath”, the EU has supported the development of both OpenMath and MathML, the current standards for communicating semantically rich mathematics via XML. These standards are now supported by commercial software packages such as Word and PowerPoint together with MathType, and web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Mozilla. Hence MathML and OpenMath are now ready for their prime time.

The focus of this project is on showcasing the immense value of combining existing technologies for the generation and localization of high-quality mathematical content in an application that is geared to a multi-lingual and multi-cultural single market. This, we hope, will convince actors both in the content creation and distribution arena and in the linguistic technologies field to adopt the techniques showcased here in their own publication or localization processes.

Since full translation between different languages is not yet possible, the project will focus on what can be attained from present technology. The difficult part in the translation business consists on extracting the semantics from a given text.
The WebALT projects aims at the other direction: going from semantics to text.
First-year mathematical exercises (i.e, on calculus and linear algebra and excluding word problems) have a very concrete semantics amenable to formal manipulation. The project will use state-of-the-art linguistic software tools to transform this semantics into text in different languages.

© WebALT Consortium, 2004/2005
Last changed: 2007/10/30