FAQ

Is MATH 42 a true “Computer Algebra System” (CAS)?

For whom is MATH 42 ideal?

Can MATH 42 also be used in college?

Who developed MATH 42?

How many people are working on the MATH 42 project?

What future features can one look forward to?

Is MATH 42 accessible online?

Is MATH 42 available for Android?

What languages are supported by MATH 42?

Is MATH 42 a true “Computer Algebra System” (CAS)?

How is SMATH different from Wolfram Alpha and other math apps?

How does one solve a problem?

What strategies does MATH 42 use to solve a math problem?

How does the MATH 42 rules engine work?

Does MATH 42 use any Open Source frameworks?

How does MATH 42 internely display expressions?

What is the difference between re-writing and calculating?

What is MATH 42?

MATH 42 is a symbolic “Computer Algebra System” (CAS) that is designed for students in middle and high school. The core of the MATH 42 program is the MATH 42 rule engine, which is responsible for the solution suggestions and the step-by-step break down of the math problems that are inputted. The rules engine is based on the newest results of artificial intelligence research and the ideas behind the chess program Mephisto III.

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Is MATH 42 a true “Computer Algebra System” (CAS)?

MATH 42 is one of the few true Computer Algebra Systems. It is worth noting, that MATH 42 is not derived from any open source software, but was developed and produced completely independently. MATH 42 also sets itself apart from the rest in that it doesn’t rely on template based mathematics. In contrast, MATH 42 has an engine that can deal unhindered with arbitrary mathematical terms, for instance the division of polynomials. Also of note is that MATH 42 is not constricted by erratic boundaries such as the degree of said polynomial.

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For whom is MATH 42 ideal?

MATH 42 was designed for students of middle and high school, as well as their parents. MATH 42 targets three main groups of students:

  • Those that need critical math tutoring (people that just need to pass)
  • Those that are “okay” in math, but require some assistance (people that want to improve)
  • Those for whom math is a passion (people that can appreciate the beauty of mathematics)

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Can MATH 42 also be used in college?

There’d be nothing wrong with that, the step-by-step calculator or the intelligent graphing features are a big help. Concerning the mathematics, there is however a big difference between more comprehensive CASs that deal primarily with the didactics and steps, and solution-oriented systems.

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Who developed MATH 42?

MATH 42 is completely based on the ideas of the core development team: Maxim, Oxana, Raphael and Thomas Nitsche.

All core software components were developed independently, with no open source components used:

  • The data structure: No open source frameworks or concepts (for instance data structures from MathML) were used
  • Formula typesetting: no elements from LaTeX etc. were used
  • The MATH 42 Rules Engine is based on the experience with Mephisto III
  • The MATH 42 Step System
  • The MATH 42 Recommendation System
  • Plot algorithm that takes e.g. function curvature into account
  • Automatic creation of multiple choice tests based on the MATH 42 rules engine and the MATH 42 proposal system.

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How many people are working on the MATH 42 project?

Working on the mathematics and user interface is a team of 3 – 5 programmers. In addition 2 – 3 native speakers are engaged in localization of the app.

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What future features can one look forward to?

The MATH 42 team plans to add:

  • Integration of Functions
  • Vector and Matrix Capabilities
  • Interactive Geometry

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Is MATH 42 accessible online?

No, partially because JavaScript would not be sufficient for MATH 42 and also because a web based service would only be available with an internet connection, like Wolfram Alpha.

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Is MATH 42 available for Android?

Not at the moment, as the iPad dominates the school market. If there was enough demand for an Android version we would strive to create one.

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What languages are supported by MATH 42?

Supported languages include German, English, and French. Further languages are planned depending on demand.

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How is MATH 42 different from Wolfram Alpha and other math apps?

  • Wolfram Alpha is only available with an internet connection, which can be a problem for students in class or in the school bus.
  • No other system than MATH 42 has an integrated suggestion function, that actively aids the user in solving the given problem while providing effective explanations.
  • Even if another system includes intermediate steps, they are often rudimentary or poorly explained.

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How does one solve a problem?

  • Simply enter an expression
  • click the MATH 42 suggestion that represents what you are trying to do
  • That’s it

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What strategies does MATH 42 use to solve a math problem?

We can tell you this much, by the generation of solutions three things play a role:

  • The solutions should be grounded in mathematical “common sense.”
  • The solution should be as short as possible.
  • Everything should consider didactics.

For example, MATH 42 calculates internally with fractions and not initially with exponential expressions, even if these would be faster and better from a theoretical standpoint. This method would however be taxing for students and require them to get accustomed to it.

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How does the MATH 42 rules engine work?

MATH 42 does not use templates, rather a true CAS. Contrary to most apps with limited performance capability, MATH 42 solves each expression completely new each time, taking into consideration the inputed mathematical operations.

The core of MATH 42 is its rules engine, in which all singular mathematical rules are clearly laid out. In addition, the engine knows when a certain rule should be applied.

For example, the internal rule “Addition of Fractions” is aware that the context of “simplifying terms” is different from “solving an equation of the second degree.” The rule will therefore, if possible, always be applied by simplification, however when solving equations only if fractions (that don’t contain unknowns) are capable of being added.

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Does MATH 42 use any Open Source frameworks?

No. All software for MATH 42 was developed independently, which leads to a higher internal stability. Frameworks like the XML-Format from MathML were not used.

We prefer to develop all of our components independently, as this raises the internal stability of the finished product.

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How does MATH 42 internely display expressions?

MATH 42 displays all formulas, equations, systems of formulas, definitions and solutions in an organized structure. In this system, the most important unit is a “term.” Each term is either:

  • Primitive (numbers, variables, constants)
  • Composed of multiplue sub-expressions (equation systems, sums, producst).

Special functions (roots, sines, logarithms) have exactly one term as their argument. Each term has attributes that control various functions. The following categoriesbelong to this type:

  • Signs and included variables
  • Displaying of terms (Parentheses, etc.)
  • Other mathematical options (Solving equations for x, prome factorizations, etc.)

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What is the difference between re-writing and calculating?

Re-writing an equation makes it easier to understand, but does not change the value of the equation. By calculating (for instance deriving or finding the zeros), the value of the equation is changed, often to find a particular unknown.

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