Mathematics rediscovers the scientific method
In open source software
IN AN OPINION published by the American Mathematical Society, David Joyner and William Stein argue that the use of closed, proprietary mathematical software is fundamentally incompatible with the standards of mathematical proof.
They note that at least one published article on mathematical theory has relied upon the use of proprietary software to deduce various mathematical facts. They see a disconnect in this practice for the checkability of mathematical reasonings, up to and including the proofs of new mathematical theorems. They write:
"Increasingly, proprietary software and the algorithms used are an essential part of mathematical proofs. To quote J. Neubüser, 'with this situation two of the most basic rules of conduct in mathematics are violated: In mathematics information is passed on free of charge and everything is laid open for checking.'"
It's somewhat astonishing to contemplate that mathematicians even got so lazy as to trust the inner workings of closed software algorithms, but perhaps all it proves is that they're human too, after all. µ