Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2014


Interview with Arvind Raj
An Introduction to Sage

Arvind Raj will give a talk about An Introduction to Sage at FOSDEM 2014.
Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m a first year CS grad student at Amrita University, India. I’m an avid fan of Python and interested in computer security.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

I’m hoping to introduce Sage, a mathematics software system, and the power that it brings to a user. Sage provides a single interface to many well know Python libraries and thus is very easy for anyone to learn quickly.

I believe that mathematics has amazing potential and applications in many fields today. Unfortunately, most students develop the skill of solving mathematical equations (which I don’t think are very hard) and not how problems can be modelled using mathematics. Computer science is one field where I’ve seen the power that mathematics provides, especially in the field of computer networks and cryptography. My wish is that mathematics courses focus more on aspects such as mathematical modelling and use tools like Sage to perform the computations involved.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

I hope to convey the fact that Sage is a very easy yet powerful mathematics software package.

Q: What are in your opinion the most exciting and unique features of Sage compared with other mathematical software projects?

Actually, I’ve not used any other mathematics software primarily because Sage is a unified interface to many Python libraries and can also work with other Python libraries. I participate in CTF style computer security competitions and have written scripts to solve cryptography challenges using Sage. The IPython interface, notebook mode and LaTeX integration are other great features.

Q: How can interested people help the Sage project?

A big task would be packaging Sage for various Linux distros. Currently only a PPA for Ubuntu exists in which a lot of the packages probably available in the repositories are still installed with Sage thus wasting a lot of space. Proper packaging of Sage would definitely go a long way in helping Sage! There is progress being made for Debian and Fedora but more distros could be covered. I’d recommend everyone to check out the Sage developer documentation for more information on development opportunities.

Q: Could you tell us something about The Sagemath Cloud?

The Sagemath Cloud is the next step of The Sage Notebook: complete with LaTeX support, a Unix terminal and Notebook’s best features. It is being used in UCLA’s calculus class and it’s definitely going to be interesting to see how it will change mathematics teaching in coming years.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

This is the first time I’m attending FOSDEM and I’m really excited to see what’s in store at FOSDEM. The developer rooms are something I’m looking forward to since their announcement. I’m eagerly awaiting the announcement of other talks in the main track and the lightning talks as well as some awesome hacking over the two days.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.