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Does Sage "Show Its Work"?

asked 2013-12-17 15:07:51 +0100

anonymous user


updated 2015-01-13 21:57:57 +0100

FrédéricC gravatar image

Does Sage "Show Its Work"? This seems like a very simple question but am unable to find a definitive answer. If Sage simply evaluates to an answer and doesn't show its work to arrive at this a student would not really learn anything from this.

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answered 2013-12-17 17:15:50 +0100

Luca gravatar image

Sage is open source. A student, or anyone else, can learn how sage computes the answers by reading the source code.

This can even be done interactively, by using the ?? magic. Say you want to learn how the Sylvester matrix of two polynomials is computed. After creating a polynomial object

sage: R.<x> = QQ[]

(x in this case) you can read the source code of sylvester_matrix() like this

sage: x.sylvester_matrix??

Admittedly, this will rarely give you a crystal clear explanation of the algorithm, as most of the time the work is done elsewhere (for example in some C library).

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I think the questioner is asking "Can I see the steps whereby sage arrived at this answer?" This is not very well-defined, but in some cases, "showing steps" would be a useful feature.

Saul Schleimer gravatar imageSaul Schleimer ( 2013-12-17 17:53:58 +0100 )edit

For example, Wolfram Alpha can do something like this - see I'll note that the one time I tried to use this feature, WA fell over. :)

Saul Schleimer gravatar imageSaul Schleimer ( 2013-12-17 17:56:53 +0100 )edit

Thank you for the reply Luca but Saul summed it up better than I could. A feature that would show the steps would be invaluable. Just evaluating the answer doesn't really help if your trying to help your children do homework.

K.C. gravatar imageK.C. ( 2013-12-18 08:50:39 +0100 )edit

answered 2013-12-18 12:35:36 +0100

Saul Schleimer gravatar image

I think that has the answer to your question, which unfortunately is "no". You should consider asking the sage developers this question.

Note that there are various sites on-line that offer homework help. The first that springs to mind is which states "Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level".

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Asked: 2013-12-17 15:07:51 +0100

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Last updated: Dec 18 '13