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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Next major GAP release: GAP 4.10.0

The next major release of GAP 4.10.0 has been announced on 12 November 2018. Its complete overview with links to the GAP documentation and pull requests can be found here. Alternative distributions – Gap.app for macOS and GAP Docker container have been updated too.

You can check the status of standard tests of GAP packages from GAP 4.10.0 release on Travis CI. Out of 140 packages, redistributed with this GAP release, 103 now provide such a test, and for 97 of these packages their tests pass cleanly. To compare, in GAP 4.7.9 (November 2015), only 56 packages had standard tests. But not only more tests were added over three years, but also their code coverage improved, as you can see by exploring code coverage for GAP packages at Codecov. This is a result of collaboration of many GAP developers and package authors, helper by keeping many package repositories on GitHub (see ) and providing tools for package authors to automate testing and publishing releases, and keep a regular release cycle. In particular, in GAP 4.10.0 distribution, 103 packages have been updated in 2018, another 20 – in 2017, and 6 more in 2016. On the other hand, there are 2 packages dated 2011, 2 – 2012, 5 – 2013, 1 – 2014 and 1 – 2015, but no packages from 2000s any more!

GAP 4.10.0 contains the new release of the JupyterKernel package by Markus Pfeiffer which allows to use GAP in a Jupyter notebook. This development has been supported by the project. You can try to use it remotely on Binder or install it locally as explained in its manual.

One of the new packages from GAP 4.10.0, based on the Jupyter kernel for GAP, is francy by Manuel Martins, which provides an interface to draw graphics using objects.

Another package is JupyterViz by Nathan Carter. It adds visualisation tools including standard line and bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots, and graphs (i.e. vertices & edges). Both packages also offer an opportunity to explore them on Binder (click on “launch on Binder” badges in their README files on GitHub).

Remarkably, there was no beta release this time. The new GAP 4.10.0 release is a proper official GAP release. With publicly available repositories for GAP and the majority of packages, and with the improved testing setup, the need in a preliminary beta release simply disappears. The GAP testing dashboard shows how code coverage (collected at Codecov with the help of the profiling package by Chris Jefferson) improved over releases.

The GAP testing dashboard also contains badges for Travis CI builds which test GAP packages. We test released and development versions of packages with released and development versions of GAP in various settings.

Other tools to support package authors are:

  • PackageMaker – a GAP package that makes it easy and convenient to create new GAP packages
  • Example package – an example of how to create a GAP package
  • ReleaseTools –  a script which automates the process of making a new release for a GAP package hosted on GitHub.
  • GitHubPagesForGAP – a template for setting up a website for a GAP package hosted on GitHub.
  • Docker containers for GAP – https://hub.docker.com/r/gapsystem/


Carnival of Mathematics #161

Welcome to the 161th Carnival of Mathematics. This is a monthly digest of selected mathematical blogs, hosted each month on a different site. The 1st Carnival has been published in February 2007, so this tradition already continues for more than 11 years.

Following the Carnival’s tradition, first we collect some interesting facts about 161 = 7 x 23. First, it is an generalised octagonal number, and hence 3*161+1 is a perfect square. Next, it is also a greengrocer’s number. Finally, it is the number of isomorphism classes of groups of order 3080.

Which of these facts you would find most interesting? What is your favourite mathematical fact? Evelyn Lamb interviewed two mathematicians about their favourite theorems for her Roots of Unity blog. Holly Krieger chose the Brouwer fixed-point theorem, and Vidit Nanda – the Banach’s fixed-point theorem.

Other blog writers turned to mathematical facts that are not intuitively clear. For example, Elias Wirth used graph theory to describe the phenomenon called the Friendship Paradox: on average, most individual’s friends have more friends than the individual themselves. His blog, called Math Section, is dedicated to applications of mathematic in everyday life, and the friendship paradox is a perfect fit. In particular, the article refers to a study which applies this paradox to better predict outbreaks of contagious diseases.

While the friendship paradox’s explanation is accepted, that’s not yet the case for the proof of the abc conjecture, one of the central modern problems in number theory. You can read about the latest developments in the article by Erica Klarreich called “Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture” and in the post by Rachel Crowell called “Musings on a mathematicians duties“, placing the problem in the wider context of research ethics.

Chistina Heimken from the University of Münster interviewed her colleague Raimar Wulkenhaar who, together with Erik Panzer (Oxford) solved an equation from elementary particle physics, previously considered to be unsolvable. The interview reflects on 10 year long attempt to find a solution, and gives an interesting insight into the process of mathematical research.

But mathematical research is inseparable from learning and teaching mathematics. How we combine building theories and solving problems when we teach mathematics?Joshua Bowman looks at this from the philosophical viewpoint in “Dialectics of Mathematics“.

Continuing teaching theme, look also at “An Introduction to Newton’s Method” by Ari Rubinsztejn for geometric explanations and a visualisation of the algorithm.

John D. Cook‘s new post “Pi primes” was inspired by another blog post by Evelyn Lamb in which she had mentioned that 314159 is a prime number. Can we find another prime number formed by the initial digits of π? There must be an OEIS sequence for that! In his another recent post on statistics called “Six sigma events” John discusses the rarity of six-sigma events and concludes that they are much more common than the name implies.

Finally, Q is for QUESTION: especially for this issue of the Carnival, Peter Cameron wrote a blog post called “Q is for quantum?” about several standard uses of the letter q in mathematics.

Thank you to everyone who made contributions to the 161th Carnival! The next 162th Carnival of Mathematics is hosted by the team at the Chalkdust Magazine. Please see the main Carnival website for further details and the form to submit blog posts to the new Carnival.