Take the fact that this Interim Report comes jointly from two of us
from Aachen and St Andrews as an indication that cooperating in the
preparation of the move of GAP headquarters from Aachen to St Andrews
is working well.
In fact a formal agreement about that move has been set up and signed
by Joachim Neubueser as Chairman of Lehrstuhl D fuer Mathematik, RWTH
Aachen and Michael Atkinson as Head of the School of Mathematical and
Computational Sciences of the University of St Andrews. In this it is
specified that the responsibility and copyright for GAP will be
tranfereed to St. Andrews early next Summer and in particular that
GAP will further on be available free of charge and with full source
as detailed in the present copyright.
1. The GAP WWW pages. =====================
The first message of this Interim Report is that the GAP WWW pages,
parts of which have been created in either of the two places, will now
be administered from St Andrews. They will be automatically mirrored
to four different sites:
http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~gap (for UK)
http://www.ccs.neu.edu/Cobwebs/GAP (for US)
as well as a further mirror at ANU, Canberra of which the details
remain to be confirmed
As you will see, the first WWW page now points to various pieces of
information about GAP, in particular to:
'an introduction to GAP'
allows you to read the GAP Announcement
'the GAP manual' can be read. Note however that this is not the most recent version at present. As told in the GAP forum some time ago Martin Schoenert's program for the conversion of the TeX file for the manual to html format got lost in a disc crash. It will soon be re-created in St Andrews. 'the GAP distribution' gives pointers to the files containing the GAP distribution. 'recent bug fixes' is a very important new page since it summarizes all the bug fixes after the last update that have been sent to the GAP forum.
'about GAP programming conventions'
is still a place holder and should be read as indicating
the intention of Steve Linton to provide such advice.
'the GAP forum' gives access to all letters sent to the GAP forum, which can be read in chronological order, or selecting the author, or making selections by the subject line.
'Gap related events' and 'other related things'
will change frequently. At present you find for instance
the announcement of the workshops of the European Summer
of Computational Group theory 1997 there, as well as
pointers to previous Interim Reports.
'GAP share packages',
'GAP deposited contributions', and
'GAP bibliography and how to cite GAP'
point to pages emphazising that working at the development of GAP as
well as using it are activities within the mathematical community that
should be acknowledged as such. This intention is also the topic of
the second part of this Interim Report.
2. Contributions to GAP. ========================
>From the start of GAP it has been the intention to keep some record of
who contributed what to GAP, even though with an ever changing and
developing program system any such attempt is bound to be far from
- The names of the main contributors to the program library appear in
the GAP banner, some more information is found in the heads and the
'history' of the files with the GAP code.
- The manual has a list of authors.
- For the share packages author names are given in the respective
section of the manual.
- The origins of the data libraries are described in the manual; for
the large library of character tables, which has been put together
from many sources, the record entry 'text' gives information for
- From time to time we have listed in the Forum the contributions
deposited by various colleagues in the directory
As announced in an Interim Report of December 27, 1995 (which you can
now also read from the WWW pages), beginning with this year we have
started a refereeing system for major contributions to GAP, an
enterprise for which we could not fall back to experience made
elsewhere. We have now decided to use the new WWW pages mentioned
above to provide something like an index to a periodical.
- The WWW page 'GAP contributions' explains the various ways
contributions can be made.
- The page 'GAP share packages' gives the name and a very short
indication of the functionality of the package as well as the name of
the author. Number 15, the 'Specht' package of Andrew Mathas, is the
first that has undergone the new refereeing process, and with it and
the ones to follow, also the responsible editor is named in the form
'communicated by ...' which follows frequent usage in periodicals.
- The page 'GAP authors' lists the main contributors to the kernel and
main library of functions. Eventually also here individual
contributions may be distinguished and editors for these named.
- 'GAP deposited contributions' contains a selection of functions from
the 'incoming' directory, that have been made available by some GAP
users to the whole GAP community. These are not and will not be
refereed, however authorship is given in the same form as with the
share packages. This collection may thus be considered as something
like a preprint server for programs.
- 'GAP bibliography' lists papers that mention use of GAP. They are
sorted into two sections, one with papers in final form,
i.e. publications in journals and procedings, theses etc, the other
papers in preliminary form.
We suggest that you make such papers also available electronically and
send Steve Linton the address from which they can be read. These
addresses can then also be put into the bibliography.
- 'How to cite GAP' gives various formats for citing GAP in papers
reporting on use of GAP in research or teaching.
*** We want to encourage and ask all users of GAP to send us relevant
*** material for distribution with GAP and/or inclusion into one of
*** these pages and the corresponding files. If needed, please contact
*** us or a member of the GAP Council or write to
*** firstname.lastname@example.org for closer advice how to proceed in the
*** different cases.
We also like to say a few words about our very first experience with
the refereeing process, which is presently under way with a few more
We have realized that the necessity of cooperation of the GAP team
with the authors of contributions is much higher than typically
between the editor of a periodical and an author of a paper. Unlike
writing papers, in which subject plenty of advice is available in any
department, advice on programming, let alone GAP programming, may very
well not be available locally. This may concern package design, GAP
conventions, tips and tricks to obtain efficient GAP programs, or
simply the knowledge of what is already available in GAP - we often
enough are able to point to a rather hidden GAP function which does
just what a user or prospective author needs.
On the other hand, such advice need not be provided by the same
people, or as part of the same formal process as the final
refereeing/validation process. We therefore encourage people to get
in touch with us early in the design of GAP packages, and we will
attempt to line up "mentors" to help them. Since these would not
(necessarily) be referees, there would be no issue of anonymity, which
would simplify matters.
This is essentially the system that has operated at Aachen for years,
where visitors, (or, more rarely, correspondents) would be assigned to
the care of one of the students or staff at Lehrstuhl D, but now
operating in a distributed fashion. We also intend to provide more
written advice on such matters. Of course writing such will take its
time, but e.g. the above-mentioned WWW entry 'About GAP programming
conventions' is to provide part of such advice.
Hoping that you find some of this useful and wishing you fun and
success using GAP,
Steve Linton and Joachim Neubueser