> < ^ Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 16:35:25 +0100
> < ^ From: Joachim Neubueser <joachim.neubueser@math.rwth-aachen.de >
^ Subject: gap in teaching

Daer Dr. Moreno,

Thanks for your message to the forum which I will also answer in the
forum because we are asked similar questions through different
channels more often.

I am new here, hello to all.
First question: is there a FAQ somewhere?

I am afraid the answer is no, although for some time there has been
the intention to start something of the kind. Maybe the St Andrews
team which will take over responsibility for GAP this Summer will be
able to provide such. If you look at the WWW pages for GAP


you will see that at least some steps have been taken to make GAP
relevant information more easily available, in particular you can
search through the correspondence in the GAP forum (up to September
last year)

If not, does anybody know about some material which could help me
in a course of elementary group theory? In fact, as I am
completely new to GAP, anything with practical examples would be
welcome. (Yes, I have got the manual, but as it is 1227 pages
long the reading is slow.)

We have collected exercises from various courses and workshops and you
can get this material through ftp:


However this material has not been ordered or brought into a common
format, in fact not even been controlled recently, if it still matches
the latest version of GAP. So at best this can give you some hints.

Of course the path to hell is paved with good intentions: I have a
couple of students at present who will become math teachers and for
their thesis (Staatsexamensarbeit) are working out a set of excercises
with solutions that could accompany certain parts of a group theory
course. At present there is only a draft *in German*. If you or
somebody else is strongly interested (s)he can get part of it as a
pre-alpha release, i.e. more with our hope that we might get good
suggestions than with any promise. If and when this material may
become publicly available in English, I do not want to make promises.

As said, the question of using GAP in teaching has come up in the GAP
forum before, and I have compiled some of that correspondance in a
file, I will send you a copy of that file.

It seems to me GAP could be a good help for students to better
understand and manipulate groups. Has any of you got any
experience on this?

I do agree and in fact we are using it for this purpose alongside
various courses on group theory, representation theory and more
generally algebra (the share package GUAVA has been used with course
on coding theory, I believe, although with this I have no experience
myself), but in a very much ad hoc fashion. That is, we give our
students a brief introduction to GAP, recommend that they work through
some initial segment of the first chapter of the GAP manual 'About
GAP' (which in fact has been written with the intention to allow
to get some aquaintance without reading all the 1200+ pages of the
manual), and then with each exercise they get a few hints which GAP
functions might be helpful. It is left to them to read in the manual
the description of those specific functions.

Sorry for not being able to offer better organised files,
unfortunately to prepare such takes time. Hope that the hints are
nevertheless useful.

with kind regards Joachim Neubueser

Prof. J. Neubueser
Lehrstuhl D fuer Mathematik
RWTH Aachen
Templergraben 64
D 52062 Aachen 

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