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AIC Seminar Series

MathXpert: symbolic computation that is useful for education and logically correct

Michael BeesonSan José State University[Home Page]

Notice:  Hosted by Vinay Chaudhri. Note the non-usual day (Tuesday).

Date:  Tuesday, September 22nd 2009 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228 (SRI E building)  (Directions)


MathXpert is a computer program to help students learn algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, by assisting them to generate correct, step-by-step solutions of problems. This assistance can take several forms, ranging from natural-language hints, to suggesting the next step, to taking the next step, or even actually generating the complete step-by-step solution in "auto mode". The system is able to solve all symbolic problems of the level of difficulty likely to be encountered in standard courses in those subjects. (It cannot do word problems.) MathXpert is based primarily on algorithms that are taught to students, i.e. it does not have high-powered algorithms that do not use student methods. MathXpert is, however, a logically correct system: unlike in Maple and Mathematica, you cannot derive any incorrect results in MathXpert. It accomplishes this design goal by incorporating some theorem-proving algorithms, which (unlike the computations) are used internally, but invisible to the user. MathXpert also draws beautiful graphs of a dozen different kinds. Like the computations, the graphs are mathematically correct, for example, showing singularities without incorrect vertical lines. This is difficult, and not always achievable, but if MathXpert cannot be sure it is drawing the graph correctly, it will warn you that the graph might not be correct. The talk will consist of a demonstration of MathXpert and some discussions of the design issues and the implementation. Bring along your favorite problems. A free beer goes to anyone who can make the program crash, get a wrong answer, or draw an incorrect graph without warning that the graph might be incorrect. For more information see

   Bio for Michael Beeson

Michael Beeson is Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Mathematics at San José State University. His research interests include geometry, constructive mathematics, automated deduction and its applications, mathematical logic, and computer programming. For more information (both personal and scientific) see

   Note for Visitors to SRI

Please arrive at least 10 minutes early as you will need to sign in by following instructions by the lobby phone at Building E (or call Wilma Lenz at 650 859 4904, or Eunice Tseng at 650 859 2799). SRI is located at 333 Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park. Visitors may park in the parking lots off Fourth Street. Detailed directions to SRI, as well as maps, are available from the Visiting AIC web page. There are two entrances to SRI International located on Ravenswood Ave. Please check the Building E entrance signage.

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