[Maxima] square root expression simplification
l.butler at ed.ac.uk
Mon Nov 1 03:15:49 CDT 2010
I'd like to suggest an alternative, which I do so in the blissful
ignorance of the simplifier. I'd like to suggest that instead of
butting heads over which is the right way to do simplification, we
improve the configurability and/or modularity of the simplifier,
so that the user can choose the right simplification policy.
What I have in mind includes:
1. assemble several 'standard' or useful configurations of the
simplifier and create a single function that lets the user
select configurations, or create new ones.
2. add health warnings in the documentation to clarify what is
meant by simplification.
I tend to think that simplification is more a question of implementing
a *policy* as opposed to getting a mathematically correct answer.
What I mean is that most users, most of the time, want Maxima's
simplifier to do what they would do (e.g. sqrt(4) -> 2), and they
tend to get upset when this doesn't happen -- even when they know
better and know it is 'wrong'. So we should have a simplifier policy
('high_school_algebra') that implements this. But it would be
wrong to commit the Maxima simplifier to this policy in the large.
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