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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K040251/2
Title: MathSoMac: the social machine of mathematics
Principal Investigator: Martin, Professor UH
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
D-RisQ Ltd Department of Energy and Climate Change IBM
Institute of Mathematics and its Applica Jacobs University Bremen Lemma 1
London Mathematical Society Microsoft Monoidics Ltd
Smith Institute Stanford University Technology Dev Group BioDundee
Western University (Ontario)
Department: Computer Science
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 February 2014 Ends: 30 June 2018 Value (£): 1,146,391
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Mathematics is a profound intellectual achievement with impact on all aspects of business and society.

For centuries, the highest level of mathematics has been seen as an isolated creative activity, to produce a proof for review and acceptance by research peers. Mathematics is now at a remarkable inflexion point, with new technology radically extending the power and limits of individuals. "Crowdsourcing" pulls together diverse experts to solve problems; symbolic computation tackles huge routine calculations; and computers check proofs that are just too long and complicated for any human to comprehend, using programs designed to verify hardware.

Yet these techniques are currently used in stand-alone fashion, lacking integration with each other or with human creativity or fallibility.

Social machines are new paradigm, identified by Berners-Lee, for viewing a combination of people and computers as a single problem-solving entity. Our long-term vision is to change mathematics, transforming the reach, pace, and impact of mathematics research, through creating a mathematics social machine: a combination of people, computers, and archives to create and apply mathematics.

Thus, for example, an industry researcher wanting to design a network with specific properties could quickly access diverse research skills and research; explore hypotheses; discuss possible solutions; obtain surety of correctness to a desired level; and create new mathematics that individual effort might never imagine or verify. Seamlessly integrated "under the hood" might be a mixture of diverse people and machines, formal and informal approaches, old and new mathematics, experiment and proof.

The obstacles to realising the vision are that

(i) We do not have a high level understanding of the production of mathematics by people and machines, integrating the current diverse research approaches

(ii) There is no shared view among the diverse re- search and user communities of what is and might be possible or desirable

The outcome of the fellowship will be a new vision of a mathematics social machine, transforming the reach, pace and impact of mathematics. It will deliver: analysis and experiment to understand current and future production of mathematics as a social machine; designs and prototypes; ownership among academic and industry stakeholders; a roadmap for delivery of the next generation of social machines; and an international team ready to make it a reality.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk