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For Immediate Release

Design Science Awarded NSF Grant for Enhancing Searching for Mathematics

Spring 2004 Workshop Scheduled to Develop Requirements

LONG BEACH, California — December 1, 2003 — Design Science today announced it will lead a project aimed at enhancing search technology for science, technical and medical (STM) documents. The kick-off event will be a workshop scheduled for April 2004, bringing together researchers and managers of STM document collections from academia and industry. The workshop and project are funded in part by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to Design Science through the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) program.

The ultimate goal of the project is to facilitate searching for mathematical formulas and notations in scientific literature, the same way one can now do full-text keyword searches. "With better searching, researchers in one area have a much better chance of discovering connections with other seemingly unrelated fields. For example, one can imagine a heart researcher might find the same equations describing cardiac electrical signals turning up in the work of astronomers studying solar flares where the problems have already been solved. Without math-aware searching, finding such unexpected connections is largely a matter of chance. Yet, the history of science shows again and again that unexpected connections often lead to major breakthroughs," said Dr. Robert Miner, Director of New Product Development at Design Science.

The goal of the workshop is to identify a framework for developing and deploying enhanced searching of STM literature. The emphasis will be on coming up with practical solutions for the near and medium term that are compatible with business constraints of major stakeholders. "There is some sense in the industry that there is a window of opportunity to re-examine best practices for making STM material more searchable," said Miner. "As content providers make the shift to XML-based workflows, there is a natural interest in leveraging investments in XML-based content to add value for customers. Improved searching is a hot topic in this regard." The workshop will be held April 26-27, 2004, and will be hosted by the Institute for Mathematics and its Advancement (IMA) at the University of Minnesota. Registration for the workshop is limited, but some openings are still available.

Math searching is currently hampered by the lack of a standard, machine-accessible format for equations. But that is changing as MathML, an XML language for representing mathematics developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), emerges as an industry standard. Because MathML is highly-structured, and information rich, it has great potential for improving searching, as well as other information-intensive applications such as the ability to speak math to visually impaired readers. "While the first generation of web technology focused on text searching, the second generation will bring the world equivalent facilities for working with other kinds of data. Because math is the language of science and technology, MathML is a key part of that effort," according to Paul R. Topping, Design Science's President. Design Science is an industry leader in MathML technology, with extensive MathML expertise, several MathML-based product-lines and significant market penetration into education and research. So developing new ways of adding value to MathML-aware content is a natural direction for Design Science.

About Design Science, Inc.

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Long Beach, California, Design Science develops software used by educators, scientists and publishing professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office, WebEQ, MathFlow, MathPlayer and TeXaide, to communicate on the web and in print. For more information please visit



Bruce Virga
Vice President Sales

Design Science, Inc.
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Long Beach, CA 90802, USA


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