[seqfan] Re: "Suggested Projects" page on the wiki

Marc LeBrun mlb at well.com
Tue Oct 25 00:57:11 CEST 2011

>="Maximilian Hasler" <maximilian.hasler at gmail.com>
> I just (re)discovered
> http://oeis.org/wiki/Future_Projects
> which has a somehow nonempty intersection with the new
> http://oeis.org/wiki/Suggested_Projects

Maximilian, thanks for identifying these.  I thought something might already
exist, but (as you note) couldn't easily find it from the home page.

I agree there's really quite a range of activities described on those pages.
To try to organize them, here's some suggested categories:

  1.  I propose that "task" be defined as some very specific concrete
activity with clear definite "done" conditions.

A good example might be Benoît's suggestion

  "...list these triples (ideally(?):
smallest, middle, largest elements, common differences, corresponding
smallest, middle, largest arguments; and the same restricting to
triples which are not multiples of smaller ones)."

Another is my recurring daydream:

  "Run the superseeker transforms on all the CORE sequences, add any
resulting sequence that's new, and ensure that all the core and transform
sequences are appropriately commented and cross-linked."

These descriptions don't need to be rigid (eg a few of the superseeker
transforms might be uninteresting) just well-enough defined that they could
be assigned to volunteers, progress tracked and more or less autonomously
"project managed", etc.

These tasks are really a lot like unedited sequences--someone can just pick
them up and complete them as discrete contributions to the OEIS.

  2.  Another set of items in those wish lists are broad suggestions or more
open-ended areas for helping.  Anyone taking on these kinds of projects has
to first organize their effort into executable tasks.

An example is "Sequences from the physics literature."  This goal could be
structured into tasks by picking a definite list of journals, dates and so
on.  An open-ended example of a perennial standing desire is "more Maple or
Mathematica programs".

It's good to know of these "desirable areas for contribution", but they
aren't well-defined tasks that can be finished, and should probably be
presented differently.

  3.  Yet another class of projects are really research agendas.  There
aren't too many of these listed yet, but I think the OEIS Foundation should
pursue more in the future--perhaps even underwritten by outside funding
sources, research grants etc.  These might include mathematical topics, but
there's also a lot of computer-science opportunities (eg What's the optimum
database design for the OEIS?  What's the citation graph of the OEIS? Etc).

  4.  Lastly there's a distinct class of development projects relating to
the "operations" of the OEIS, from user interface and other quality-of-life
improvements, to experiments with RSS, tweeting etc.  These also ought to
have a place on the "OEIS roadmap", in some cases as staffed and budgeted
infrastructure improvements, in others as proofs-of-concept pilot studies.

Note that #1 and #2 are naturally incrementally volunteer powered, whereas
#3 and #4 require substantial resource commitments and/or coordination.

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