development history of polymake

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development history of polymake

Postby DrWikiWikiShuttle » 26 Jun 2016, 00:42

Hello, I just expanded the wikipedia page on polymake (see I want to add a section on the development history of polymake, or make a timeline of the main milestones, but I do not know this information.

Question 1: when did version 1, 2, and 3 of polymake come out? What was new about each release?

Question 2: what are some other milestones for the code base and team? For example, has polymake won any awards? When did the switch from ascii to xml files happen? When was 10,000 downloads reached? Basically, anything interesting.

I would appreciate if you can also provide sources to any claims.

Thank you

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Re: development history of polymake

Postby gawrilow » 27 Jun 2016, 01:44

Some facts off the top of my head...

when did version 1, 2, and 3 of polymake come out?

Version 1 was made available for public download in 1998 shortly before the ICM congress in Berlin where it was presented by Michael for the first time in a new section on mathematical software. If Michael has preserved a copy of the proceedings on his bookshelf, he might provide the correct citation.
Version 2 appeared in 2003, and Version 3 in January this year.

What was new about each release?

The major release number bumps are quite arbitrary, they do not mark any outstanding evolutionary steps. Most interesting changes were introduced at some odd numbers like 2.1.0 or 2.13. Before version 2 we used an ancient source control system whose history was partially lost when we migrated to more modern ones, so it's almost impossible (and also not overly thrilling) to reconstruct exactly which features were added when at those distant days. The changelogs for more recent versions (since 2009) can be found on the News page.
Version 3 is the last one compatible with older C++ and perl standards. The next version to appear will be written in C++14.

Has polymake won any awards?

Unfortunately not that many :-) In 2005, it got the second award from Heinz-Billing-Preis committee. Our submission can be found on the Publication page; the homepage of the prize lists only the winners, however.

When did the switch from ascii to xml files happen?

Must have been about 2008.

When was 10,000 downloads reached?

We never counted them. Every now and again, we tried to distribute polymake through package management systems, like Fink for MacOS, ports for FreeBSD, or Debian/Ubuntu package repositories. Furthermore, polymake has occasionally been distributed in bundles with various other math software. We did not collect any statistics for any of them.
From my gut feeling, I'd be quite surprised if we ever have reached that mark altogether. This is a quite specialized software with pretty narrow user base.

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