A team of scientists led by experts from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA) developed the Penrose computer program for translating mathematical formulas into visual digital diagrams. This was reported in the press service of the university.

The creation of an accessible tool for translating mathematical equations into beautiful and understandable illustrations by developers was inspired by the activities of the popularizer of science Roger Penrose, in whose honor the new program was named. The mathematician and physicist Penrose is known for his method of explaining complex scientific ideas using diagrams and drawings.

“Some mathematicians have a talent for drawing beautiful diagrams by hand, but they disappear as soon as they are erased from the board. We want to make this expressive power available to everyone, ”explained Penrose, a professor of computer science and robotics at Keenan Crane University.

  • Penrose illustrates abstract math expressions using a proposed set of diagrams
  • © Carnegie Mellon University

According to the developers, Penrose’s capabilities are not limited to the basic functions of a graphing calculator: the program “understands” the language of numbers and symbols from any area of ​​mathematics and allows users to get ready-made diagrams.

“The secret feature of our system is to give people the opportunity to easily explain the process of converting to a computer so that it can do all the difficult work of directly creating an image,” explained co-author and colleague Crane Katherine E.

To develop this tool, scientists have created a special programming language. It allows charting experts to code and introduce new visual solutions to the system. Other users can enter mathematical expressions and choose appropriate ready-made solutions from the available gallery of illustrations.

According to scientists, diagrams are often not used in technical texts and various types of scientific communication for the simple reason that the creation of high-quality digital illustrations is either beyond the power of many specialists or requires additional painstaking work. The developers are confident that Penrose will cope with these problems, allowing you to find the most suitable visual solution.

“Mathematicians can be very selective about notation. We give them the opportunity to determine what designation they need to naturally express their thoughts, ”added Keenan Crane.

The presentation of the program will take place in the second half of July at the conference on computer graphics and interactive technologies SIGGRAPH 2020, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held in virtual format. According to the developers, Penrose is just the first step towards creating a powerful universal system for visualizing abstract mathematical expressions.

“Our idea is to take the old library textbook on mathematics, shake off the dust from it, load it into a computer and get a book with amazing illustrations so that more people can understand it,” said Professor Crane.