Math Interest Group Charter

The W3C Process Document describes what is required for an Interest Group's charter. Its guidelines are followed here.

Mission Statement

The Math Interest Group is chartered to continue the task of facilitating the use of mathematics on the Web, both for science and technology and for education. This involves the maintenance of the recent version 2.0 (Second Edition) of the MathML specification (W3C Recommendation, 21 October 2003), encouragement of its wider deployment, preparation of errata as appropriate, continued liaison with other Working Groups within the W3C to ensure that the potential of MathML is realized, and relations with other organizations, all designed to strengthen the position of MathML and enhance the use of mathematics on the Web.

This means that the use of MathML in Web documents is encouraged by the W3C and should significantly contribute to the usefulness of the Web for science, technology and education. The continuation of this work on mathematics on the Web falls within the scope of the W3C Math Activity (see also the Math Activity statement).


Criteria for Success


This Interest Group commences in January 2004 and is scheduled to persist 24 months, terminating at the end of December 2005.


The Interest Group may create

The Interest Group will maintain

Minutes of teleconferences and face-to-face meetings will also be available from the Math Activity page.

Relationship to other forums within the W3C

Hypertext Coordination Group
The Math IG will coordinate its work at a high level with other Groups primarily through participation in the Hypertext Coordination Group where it is represented by its chair(s).
XML Coordination Group
The Math IG will coordinate its work in the XML sphere through the XML Coordination Group.
XML Working Group (XML Schema, XLink, XML Protocol, XML Query, XML Encryption)
The Math IG is naturally affected by changes to XML syntax. MathML is written in XML 1.0, with the addition of XML namespaces. MathML is presently described by both a DTD and schemas. However, the MathML specification would benefit from a schema able to express formally more of the constraints presently only expressible in the prose of the specification. The topics of data types, replacement of character entities and structural expressions are all of interest. In addition, namespaces and MIME types have implications for the embedding of MathML in browsers and other applications. Similarly, MathML uses XLink for internal hyperlinking, and linking into and out of mathematical parts of a Web document. Therefore, the expansion of the capacities of linking and querying may interact with MathML. Whether the mathematics of XML Encryption can usefully be expressed in MathML is of interest, in the W3C spirit of using its own recommendations. There are already on the Web a number of mathematical services: it seems entirely appropriate to set out their Discovery, Description and Service Integration according to the developing XML Protocols and attempts in this direction continue.
Document Object Model (DOM)
MathML content is accessible from the XML Document Object Model. The Math IG is thus directly concerned with some details of the DOM. The previous Math WG has made some of MathML's natural requirements known and representatives collaborated on a DOM.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
The work of the Math WG was from the start intended to be helpful in promoting the wider accessibility of mathematics, and MathML was designed with that in mind. There are currently a number of projects working on non-visual renderers for MathML. The Math IG is thus interested fostering collaboration between these efforts, and the work of the WAI WG.
CSS Working Group
MathML continues to look to style-sheet and formatting mechanisms under development for platform independent rendering of MathML. There are demands upon CSS implicit in the requirements for MathML. In particular, the Math IG will be working with the CSS Working Group on the development of the Math module in CSS3.
XSL Working Group
Style-sheet mechanisms which can transform documents have been used to get platform independent rendering of MathML. Again, there are demands upon XSL implicit in the requirements for MathML. The XSL Requirements Summary anticipates support of MathML.
Multimodal Interaction Working Group
The new Multimodal Interaction Working Group is working on the use of MathML within the Ink Markup Language to express mathematical transformation. Other specifications designed by this Working Group may also make use of MathML, in particular focusing on the input of mathematics in various modalities (speech or handwriting recognition.
The use of graphics in mathematics is commonplace at all levels, yet the Math WG in developing MathML consciously left aside dealing with drawing for mathematics. With the successful development of SVG, many of the tools to do graphics for mathematics seem to be at hand. How these are to be integrated with XHTML and MathML in practice remains to be worked out in detail. The present Math WG produced a note on this subject, but better use of graphics will require ongoing interaction with the W3C Graphics activity, and in particular with SVG and any corresponding future group working on three-dimensional graphics specification.
Semantic Web Activity
This initiative of the W3C offers more opportunities to use the formal structures of the RDF to try and capture more of mathematics at levels above that of a single formula, which is what MathML addresses. It also suggests opportunities for significantly enhanced possibilities for technical information retrieval and reuse.
I18N Working Group
Mathematics is an international language, and may be incorporated in documents in all natural languages. The Math IG must cooperate with the internationalization efforts of the I18N Working Group. The character model settled upon is important to mathematics. If examples of the use of mathematical notation in conjunction with bi-directional writing systems are found which are not fully compatible with MathML then attention will be given to their requirements.

Relationship to forums outside the W3C

The Math Activity coordinates its work with other groups or organizations insofar as they may be directly concerned with mathematics on the Web, or as their activities may have a direct impact on the usefulness of MathML.

The Unicode Consortium and ISO WG2
The Unicode Consortium and ISO WG2 have already been very responsive to the needs of mathematics on the Web, and additions (in fact thousands of character codes in Unicode 3.1 ad 3.2) have been made to Unicode and ISO 10646 for the benefit of scientific document preparation. Coordination with these groups will continue.
The OpenMath community, based around the OpenMath Society, and its contracts under the European Community projects contributed to the development of MathML 2.0. Contact with this community will continue.
The TEX Community
The previously dominant composition system in the academic community has been TeX. In fact TeX can work well with MathML, either as an input syntax which is widely known, or as a mathematical composition engine with which much experience has been gathered. The TeX Users Group and the LaTeX3 project has been kept informed of progress on the MathML front. Fonts from the TeX community may be helpful in rendering MathML in browsers. Projects for the conversion of legacy TeX material to MathML have already been started, but are not yet of `production quality'.
There is a large initiative supported by ANSI which aims at formalizing the exchange of scientific, technical and engineering information for manufacturing. In fact their section 50 is a way of transcribing mathematical material, mostly geometrical. Its relation to the Recommendation of MathML should be understood, and cooperation with the STEP initiative, which is part of ISO standardization, undertaken if appropriate.
The STIPUB group of Publishers of Scientific and Technical Information is making available a public set of fonts to cover all those characters in Unicode needed for their publishing needs.


It is hoped some face-to-face meetings can be arranged. One possibility would be the third MathML conference involving the MathML user community will be held, a sequel to the very successful ones in October 2000 and June 2002.

Communication Mechanisms


A mailing list will be created for member-only discussions of the Interest Group.

The archived mailing list is used for public discussion of mathematical markup and related issues, and IG members are encouraged to subscribe.


There is a public page on W3C Math Activity, maintained by persons designated by the IG chair(s). It tracks the evolving use of MathML, and supports it with information on implementations, FAQ, and access to the MathML Test Suite and Validator.

There is also a Member-only Math Interest Group page, maintained by persons designated by the IG chair(s). The purpose of this page is primarily as a staging area for coordinating the creation of documents by Interest Group members, and soliciting reviews by W3C members, before such documents are published more widely, e.g. on the public W3C Math Activity page.


One-hour phone conferences will be held at least monthly.

Voting Mechanisms

The Group works by consensus. In the event of failure to achieve consensus, the Group may resort to avote as described in the Process Document. If the issue is resolved by consensus during the voting period, the vote is canceled.


Requirements for participation in the Math Interest Group are subject to the requirements for all W3C Interest Groups set forth in Section 6.2.1 of the W3C Process Document. The Math Interest Group will be comprised of participants which are W3C Member representatives, Invited Experts, and W3C Team members. The Math Interest Group will not allow participation by public participants.

Participants are required not to disclose Member-only or Team-only information obtained during participation, until that information is otherwise publicly available, as specified in Section4.1 of the W3C Process Document.

The co-chairs of the Interest Group are expected to be Patrick Ion and Robert Miner.

by W3C Members

Requirements formeeting attendance and timely response are described in the Process document. Participation (meetings, reviewing and writing drafts) is expected to consume time up to one day every two weeks.

W3C Members may also offer to review one or more working drafts from the group for clarity, consistency, technical merit, fitness for purpose and conformance with other W3C specifications. They are required to provide the review comments by an agreed-upon date but are not required to attend meetings.

by W3C Team

W3C team ensures that the mailing lists and Group page are adequately maintained. A W3C team member provides liaison between any non-team document editors and the W3C team. The expected commitment from the W3C staff is therefore 5% of a full time person.

At present Max Froumentin is providing the support and liaison mentioned here.

Intellectual Property Rights

The Math IG provides an opportunity to share perspectives on MathML and mathematics on the Web. W3C reminds participants to disclose, where known, the IPR status of information that they share in the Interest Group meetings and materials, in accordance with Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

Patrick Ion <>
Robert Miner <>
Max Froumentin <>
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