W3C home page User Interface Domain math icon 21FEB2000

Math Working Group Charter

Revised February 2000 from version of 11 June 1998

Mathematics Working Group

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

Mission Statement

The Math Working Group is chartered to continue the task of facilitating the use of mathematical formalism on the Web, both for scientific documentation and for education. This involves the development of a next version of the MathML specification, maintenance of and encouragement of the use of the present MathML 1.0 Recommendation, continued liaison with other Working Groups within the W3C to ensure that the potential of MathML is realized, and relations with other organizations designed to strengthen the position of MathML and the use of math on the Web.

This will mean that the use of math in Web documents will be encouraged by the W3C, to which the MathML specification belongs, and should significantly contribute to the usefulness of the Web for science, technology and education. The continuation of the work on mathematics on the Web falls well within the User Interface Domain.


Criteria for Success


This group commenced at the beginning of September 1998 and was expected to persist for 18 months, terminating in February 2000. The life of the group is to be extended to December 2000. The drafts of the revision of MathML will follow a timeline intended to produce a Recommendation in June 1999. The further period will cover some post-recommendation activity.


The precise Working Drafts in production at a given time are listed on the WG page. The group will produce a Proposed Recommendation, evolved from stable Working Drafts. Minutes of teleconferences and face to face meetings are also available from the Math WG Page.

Release policy

A list of documents actively under consideration by the group, is maintained by the chair. To add a document to the list, or to revise a document in the list, the draft should be sent to the chair or to the group mailing list. The chair will decide on new or revised drafts in collaboration with the group, provided the document falls within the scope of work items for the group.

As documents stabilize, they will be released as W3C Working Drafts. No document may stay on the list of documents actively under consideration by the group for more than three months without being released to the public as an intermediate draft. Documents may be released sooner if consensus is achieved. If the three-month deadline is reached, the current draft will be released (and not a draft from three months earlier). If, before this time, anyone in the group feels the current draft will not be not suitable for public release as an intermediate draft, their options are:

Relationship to other forums within the W3C

Hypertext Coordination Group
The Math WG will coordinate its work at a high level with other Working Groups primarily through participation in the Hypertext Coordination Group where it is represented by its chair(s).
XML Coordination Group
The Math WG is naturally affected by eventual changes to XML syntax. MathML's revision will be written in XML 1.0, with the addition of XML namespaces, as far as is possible.
Document Object Model (DOM)
MathML content will be accessible from the XML Document Object Model. The Math WG is directly concerned with some details of the DOM. The present Math WG has made some of MathML's natural requirements known.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
The work of the Math WG has from the start intended to be helpful in promoting the wider accessibility of math, and MathML 1.0 was designed with that in mind. It is hoped that now a real implementation of a non-visual renderer for MathML can be achieved through collaboration with the WAI WG and suitable implementors.
XML Linking Working Group
The MathML revision format will use the results of the XML Linking WG group for internal hyperlinking, linking into and out of mathematical parts of a Web document.
CSS&FP Working Group
The Math WG looks to the style sheet mechanism under development for platform independent rendering of MathML. Again, there are demands upon CSS&FP implicit in the requirements for MathML.
XSL Working Group
The Math WG looks to the style sheet mechanism under development for platform independent rendering of MathML. Again, there are demands upon XSL implicit in the requirements for MathML. Of particular interest in XSL are the scripting and macro mechanisms planned. The XSL Requirements Summary anticipates support of MathML. The production of Math WG documents will make extensive use of XSL technology.
I18N Working Group
Mathematics is an international language, and may be incorporated in documents in all natural languages. The Math WG must cooperate with the internationalization efforts of the I18N Working Group. The character model settled on is potentially important to math.


One or more public Working Drafts will be produced covering each of the Work Items, to the following revised schedule:

Milestones Date
First public requirements document May 1998 (by previous Math WG)
New Math Working Group meeting 19-20 October 1998
Requirements Documents for other W3C WG November 1998
Working Group meeting 15-16 March 1999
First Roadmap of MathML 2 revision April 1999
Public MathML 1.01 revision 7 April 1999
Final Roadmap of MathML 2 revision June 1999
Working Group meeting 9-10 August 1999
First Working Draft of MathML 2 November 1999 (public 1 Dec)
Second Working Draft of MathML 2 22 December 1999
Third Working Draft of MathML 2 January 2000 (public 11 February)
Working Group meeting 13-14 March 2000
Fourth Working Draft of MathML 2 [Last Call] 20 March 2000
Fourth Working Draft of MathML 2 [Last Call Ends] 17 April March 2000
Candidate Recommendation for MathML 2 Request (WD5) 24 April 2000
Reques for Proposed Recommendation for MathML 2 25 May 2000
Test Suite for MathML 27 April 2000
Document on Continuation Activity 15 May 2000
Test Suite for MathML, version 2 21 June 2000
MathML Schema 13 July 2000
MathML and Math on the Web Conference 19-20 October 2000
Working Group termination 31 December 2000


Five face to face meetings will be arranged. Meeting details will be made available on the W3C Member Calendar and from the WG page. A Conference emphasizing the practical application of the MathML Recommendation is scheduled for the post-Recommendation period, and is listed under the Milestones above.

Meeting Date Location
New Math Working Group meeting 19-20 October 1998Long Beach, CA US
Working Group meeting 15-16 March 1999 Redmond, WA US
Working Group meeting 9-10 August 1999 Champaign, IL US
Working Group meeting 8-9 November 1999 Oxford, UK
Working Group meeting 13-14 March 2000Ann Arbor, MI US

Communication Mechanisms


The archived member-only mailing list w3c-math-wg@w3.org is the primary means of discussion within the group. Postings to this list are Member confidential, as is the Working Group page, but not the WG charter.

The mailing list www-math@w3.org is used for public discussion of mathematical markup and related issues, and WG members are encouraged to subscribe; there is also an archive for it. There will be a public page on W3C Math Activity, maintained by the chair.


One-hour phone conferences will be held at least bi-weekly. Both US and French numbers will be made available. These two bridges will be joined together to create a single teleconference.

Voting Mechanisms

The Group works by consensus. In the event of failure to achieve consensus, the Group may resort to a vote as described in the Process Document. Each Member company which has at least one Group member in good standing may vote. There is one vote per W3C Member company. Votes are held by email to allow all participants a chance to vote; there is a two week voting period followed by a period of two working days for the announcement of the result. W3C staff and invited experts do not vote; however in the event of a tie the chair has a casting vote. If the issue is resolved by consensus during the voting period, the vote is cancelled.


Participants (W3C Member representatives, Invited Experts, and W3C Team members) are required not to disclose information obtained during participation, until that information is publicly available.

by W3C Members

Requirements for meeting attendance and timely response are described in the Process document. Participation (meetings, reviewing and writing drafts) is expected to consume time equal to 1 day per week for a period of one year.

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 the agreed-to date but are not required to attend meetings.

by invited experts

As decided on a case by case basis, invited experts may attend a single meeting or a series; they may in some cases be subscribed to the Group mailing list. For the duration of their participation, invited experts are encouraged to adopt the same requirements for meeting attendance and timely response as are required of W3C Members.

by W3C Team members

The W3C team will ensure that the mailing lists and Group page are adequately maintained and that public Working Drafts are made available on the Technical Reports page.

A W3C team member will provide liaison between any non-team document editors and the W3C team; including posting revisions of Working Drafts to the Group page.

W3C team liaison are expected to adopt the same requirements for meeting attendance and timely response as are required of Working Group Members. The expected commitment from the W3C is therefore at least 20% of a full time person, plus 5% of an administrative person.

Patrick Ion <ion@ams.org> & Angel Diaz <aldiaz@us.ibm.com>
Last modified: 2000/2/21 16:02:19