World Wide Web Consortium Issues MathML 2.0 as a W3C Recommendation

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Scientists from Industry and Academia Produce Definitive Solution for Math on the Web

Testimonials -- 21 February 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the release of the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 2.0 as a W3C Recommendation. MathML 2.0, an XML application, provides encoding mathematical notation and content for use on the Web. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who are in favor of supporting its adoption by academic, industry, and research communities.

MathML 2.0 Extends the Foundation for Math on the Web

MathML 2.0 consists of a number of XML tags which can be used to mark up an equation in terms of its presentation and also its semantics. As a result, MathML 2.0 attempts to capture something of the meaning behind equations rather than concentrating entirely on how they are going to be formatted out on the screen. This is because mathematical equations are meaningful to many applications, independent of how they are rendered aurally or visually.

"What HTML did for text on the Web, MathML 2.0 does for the language of mathematics," explained Vincent Quint, W3C User Interface Domain Leader. "And because it is written in XML, it makes it possible for Math content to be not only displayed, but able to be reused and transformed by other applications on the Web."

MathML 2.0 is intended to facilitate the use and re-use of mathematical and scientific content on the Web, and for other applications such as computer algebra systems, print typesetting, and voice synthesizers. MathML can be used to encode both the presentation of mathematical notation for high-quality visual display, and mathematical content, for applications where the semantics plays more of a key role such as scientific software or voice synthesis.

MathML 2.0 Integrates W3C Technologies

MathML 2.0 builds on MathML 1 by extending the set of symbols and expressions, and through improved integration of other W3C technologies. Users of MathML 2.0 are now able to combine it with other W3C technologies to make more dynamic and varied content.

Equations can be styled with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), links can be associated to any math expression through XML Linking Language (XLink), and MathML elements can be seamlessly included in XHTML documents with namespaces. MathML2 also includes the MathML Document Object Model (MathML DOM), which provides a more convenient, and MathML-specific way to identify MathML components and enable any scripting language to manipulate it.

The Math Working Group has produced test suites, and is already at work developing an XML Schema for MathML2, as well as a hybrid schema to combine XHTML and MathML 2.0

MathML 2.0 Embraced by Industry, Research and Academic Leaders

MathML 2.0 was produced by the W3C Math Working Group, an assembly of industry leaders and experts including the American Mathematical Society, Boeing Corporation, Universitá di Bologna, Design Science, IBM, MacKichan Technologies, MATH.EDU INC., Microsoft Corporation, NAG, Penta Scope, Stilo Technologies, Stratum Technical Services Ltd., Waterloo Maple Inc., University of Western Ontario, and Wolfram Research.

MathML 2.0 is recognized as a mature and essential technology by both the mathematical community and software developers and manufacturers. Today, MathML 2.0 already has 17 known implementations and a variety of implementors and endorsers, as indicated in the testimonials page.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 500 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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Testimonials for MathML 2.0

American Mathematical Society | Boeing | Design Science | IBM | Waterloo Maple | Wolfram Research Inc. | Implementation and Interoperability Report


Better communication of mathematics over the World Wide Web will further educational, scientific and technical aims. The AMS welcomes MathML 2.0 as a significant step in this direction, and looks forward to the time when widespread use of MathML facilitates accessible storage of science and interaction with it. The AMS is happy to have participated in the Working Group which has brought together industry and academics to develop the fundamental technology for integrating mathematics into the Web architecture.
Together with our partners in STIPUB the AMS hopes the future contribution of the freely-licensed STIX Fonts covering all the symbols of mathematics in Unicode will lead, in conjunction with MathML, to rich and versatile mathematical display.

-- Donald G. Babbitt, Publisher, American Mathematical Society


The Boeing Company deals with many suppliers and customers worldwide. In addition, the company is geographically distributed across the United States and also has offices worldwide. We see XML as a most important future technology for exchanging data with customers, suppliers, and our own internal divisions in an environment where many different computer and software systems are employed.
In particular, with respect to MathML, there is a considerable need to interchange technical documents, containing mathematical formulas, via the web---both for communicating between different engineering groups within the company and external vendors and customers. For the immediate future, we see MathML as being a necessary technology for achieving this goal.

-- Ivor Philips, Boeing


WebEQ has been used extensively in preparing the MathML 2.0 test suite, and though work on that is still ongoing, we believe it is safe to say WebEQ will accept all tests in the suite in our next commercial release. Work on MathML 2.0 implementation is well underway internally, and full MathML 2.0 support is anticipated in our future releases. At this time, we see no important obstacles to MathML 2.0 implementation and interoperability.

-- Paul Topping, President, Design Science


IBM has helped to create first MathML 1.0 and now the MathML 2.0 Proposed Recommendation, and through our techexplorer Hypermedia Browser we have helped MathML become an enabler for many areas of Web-based education. MathML 2.0 is an example of a vocabulary that now leverages established W3C Web architecture components such as the DOM, XSL and CSS. By bringing these components together in product and standards, we expect MathML to continue the revolution in scientific and technical electronic publishing for engineers, physicians, scientists, and researchers.

-- Bob Sutor, Director, IBM e-business Standards Strategy


Waterloo Maple looks forward to a new era in the mathematical software industry. MathML 2.0 offers the critical interoperability that will enable users to coordinate Maple's world-leading symbolic computation technology with other important components such as equation editors, web browsers, and even office productivity tools. We believe that the industry has hit the limit of what the proprietary frameworks of math software can offer, and that the future lies in a truly open world where the best technologies can be integrated for maximum productivity and effectiveness. MathML 2.0 is key to establishing this exciting future. Our commitment to supporting this vision is solid, with very comprehensive and innovative tools already under development.

-- Dr. Tom Lee, VP Marketing and Executive Product Manager, Waterloo Maple Inc.


Mathematica V3 represented the first truly integrated typesetting and symbolic mathematics system. We were pleased to contribute our experience to the development of MathML, which is based on ideas in Mathematica. As the official system for processing math in US Patents, Mathematica has generated hundreds of thousands of MathML expressions since May, 1999. The experience gained from this and other users helped us contribute to MathML2.
We were especially delighted by the strong attendance at the MathML conference we hosted in Champaign, IL in the summer of 2000. The diversity of people interested in MathML indicates a bright future for this standard.

-- Theodore Gray, Member, Executive Committee, Wolfram Research, Inc.

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