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Carnegie Mellon Tool Automatically Turns Math Into Pictures

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A drawing created with the Penrose tool.

Thanks to a new tool created at Carnegie Mellon University, anyone can now translate the abstractions of mathematics into beautiful and instructive illustrations.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University News

A tool created by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers allows anyone to render mathematical abstractions as illustrations.

The Penrose tool enables diagram-drawing experts to encode their math-into-diagram methods; users simply type in an ordinary mathematical expression, and Penrose produces the drawing.

Once the computer learns how the user wants to visualize mathematical objects, it uses the encoded rules to draw several candidate diagrams, which the user can from choose and edit.

The researchers created a special programming language for this purpose, which CMU’s Keenan Crane said mathematicians should have no trouble learning.

Said Crane, "Our vision is to be able to dust off an old math textbook from the library, drop it into the computer, and get a beautifully illustrated book—that way, more people understand."

From Carnegie Mellon University News
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