Sofia Math Chat Robot

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Project information:
Oliver Knill
Harvard University
Department of Mathematics
One Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Tel: (617) 495 5549

Frequently asked questions

Note, that you could find out most of the following information by chatting with Sofia.

  • Why is the project called Sofia?
    There is a tradition to call chatrobots with names. The most prominent is "Alice". Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891) was a mathematician working on partial differential equations, Abelian integrals among other things.
  • What software does Sofia use?
    We currently use a version of Program D developed by Noel Bush and contributors in Java. This program seems currently no more in development. It was the most stable open source solution we could find and runs reasonablly well on Linux. We keep looking for updates since there are stability issues problems when fed huge data junks.
  • On which hardware does sofia run
    Sofia lives in a PowerEdge 2650 Server (dual 3.06GHz Intel Xeon, 3Gig Memory, 4 hot-plug SCSI drives Raid X).
  • Why are the math entries primitive fortune format?
    Ever authored XML? Plain text files without complex formatting are easy to edit, search, proofread, spellchecked (even on a PDA. They can be transferred into other formats including AIML or fed into a database. Even without a database or a chat-robot, you can use "fortune" in a terminal: "fortune -m Fermat" produces for example all known fortune entries which contain the word Fermat. Fortune can be used as a primitive database, again, works even on a PDA like the zaurus. It is reasonable fast since entries are stored in hash tables. The simplicity makes it a convenient choice. There is no danger that plain fortune files will ever be outdated.
  • Did anybody ever ask the questions on this page?
    Ask Sofia!

Project funded by Provost's fund for teaching and learning