Traditional written mathematical notation takes advantage of a rich set of special symbols, together with their relative size and position on a two dimensional page. The utility of this is obvious, as many have commented. “Examples of the power of a well contrived notation to condense into small space, a meaning which would in ordinary language require several lines or even pages, can hardly have escaped the notice of most of my readers” (, p 330). This quotation points to the communicative power of a good notation, but in addition to this, few practitioners of mathematics would dispute the ability of a well-designed notation to aid calculation and thought. Regardless of what we might think about these printed and written conventions they have been embedded, probably irreversibly in the short term at least, by usage. People who need to enter a mathematical expression into a computer naturally often expect the interface to correspond with these conventions.
Vol 7, Issue 4