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An Introduction to the M Language

  Michel Goossens IT/ASD

Some time ago Thorsten Ohl, the author of the Feynmf package, brought to my attention the new computer algebra system M which is the work of one of his colleagues Peter Overmann of Heidelberg University.

M is an experimental system for general-purpose symbolic and numeric computation. It can be used either interactively for doing mathematical calculations, or as an environment for symbolic programming. The system has two main parts:

M lets the user implement symbolic algorithms by providing a set of rules which are easy to specify. Moreover, thanks to its speed and modest memory requirements, large computations are quite straightforward to program.

The author says his system benefited from his experience with other computer algebra programs, like Macsyma, Maple, and Mathematica, so that users of one of those systems will find it easy to start using the program. Moreover, M uses a syntax similar to that of the C language, which should be familiar to a lot of users at CERN, and is claimed to be quite fast. The M system comes with a library of mathematical constructs and functions. This library can be easily extended or modified thanks to the open architecture of the system. If there is some interest at CERN we can make it available on the central systems.

Those who want more information can print the manual (PS) (1) or perhaps first have a look at the Introduction (2).