The Role of Benchmarking in Symbolic Computation: (Position Paper)

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There is little doubt that, in the minds of most symbolic computation researchers, the ideal paper consists of a problem statement, a new algorithm, a complexity analysis and preferably a few validating examples. There are many such great papers. This paradigm has served computer algebra well for many years, and indeed continues to do so where it is applicable. However, it is much less applicable to sparse problems, where there are many NP-hardness results, or to many problems coming from algebraic geometry, where the worst-case complexity seems to be rare.

We argue that, in these cases, the field should take a leaf out of the practices of the SAT-solving community, and adopt systematic benchmarking, and benchmarking contests, as a way measuring (and stimulating) progress. This would involve a change of culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Symbolic and Numeric Algorithms for Scientific Computing, SYNASC 2018
ISBN (Electronic)9781728106250
ISBN (Print)9781728106267
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

To be published, on past form, in 2019, but will display a 2018 publication date.


  • Computer algebra
  • Benchmarking
  • Performance


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