**Next:** Overview of Oorange

**Up:** Oorange: A Virtual Laboratory for
Experimental Mathematics

Experimentation has a distinguished tradition in
mathematical research. Experiments often play an important role in formulating new
conjectures and discovering paths toward the proof of such conjectures and of other
results. As computational resources have become more powerful in recent years, this domain
of activity is growing into a mathematical field in its own right, called *experimental*
mathematics. There is a perceived need for a standardization so that experiments made by
one researcher can be repeated or modified by others with minimal effort.

The **Oorange** project is a response to this challenge. It is an initiative of the
Sonderforschungsbereich 288 of the Technical University Berlin, "Differential
Geometry and Quantum Physik". The project development commenced in September 1994,
the first beta version was release Christmas 1995, and Version 1.0 is slated for release
in October 1996. We postpone an account of previous work until Section 5 in order first to introduce the terminology in which
comparisons and historical influences can be expressed.

The key impulse behind the project is to create a framework for experimental mathematics that is appropriate to the contents of this science. Since the field of experimental mathematics is modeled on the traditional models of physical sciences, we found it useful to maintain the correspondences to that realm. With this in mind, the following seven-fold subdivision of a mathematical experiment is helpful:

High level software classes**Object of study:**Foundation software classes and function libraries**Laboratory equipment:**Computational network composed of objects**Configuration of specific experiment:**Object inspection; 2D and 3D viewers**Monitor and control:**Animation objects**Running the experiment:**Archiving and scripting**Recording the experiment:**Documentation**Disseminating result:**

The correspondence to traditional experimental practice is only approximate;
significant differences arise from the non-physical nature of software. For example, there
is a further level of design necessitated by the fact that there is no physical laboratory
to hold all these components. **Oorange** is accordingly organized as a virtual
laboratory, which presents a unified user interface integrating all the above components.

In order to motivate the detailed discussion of the components we first introduce the
virtual laboratory.

Copyright © 1997 Sonderforschungsbereich 288, Differential Geometry and Quantum Physics, TU-Berlin