Software developer Wolfram Research, Inc. and publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. announced an agreement to develop an interactive electronic version of Wiley’s best-selling reform calculus textbooks: Calculus: Single Variable, Second Edition, by Hughes-Hallett, Gleason, and others and Calculus: Single and Multivariable by Hughes-Hallett, Gleason, MacCallum, and others. Wolfram Research is the creator and developer of Mathematica, the leading technical computing system, which will be the presentation medium and engine for the electronic texts. Calculus Live, as the electronic version of these textbooks will be titled, will be available for the 1998 fall semester.
Under the agreement, Wolfram Research will use proprietary technology to convert Wiley’s existing typsetting files into Mathematica notebook format and will create an interactive interface for navigation and problem solving. These notebooks will be distributed on CD-ROM along with a “custom kernel” edition of Mathematica.
“Mathematica Version 3 is particularly well suited for the presentation of interactive electronic texts like these, and we already have many similar projects under way,” said Paul Wellin, Director of Corporate and Academic Affairs at Wolfram Research. “The user interface is completely customizable, making it easy to create interface elements such as palettes and hyperlinks. Our mathematical typesetting, both on screen and on the printer, is the most sophisticated available. Our document conversion process, supervised by professional designers, ensures both the accuracy of print material and the visual appeal of the resulting electronic version. Combine these three elements, and you have a wonderful environment for interactive texts like this. And the new custom kernel technology means that we provide only the parts of the complete Mathematica system that are most appropriate for any individual product.”
The use of Mathematica as a presentation platform brings a new level of “intelligence” to the electronic text, allowing the students to focus better on the subject matter by letting the computer handle much of the mechanics. Students using the electronic textbook will be able to see the text, solve problems interactively, and perform their own explorations of the principles of calculus. Students can use the included special copy of Mathematica and will not have to learn Mathematica syntax to use the product.
“We are pleased to join with Wolfram Research to bring the electronic version of the leading reform calculus textbooks on the market to college students worldwide,” said Bonnie Lieberman, Wiley’s Senior Vice President and General Manager–College.