Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was having a look at the original paper on supergravity by Ferrara, Freedman and van Nieuwenhuizen available here. The abstract has an interesting line saying that

Added note: This term has now been shown to vanish by a computer calculation, so that the action presented here does possess full local supersymmetry.

But the paper was written in 1976! Do you have any info what kind of computer and computer algebra system did they use? Is it documented anywhere?

share|improve this question
1  
<a href="maxima.sourceforge.net/>Maxima</a>; existed then. You can still use it and download it. You could do numerical simulations of things using FORTRAN, too. –  Jerry Schirmer Apr 20 '11 at 17:21
1  
Jerry, you actually mean en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macsyma Macsyma rather than en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxima_(software) Maxima, right? ;-) –  Luboš Motl Apr 20 '11 at 18:05
2  
Also for the record schoonschip developed by Martinus Veltman existed –  yayu Apr 20 '11 at 20:38
    
@Lubos, yes. I've never been good with the evolution of software from before my time. –  Jerry Schirmer Apr 21 '11 at 13:25
add comment

3 Answers

Van Nieuwenhuizen's PhD advisor, Matinus Veltman, was arguably the first person to develop a computer algebra system in the early 1960s, and the program was used in the proof of renormalization of gauge theories.

share|improve this answer
    
Does Schoonschip still exist? It would be nice to check it out. –  Ron Maimon Feb 18 '12 at 17:56
add comment

It sounds like it may have been an early version of SHEEP, or some extension thereof. SHEEP was 'officially' released in 1977, but its predecessor, ALAM, was developed by d'Inverno in 1969. It was used to automate some of the complicated algebra in early calculations of the Bondi mass. You can read a bit about the history here: notes on SHEEP.

share|improve this answer
add comment

(This is not really an answer, but here I have not yet enough reputation to post comments. If someone wants to move this to a comment, I won't object.)

1976 is not a particularly early date for computer calculations: Fermi, Pasta, and Ulam used computer simulations in the early 50s for their 1955 paper.

share|improve this answer
    
But FPU is what computers are good at--- it is trivial to write this type of simulation of particles. Schoonship was doing algebraic manipulations, which is more difficult because it requires a parsing of a language. This only became automatic in the 70s, although, paradoxically, it is done less now than then because of the stultifying negative impact of the GUI on actual computation. –  Ron Maimon Feb 18 '12 at 17:56
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.