Active Netlib: An Active Mathematical Software Collection for Inquiry-based Computational Science and Engineering Education


  • Shirley Moore University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • A. J. Baker University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Jack Dongarra University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Christian Halloy University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Chung Ng Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA, USA


The efficient application of scientific computing techniques requires specialized knowledge of numerical methods and their implementation in mathematical software libraries that many students, scientists and engineers, working beyond the already strenuous demands of their particular field, must struggle to achieve. Active Netlib addresses this problem by creating an active collection of executable mathematical software deployed on computational servers and accessible over the network from familiar desktop client interfaces. The Netlib mathematical software collection is being extended in a number of ways to support this project. The NetSolve client-server system provides an active interface to the contents of Netlib by constructing network-accessible objects with executable content from the software packages in Netlib. The NetSolve adaptive solver interface guides the user in selecting appropriate software, in setting parameters correctly, and in interpreting numerical results. In addition, Active Netlib provides mechanisms that enable resource users to become resource providers by dynamically uploading and deploying their own software applications, which are reviewed before becoming part of the moderated publicly available collection. It is hoped that Active Netlib will grow to be a worldwide collection of executable mathematical software, as well as scientific and engineering applications, that is both drawn upon and contributed to by researchers, educators and students.