June 1, 1996
Symbolic computation as a research discipline has an uneasy existence between mathematics and computer science. Will this change? What can be done to change it?
Gosh, I’m not sure exactly what you mean. I’m not a great fan of a lot of academic work that goes on these days. I think a lot of areas of academia have become incredibly introverted: people just write papers that other people in their fields will read. They don’t seem to care much about anything outside. And there are all sorts of elaborate rituals that have developed about how to do academic work, how to present it, how to publish it, etc. It’s mostly fairly recent—last 50 years or so—and I guess it’s inevitable, given how large the academic enterprise has become. But assuming things go on the way they are, I’m afraid that over the next few decades we’ll almost certainly see the end of academia as a serious force in society….