About SciLag

Prelude

SciLag is a free web-based platform for facilitating dynamic organisation of scientific problems at a research level. It represents an online service for scientists for sharing their knowledge about the forefront of research. The current version is set up for the Mathematical community only to test and refine the concept in action.

How the idea of the platform came to us?

The research output in mathematics, with the folklore knowledge set aside, is being stored and circulated in research papers. Thus, it is an indispensable part of the working routine of a mathematician to summarize the most notable outcomes of their studies on a particular problem into a research paper and get it published in a peer-reviewed mathematical journal. As it typically happens, solving a particular problem raises a number of other new questions. Traditional ways for mathematicians for sharing these newly emerged open problems and any insights they have on them with the community comprise in delivering a talk at various meetings or communicating the ideas they have to their colleagues. Yet another common way, perhaps with the most long-lasting effect, is the inclusion of a section of open problems or a list of conjectures in a research paper.

These sections of open problems often motivate and shape the future research paths in mathematics, and while a good portion of research articles incorporates them, there is no dynamic way of organizing these problems. This static nature of publications often leaves the proposed problems within an article in oblivion. Moreover, some mundane tasks, such as tracking progress on a given problem, or obtaining the full picture of partial solutions to a specific problem, are sometimes difficult to fulfil.

How can we make the situation better?

Enter SciLag

Imagine a freely accessible web-based digital platform which at its core allows researchers to share the open questions stemming from their research with the community, transforming these problems from static and low exposure states to live and dynamic objects. SciLag is our answer to these quests.

SciLag will come to transform mathematical problems from static states in research articles to dynamic objects inside the platform, at the same time keeping the mathematical rigour an article should have. Here on SciLag, each problem becomes a live object, with possibilities of being tracked for progress, having all its partial and complete solutions under one roof, being linked to other problems, to name a few. With the platform, every mathematical problem originated in research articles now gets a chance to become an integral part of a dynamic and searchable database of research problems.

The platform is freely accessible to everyone on the internet to view and browse its content. The registered members have the privilege to post a problem or a (partial) solution and interact with the existing data.

The current version provides only the core functionality and is a prototype of the general idea we try to pursue. Our plan is to gradually add more features as well as enhance the existing ones. In particular, we aim at bringing data analysis and visualization tools to users’ disposal. The platform is run by our enthusiasm which is being fueled by many encouraging remarks we have received from our friends and colleagues to whom we are grateful.

Benefits to the community

Our target group is the mathematical community worldwide, and everyone interested in mathematical problems at a research level. The core unit of our data is a mathematical problem of research level.

The potential benefits from SciLag are various, and some are outlined below:

  • We get a chance to collaboratively build an open and dynamic database of mathematical problems of research level, which in itself is a fantastic asset for the mathematical community.
  • Researchers get a chance to post open problems from their papers as live objects, track a progress on any problem, follow problems they find interesting, etc.
  • With a set of problems and a network of researchers at the same place, we get new possibilities for collaboration.
  • For researchers who change their research interests in the course of their careers, or generally for newcomers to a given research area (PhD students, postdocs, and independent researchers in particular) there is a pool of problems one may try to choose from.

The current world is data-driven, and with the tools we have at SciLag and those we plan to develop, certainly everyone interested in mathematical problems will get a chance to leverage the full potential of the data.

What SciLag stands for?

The platform is designed to be home for scientific problems which are (were) open. For many of these open problems to be addressed, the science, mathematics in this case, needs new tools and ideas to be discovered. In other words, the current knowledge is lagging behind, hence SciLag for “Science Lagging behind”.

Our team

The idea of this webpage was coined in 2017 when Dr. Hayk Aleksanyan was a postdoc with Prof. Henrik Shahgholian at the Department of Mathematics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. After the end of his contract, Hayk discussed the idea with two of his friends Andranik Aghajanyan and Lusine Karapetyan, who shared the enthusiasm and the development kicked off in Yerevan, Armenia. Motivated by building a network of high-level ideas, we put together our skills of software development, algorithm designing, system administration and domain knowledge (and our free time and some free resources of course) to build this platform. The joint effort of four of us, and a help we received with initial designs of user interfaces from Bogdana Kibza, led to this version of the platform. What we currently present is an early prototype of the general concept we pursue. We hope to develop the platform further and implement more of the ideas we have.

To support our cause, consider creating (for free) a profile on SciLag and sharing your expertise on scientific challenges.