VMEXT

VMEXT: a visualization tool for mathematical expression trees. Mathematical expressions can be represented as a tree consisting of terminal symbols, such as identifiers or numbers (leaf nodes), and functions or operators (non-leaf nodes). Expression trees are an important mechanism for storing and processing mathematical expressions as well as the most frequently used visualization of the structure of mathematical expressions. Typically, researchers and practitioners manually visualize expression trees using general-purpose tools. This approach is laborious, redundant, and error-prone. Manual visualizations represents a user’s notion of what the markup of an expression should be, but not necessarily what the actual markup is. This paper presents VMEXT -- a free and open source tool to directly visualize expression trees from parallel {sc MathML}. VMEXT simultaneously visualizes the presentation elements and the semantic structure of mathematical expressions to enable users to quickly spot deficiencies in the Content {sc MathML} markup that does not affect the presentation of the expression. Identifying such discrepancies previously required reading the verbose and complex {sc MathML} markup. VMEXT also allows one to visualize similar and identical elements of two expressions. Visualizing expression similarity can support developers in designing retrieval approaches and enable improved interaction concepts for users of mathematical information retrieval systems. We demonstrate VMEXT’s visualizations in two web-based applications. The first application presents the visualizations alone. The second application shows a possible integration of the visualizations in systems for mathematical knowledge management and mathematical information retrieval. The application converts {sc LaTex} input to parallel {sc MathML}, computes basic similarity measures for mathematical expressions, and visualizes the results using VMEXT.

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