Welcome to the new home for geometric algebra!
We have been a bit quiet on the GA front for a while. In the meantime I have been busy with my spin-out company Geomerics, which develops graphics software for the games industry. In late 2013 Geomerics was acquired by ARM, the company behind the chip designs in most of the world’s mobile phones and tablets. After a year of bedding in at ARM I now have some spare time to re-engage with the geometric algebra community. I am also hoping to bring some new colleagues from the games industry over to look at what GA could mean for them.
In this first post I thought I would explain a bit about the site layout and some things I found along the way in putting the site together. First thing to notice is that this is obviously a WordPress site. It is set up for blogging, and for allowing people to comment on papers, presentations and blogs. We intend to use this to help promote geometric algebra more widely than before.
The choice of WordPress was a straightforward one. We already used it for the Geomerics website, and my colleagues in the Astrophysics group were experienced at running it.
Next was the choice of theme. I wanted to chose one that was visually appealing, and was sufficiently distinct from the stock WordPress themes. It also needed to be one of the popular themes, with active support forums and good ratings from users. It also had to be up-to-date and fully ‘responsive’. This ensures that the site renders sensibly on all devices, from mobile phones up to PCs with the latest high-resolution monitors.
In addition, I wanted a theme that had a commercial upgrade path. While this is an academic site and unlikely to require the commercial add-ons (which are mostly around e-commerce), it is reassuring that an upgrade path exists, and that professionals are responsible for maintaining the theme.
Next up is the choice of plugins and general customisations. The key question was how to deal with our backlog of old papers and articles. I struggled with this for a while until I came across this blog from CETIS. Their basic idea was to treat every article as a historic blog, using categories to separate journal articles, conference proceedings, etc. To make this work they needed a way to deal with multiple authors, which the co-authors plugin does. This requires some small modification to the php files in the Virtue theme to make all of the authors appear in the blog byline, but this turned out to be quite straightforward.
One remaining question was how to deal with annual archives. There are more advanced plugins for this, but I settled on a simpler hack solution. All historic papers are given the date of the Jan 01 of the year they were published, so the default monthly archive works as an annual archive for old material. It is slightly ugly, but a small price to pay for a solution that will work well with new posts.
Two further useful plugins were column shortcodes, which makes it easy to add columns to the text area of a blog, and widgetize pages, which enables you to add widgets to the text area. Both were straightforward and very useful.
One of the drivers for creating a new site was to provide a platform for some of our older research into geometric algebra. Revisiting our early papers it was clear that the postscript files created in the early 90s were not up to moderm standards. So many of the early papers have been re-typeset with the latest fonts. The resulting pdf files are much easier to read on monitors than the early files (which were only ever intended for printers). As part of this process we took the opportunity to make some minor edits to early papers. These were constrained to updating the references, so that where papers were cited as ‘to appear’, this was replaced with the correct citation. It is a small amount of revisionism, but hopefully is more valuable than re-issuing with out-of-date citations.
We still need to set up the tag cloud effectively, and ensure the process of adding subscribers to the site runs smoothly. We also need to re-typeset our lecture course handouts, and also make more of the material available in a way that makes it easier to create your own course. Looking further out I am hoping we can create an online MOOC around geometric algebra, though that will have to wait for a while.
If you think of anything else you would like to see on this site please leave a comment below.