MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Recently, I'm tired of those theoretical parts on commuative algebra. So I hope that someone could recommend me some good textbooks on SINGULAR and Macaulay 2. And I'm wondering whether SINGULAR is better that Macaulay 2?

Thank you in advance!

share|cite|improve this question
Your question does not have an answer, for 'good' is not an absolute notion. Computer algebra systems are good or bad for specific purposes, and the best program in the universe for me might very well be completely useless for you! Maybe you could tell us want you want to do with SINGULAR or Macaulay, and someone knowledgeable with them can tell you which is the best fit. – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez May 3 '10 at 3:56
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Two remarks:

  • Macauly 2 and Singular share the same computational engine (singular) so none if them is "better" in any real sense

  • the best book+software combination I know of is COCOA plus the two volumes of "computational commutative algebra". My "issue" with the singular book is that it's too basic, and with the Macauly book that it's simply a compendium of articles, and not a real text book.

share|cite|improve this answer
Well, not all programming languages are equivalent in any meaningful sense, despite most of them being computationally equivalent! – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez May 3 '10 at 5:41
In my opinion, the usefulness of Singular program is very limited. For example, can we define a polynomial ring over a general noetherian ring(e.g. the integral ring Z)? – TmobiusX May 3 '10 at 7:18
@Mariano, point taken: Singular is indeed (more) aimed at people who want to write extensions, and Macauly at people who simply want to compute something. @Tmobius: whats wrong with "ring r 0,(x),ls" ? – David Lehavi May 3 '10 at 7:42
@David,Lehavi, what does "ring r0,(x)" mean? Could you explain it explicitly? – TmobiusX May 4 '10 at 1:39
As Bart Snapp points out in an answer, it is not true that Macaulay2 and Singular share the same computational engine. "Macaulay2's engine code for polynomials, Groebner bases, and free resolutions is its own, written by Mike Stillman. What is true is that Singular and Macaulay2 both use two libraries written by the Singular group: Singular-Factory and Singular-Libfac. Macaulay2 uses those libraries for factoring of polynomials, gcd of polynomials, characteristic series (which is the core of the algorithm for computing minimal primes)." [quoted from ] – Graham Leuschke May 24 '10 at 18:51

It is not true that Singular and Macaulay 2 use the same "computational engine (singular)"

As far as books are concerned -

"Computational Algebraic Geometry'', by Hal Schenck is fantastic. Cambridge University Press, (2003).

share|cite|improve this answer

In addition to the Macaulay 2 book, there's a book called "A Singular Introduction to Commutative Algebra" by Greuel and Pfister (developers of Singular). Both of these books are good for references, but the books by Cox, Little, and O'Shea are better for reading, I think.

share|cite|improve this answer
Do you mean the book titled "Ideals, varieties, and algorithms"? – TmobiusX May 3 '10 at 6:58
XX probably means that one and "Using Algebraic Geometry" – Charles Siegel May 3 '10 at 17:40
Well, thanks a lot! – TmobiusX May 4 '10 at 1:25

Also in the book: "Introduction to singularities and deformations" by Gruel, Lossen and Shustin, you can find a lot of material on Singular.

share|cite|improve this answer

I found this:

Computations in Algebraic Geometry with Macaulay 2

Series: Algorithms and Computation in Mathematics, Vol. 8 Eisenbud, D.; Grayson, D.R.; Stillman, M.; Sturmfels, B. (Eds.) 2002, XVI, 329 p., Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-540-42230-3

Which is available here:

share|cite|improve this answer
Thanks for your suggestion. – TmobiusX May 3 '10 at 7:02
You can find easily that book on line. – Michele Torielli May 3 '10 at 8:02
Thank you again! – TmobiusX May 4 '10 at 1:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.