Sage Days 102: Nigeria University of Ibadan (Nigeria), July 15 -- July 19, 2019

Sage Days 102, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Main goals

The purpose of this event was to introduce students, lecturers, and reaserchers local to Nigeria, and some of the neighboring countries, to OpenDreamKit software, particularly Sage and GAP, as well as to improve their programming skills in general and foster interest in contributing to open source mathematics software.

OpenDreamKit implication

Much of the initial animation for the event was animated by Viviane Pons, though the only OpenDreamKit member to attend was Erik Madison Bray, whose travel was funded by the project. OpenDreamKit also funded travel for three other instructors from outside the project, as well as two PhD students who attended from neighboring countries outside Nigeria. All on-site facilities and logistics were funded by the University of Ibadan.

Event summary

Significant time was spent helping people install such software on their personal machines: A particular challenge in Nigeria where, as many attendees lacked reliable internet connections, even downloading the software could pose a challenge. The workshop was primarily organized as a series of introductory lectures, including on using the UNIX shell and basic Python programming, then moving on to more application-specific uses of Sage. This included topic-specific break-out sessions on numerical analysis, graph theory, and algebraic combinatorics. There were also successful break-out sessions on group theory and abstract algebra with GAP, and statistical analysis with R. Participants also gave short talks on some of their personal research and computational problems, and participated in a contest to design interactive widgets for the Jupyter notebook.

This workshop was a result of the Free Computational Mathematics conference at CIRM earlier the same year, which had three visitors from the University of Ibadan Department of Mathematics, and wanted to repeat the success of that workshop at their home institution.


Out of approximately 80 participants, most came from the University of Ibadan as well as a few other institutions in Nigeria, mostly in the southern and south-eastern regions of the country. Two students came from Ghana, as well as one from Congo. One instructor (originally from the United States) came from France, one (originally from Ghana) came from Austria, and one (originally from Benin) came from South Africa. About one third of the attendees were women, and there was a roughly equal mix of PhD students, postdocs, graduate students, and a smaller number of professors an undergraduate students.

Results and impact

A full report on the impact of this workshop can be read on our website: \centerline{}

As there are relatiely few opportunities for many students in Nigeria to travel outside the country, as there are few opportunities to meet with outside lecturers, it’s difficult to meet the demand for such opportunities. Thus one of the primary goals of this workshop was to disseminate the software itself, and to give a strong-enough introduction to it that attendees could in turn introduce their peers who were not able to attend, and to feel tapped into a broader international community of researchers interested in computational mathematics. To that end I believe we were successful, with 80 attendees rating their knowledge of Sage at 1 out of 5 before the workshop, and over 90 workshop. 83 been given the resources to continue to learning on their own, and to find help with Sage in the future, as well as that the workshop was helpful for them to build opportunities for collaboration with their peers.

Also, recognizing that one workshop was not enough to reach the demand for such training, a group of the attendees spent the week incorporating an organization (the strategy of which is still being developed) to build local sustainability for this kind of training in the future, without relying as much on (unfortunately rare) external support like that provided by OpenDreamKit.

Workshops and Conferences