A short account of how the MuPAD project at Paderborn University was closed down.
The following documentation was written after I discovered that nobody to whom I told the happenings leading to the present situation of the MuPAD project could believe anything I said.
The MuPAD-Research group is part of the AutoMATH-Institute, whose founding at the University of Paderborn was approved by the state of NW (Northrhine-Westfalia). After rapid progress in developing the computer-algebra system MuPAD, on suggestion of the department of Science and Education, then headed by the Minister Mrs. Anke Brunn as a commercial arm of these developments the company SciFace was created.
The idea was, that only with a commercial arm, MuPAD would have the necessary access to IT-funding. I agreed to that, although my initial interest in creating such a system, apart from the conviction that we need CAS with European identity, was furthermore that I wanted to create something worthwhile that, besides my mathematical papers, would be left from my work to Paderborn University. In order to achieve that goal I also was willing to put a considerable part of my family fortune in the new company. My initial intentions were laid down in a paper - these have not changed much since then, however the climate and the environment in which these intentions grew have changed dramatically since then.
This idea paid of insofar, as several millions DM of funding by the state of NW and the federal republic were solicited for the development of MuPAD, and I became convinced that without such funding such a an extensive development cannot be achieved. However, all this only was possible by putting more an more money from my family fortune into the project which I happily did, co-financing the public funding. During the following years MuPAD was always hailed by the ministers of Science, Education of Technology (Brunn, Behler, Kraft) as well as the minister for schools and education (Schäfer) as an exemplary development proving the successful technology policy of the state.
At the end of 2003 it became clear that my university would discontinue the AutoMATH-Institute after my retirement, and had no interest
in pursuing the MuPAD development. Although I was disappointed about that, I should leave no doubt that
Since CAS cannot (or should not) be developed without close contact to the scientific community, I started in summer 2004 to plan for a transfer of the scientific activities to some other university. The early date is explained by the fact, that for a controlled transfer of knowledge at least eighteen month were necessary. Looking for a suitable partner, I wanted to start first with German institutions, then with European ones.
Of course, because of the special interest of the state of NW, the funding the project had received by that state, and because I am a loyal employee of that state, the state of NW had to be given the right of first refusal. To that aim I wrote on August 20, 2004, 2004 to the minister Mrs. Kraft. I appended to that letter an advertisement, which I wanted to use for finding a suitable partner (apart from using my own contacts to the scientific community). This letter was sent on its official way (Dienstweg), a procedure required in Germany, in order that the administrations in between are aware of what is going on. This procedure however is only meant for information, this even more in a case where the letter is sent to ones direct superior (as the minister in my case).
To make a long story short this letter never reached its destination, even after more than one year, I do not know if it ever was delivered to the ministry.
This is what happened: First, my University asked me to be so kind to make some changes, to which I agreed, if reasonable changes were suggested. When it turned out that they were not reasonable, I took efforts to explain why the sugegsted changes were not reasonable, and I asked the rector then for immediate delivery.
Then on, December 23, some month later, I was told by the rector, that my letter was intercepted and that the University was not willing to let pass such a letter to my direct superior the minister, neither now nor in the future. The rector emphasized that he chose his course of action in close contact to my department. Now I was rendered incommunicado with respect to having contact to our main funding source.
The lawyer I consulted, voiced the opinion that the actions by my university are punishable by the German penal code. However, instead of involving the district attorney, I tried to resolve the matter within the given administrative structures, and my lawyer asked the minister for disciplinary actions against the rector. Later on we substantiated our position. After month came the disappointing reaction. Since this answer was based on false information we pointed that out to the minister Frau Kraft. Months later, on August 16, 2005 came an 11-line answer, in which it was stated that now new arguments were presented from our side and that the discussions with me for the continuation of the MuPAD project were still under way, a claim as wrong as it can be.
Some politicians tried to help me and the MuPAD project, this led to a parliamentary inquiry by the liberals in the state parliament. The answer of the minister Frau Kraft to that also was disappointing, this insofar, as she neither answered all questions, nor was her answer correct where she answered the questions.
However, I would like to express my extreme gratitude to the former member of state Parliament Dr. Daniel Sodenkamp, FDP, and to the present member of state parliament Christian Lindner, FDP, for all their efforts to provide help to me and the MuPAD project. Also the member of the federal parliament Simone Probst, Green party, tried to help, but her natural ally for that, the Regierungspräsident of our region, was voted out of power. The contacts to other politicians were very disappointing, I did not receive permission to document these contacts here.
This is completely impossible to understand, even more as my letter from August 20, 2004 was neither offensive nor did it misrepresent the facts or the situation. The answer to the question why any academic institution does everything in order to make impossible the continuation at another place of a project they do not want to continue, can only be guessed, and this guess can only be made by somebody who knows the intellectual environment I am living in. However such a guess cannot be quantified. I should add, that in all its publications and reports that were given in the past to the outside, the University of Paderborn always pointed with pride to the MuPAD project.
The reader of the lines above may ask, why I did not include here any letters of the rector, the chancellor, the dean, the head of department, because these certainly must exist in response to my very detailed letters and lines of reasoning. The answer is: such letters do not exist, there is no written document giving any indication of the position of my University. In my nightmares it looked like someone was out to destroy the MuPAD project and was very careful not to leave any traces whatsoever.
There is however one letter of the rector from January 10,2005 to my lawyer, but I am certain that I am not permitted to publish this letter here. Because for the case of publication of any document damaging to the university the chancellor of my University threatened me with serious legal repercussions, a thread I take very serious. However, since it certainly is not illegal to publish my own letters, I append here a document from which the nature and the quality of my discussion with the chancellor can be seen.
All documents which exist, are mentioned here explicitly, and if I have permission to publish them, I will append them here. If any written statement explaining the position of my university is available thereafter, then I will gladly append it in the weeks to come.
My lawyer mentioned in his statements that the actions of my university maybe punishable according to paragraph 246 (Unterschlagung) or, more probably,
according to paragraph 274 (Urkundenunterdrückung) of the German penal code. This is convincing to me. However, it is not so simple to
determine who is responsible. The rector claims that it was his decision which he derived at in close contact with my department.
The head of my department however claimed that he advised the rector to let my letter pass. And formally responsible for
the functioning of the Dienstweg is the chancellor of the university. So pressing criminal charges may not lead to anything.
So best is to take these actions as "volonté générale", which comes close to describing the intellectual
climate in my university towards the MuPAD
project. And this "volonté générale" led to willful destruction.