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User:N. J. A. Sloane

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Neil James Alexander Sloane

I started collecting sequences when I was a graduate student at Cornell University in 1964.

"The Handbook of Integer Sequences" (Academic Press) appeared in 1973; it contained 2372 sequences.

"The Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences" (with Simon Plouffe; Academic Press) appeared in 1995; it contained 5487 sequences.

Sequences continued to pour in. When the database reached 10,000 sequences in 1996, I put it on the web as the "On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences" (the OEIS).

Over the next 15 years, new sequences arrived (and still arrive today) at a rate of 10,000 to 18,000 new sequences each year.

By 2009 the OEIS had grown to a point where it was difficult for one person to manage it. That year I set up a non-profit foundation to own, maintain and collect funds to support it. This is The OEIS Foundation Inc..

The next step was to set up a version of the OEIS which would run autonomously on a commercial web site, operating as a moderated wiki, and controlled by a board of editors. Unfortunately, 18 months ago we discovered that the standard mediawiki software was incapable of handling the kind of queries that the OEIS generates. This problem seemed unsurmountable, and I had almost given up hope that it would ever be solved.

But thanks to the enormous efforts of Russ Cox, who has completely rewritten all the OEIS software, the new OEIS was launched on Nov 11 2010. David Applegate has also been of great help in getting the new system working. At the time of the launch, the OEIS contained 180284 sequences. This means that after 46 years, I no longer have to process every single contribution to the database. Thank you, Russ and Dave: you have saved the OEIS!

For more information see my home page, where there are lists of books, publications, awards, etc.

For a brief vita see here.