This post is so Marc Culler and I can announce SnapPy, a computer program for studying hyperbolic structures on 3-manifolds. It is based on Jeff Weeks’ SnapPea kernel from his very influential program of the same name, written in the early 1990s for Macintosh computers. While Jeff’s program doesn’t work (except in emulation) on any computer you can buy today, SnapPy runs on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. SnapPy combines a link editor and 3D-graphics for Dirichlet domains and cusp neighborhoods with a powerful command-line interface based on the Python programming language.
You can download it here, and we put some effort in making it trivial to install for OS X and Windows, and reasonably easy on Linux. There are screenshots of it in action, or you can watch an 11-minute tutorial on YouTube. Unlike previous Python interfaces to the SnapPea, this one has decent documentation and also useful graphics. SnapPy can also be used within my favorite general purpose mathematical software package Sage and has some extra features there for dealing with finite covers.
SnapPy was written by Marc Culler and myself, using Jeff’s kernel code, and today we released version 1.0 (superseding 1.0a and 1.0b). If you successfully install SnapPy, or installed it earlier this summer, leave a note in the comments mentioning what type of system you’re using. (We test it on seven or eight different setups, but you never know what happens out there in the wild.) Enjoy!