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MathGroup Archive 1992

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Re: What should Mma be, part II

  • To: mathgroup at yoda.physics.unc.edu
  • Subject: Re: What should Mma be, part II
  • From: alex at fff.chem.utah.edu (Alex Dommasch)
  • Date: Fri, 11 Dec 92 15:23:31 MST

wiscombe at climate.gsfc.nasa.gov (Warren Wiscombe) says:

>  The principle of using a collection of sharp tools rather than one blunt
>sledgehammer is a triumph of modern computing philosophy.  To roll back the
>clock, and ask Mma to be the Symphony of the 1990s, is to betray everything
>we have learned about computing.

[+ lots of other good comments]

I would have to agree.  However, for all these tools to work, you need an  
infrastructure of some sort, like Unix was (and is).

We are on the verge of a fundamental change in how we deal with information.   
Some new object-oriented type of system is going to emerge and become the  
infrastructure upon which everything else (well, maybe not everything) is based.

OS's like NeXTStep stand a good chance of doing it, because it now runs on  
NeXT's and 486's, and could be ported to other systems quite easily.  I believe  
Mathematica could also play a role, because it is a fairly comprehensive package  
that handles many types of information in a flexible way, and it also runs on  
many platforms.  One could envision future microprocessors being designed to  
make Mma run efficiently, just as in the past they have been designed to run  
compiled C code efficiently.

Since in Mma, you only load the packages you will use, and the kernels are  
separate from the front-ends, you already have the underpinnings of a modular  
toolkit (although the parts could be less closely-coupled than they are now).

With furthur work, and better front ends, Mma *could* become the work  
environment of the future.

Just my $.02

--
D. A. (Alex) Dommasch, Programmer
Field-Flow Fractionation Research Center
Department of Chemistry, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
(801)581-7168           FAX: (801)581-4353
alex at fff.chem.utah.edu (NeXT Mail)





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