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MathGroup Archive 1996

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Re: What is Mathmatica

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg3199] Re: What is Mathmatica
  • From: bruck at pacificnet.net (Ronald Bruck)
  • Date: Sat, 17 Feb 1996 14:14:57 -0500
  • Organization: University of Southern California
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

In article <4fpe0r$f9r at dragonfly.wolfram.com>, tom_bates at city-net.com
(Thomas Bates) wrote:

:Although I have a general idea what Mathematica is I still wonder: if I used
:the program to learn calculus would I have learned the subject just as
:well as if I learned it the old fashion way?

I think you misunderstand what the role of computer algebra programs is in
learning mathematics.  They don't help you "learn" calculus, except in the
same sense that your pencil or your calculator help you learn calculus;
they are TOOLS, extremely powerful tools, which dramatically extend the
range of what a human can do, and provide rapid and convenient ways of
visualizing results.  They don't (yet...) remove the need for thought. 
The human can try out many more possibilities than he could with pencil
and paper, that's all.

I added the "yet..." because of Kasparov's loss in his first game.  With
256 parallel processors, just THINK of how a well-written symbolic algebra
program could anticipate your next move and have already finished the
calculation for you...  Well, back to reality...

--Ron Bruck
  Now 100% ISDN from this address

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