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MathGroup Archive 1996

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Re: 3.0 = Rip Roaring Resource Hog :-(

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg5149] Re: [mg5094] 3.0 = Rip Roaring Resource Hog :-(
  • From: Mark Evans <evans at gte.net>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 01:33:23 -0500
  • Organization: None
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Jens-Peer Kuska wrote:
> 
> You must keep in mind that Mathematica is
> a Computer-Algebra System and *not*
> 
> - a data analysis system
> - graphics system
> 
> Yes, You can use it for data analysis and graphics and You can
> eat ice cream with a knife. You can`t have the poverfull general programming
> language *and* the most compact data representation for Your private
> kind of data.
> 
> And so, please WRI keep all your efforts on the general data structure
> and the powerfull programming language -- dont mind about memory
> (its cheep and will become cheeper every day).
> 
> Jens
> 
> PS: I use Mma over years to process my data from particle/plasma
> simulations.





Oh, come on...eating ice cream with a knife?  You think that 500 KB of data is 
too much to ask of a program like Mathematica?

You'd better tell WRI marketing that Mathematica is not a data analysis package! 
 They are trying to make money selling it as such!

As you indicate, customized routines and data structures are often called for.  
That is why you write C instead of Mathematica code for your simulation work.

What I am pointing out is that certain types of data, such as arrays, are so 
common that they merit customized routines inside Mathematica, and should be 
treated as special objects in their own right, not as partakers of the 
"generalize everything" concept.  I feel the same way about file I/O.

To take a particular example, the two dimensional numerical matrix should have 
its own object spec and not always have to be represented as a "generalized list 
of generalized lists."

Your comment about memory is silly; there is no reason to waste resources even 
if they are plentiful.

I would prefer if Mathematica would let me, the user, decide just how much 
generality to sacrifice to memory and time constraints.  If Mathematica had an 
object like ByteArray[], then I myself could choose whether to put my data into 
a List[] or ByteArray[], depending on my needs.  Programs like LabVIEW, for 
example, let the programmer decide about the data type but still handle the 
underlying memory management and loop iteration issues for him.

That's emPOWerment!

Mark



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