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Re: Displaying steps

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg13644] Re: Displaying steps
  • From: Paul Abbott <paul at>
  • Date: Fri, 07 Aug 1998 19:19:38 +0800
  • Organization: University of Western Australia
  • References: <6qbqsi$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Norman E. LeMay, Jr. wrote:
> Hi, I was wondering if someone knew how to do the following in
> mathematica version 3.0.  I would like to use the command RowReduce on
> a matrix, but have it display all the steps to arrive at the final
> solution.  Also, I was wondering if the same can be done with
> Integrate.

A short answer is no: It is not possible to get the built-in Mathematica
routines to show all the steps in a computation.  There is the function
Trace which can be useful in some situations but this wont do what you
want.  As the Mathematica Book points out, in many cases algorithms
suitable for a computer are not sensible to do by hand and vice versa. 
As an example of this, Mathematica computes a wide range of definite
integrals using a convolution theorem for generalized hypergeometric
functions -- and the intermediate steps of such a computation are not
meaningful to most users.

A long answer is yes: because Mathematica is a programming language you
can implement any step-by-step computation as you would do it by hand. 
As an example of this approach, among the Mathematica 3.0 demos, there
is a "Step-by-Step Differentiation" example. To go directly to this
example, simple execute the following cell:

   FrontEndExecute[ FrontEnd`HelpBrowserLookup["GettingStarted", 
    "Step-by-Step Differentiation"]]


Paul Abbott                                   Phone: +61-8-9380-2734
Department of Physics                           Fax: +61-8-9380-1014
The University of Western Australia            Nedlands WA  6907       
mailto:paul at  AUSTRALIA              

            God IS a weakly left-handed dice player

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