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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Why does Mathematica 5.0 fail where Mathematica 4.1 works ?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg46996] Why does Mathematica 5.0 fail where Mathematica 4.1 works ?
  • From: Oleksandr Pavlyk <pavlyk at>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 01:35:49 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Penn State University; Department of Physics
  • Reply-to: pavlyk at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


I was looking at excellent talk by Daniel Lichtblau
"Tactics for solving equations in Mathematica" from

In the "Tricky Solve problem" chapter we find the

   k = E;
   Solve[ { y == x^y , y == k }, x ]

So here are outputs in the freshly started notebooks in
two versions of Mathematica

Mathematica 4.1 on Solaris returns


and Mathematica 5.0 on Windows returns


where y is an unknown variable.

Both versions complain that inverse functions were used and hence
some solution maybe lost. See output from 5.0 attached below.

I would not be surprised of somebody tells me this bug has been fixed
in 5.0.1. In fact this is what happened with all earlier bug reports
posted on this mailing list.

I must ask our sysadmin if our departmental subscription
qualifies for a free upgrade to Mathematica 5.0.1. ;)

I can't help but feel that Mathematica should provide bug
(not limitation) fixing patches for Mathematica users free
of charge. But that's me...



5.0 for Microsoft Windows (June 11, 2003)

sol = x /. First[Solve[{y == x^y, y == E}, x]]

 From In[2]:=
   RowBox[{\(Solve::"ifun"\), \(\(:\)\(\ \)\), "\<\"Inverse functions are
       being used by \\!\\(
       Solve\\), so some solutions may not be found; use Reduce for 
complete \
solution information. \\!\\(\\*ButtonBox[\\\"More?\\\", \
ButtonStyle->\\\"RefGuideLinkText\\\", ButtonFrame->None, \


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