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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Types in Mathematica

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg62698] Re: Types in Mathematica
  • From: "Steven T. Hatton" <hattons at>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 00:46:01 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <> <dlp2ci$le$> <> <dls4vp$mmc$> <dm1ak3$i1n$> <dmjrb8$5u6$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Paul Abbott wrote:

> Actually, much of the thinking involved in mathematics and physics
> _transcends_ the kinds of thinking which programming experience can
> develop. Extensive knowledge of mathematics and physics definitely
> assists Mathematica programming, more so than in other languages because
> of the high-level functionality. The "physics" or "mathematics" way of
> thinking often assists implementations of algorithms in Mathematica.
> This is, I think, the key point of this thread.

I began to write the following as part of the other reply to the above
quoted posting.  I decided to create a second post so that the ideas
expressed herein would not be obscured with the ideas I presented in the
other post.

I believe most people here will agree that Mathematica is not a strongly
typed programming language.  In order for us to believe such a thing, we
have to have a notion, however vague, of a strongly typed variant of
Mathematica.  What I really wanted to get at in starting this thread is
what that strongly typed Mathematica might be, and what strengths and/or
flaws it would have.  

Rather than trying to address each of the items listed below right now, I am
going to post them as potential points of discussion.  I really cannot
address the questions myself without further thought.

What would a type system in Mathematica be?

What might be gained by having a type system in Mathematica?  

What might be lost?  

To what extent /does/ Mathematica have a type system?  

To what extent can a type system be implemented within Mathematica without
modifying the language?

How would a type system in Mathematica be similar to one in another

How would a type system in Mathematica differ from one in another language?

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