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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: simple set operations

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg57745] Re: [mg57719] Re: [mg57702] Re: [mg57693] Re: [mg57669] Re: [mg57635] simple set operations
  • From: Edward Peschko <esp5 at pge.com>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 02:03:47 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <200506060821.EAA12535@smc.vnet.net> <NDBBJGNHKLMPLILOIPPOMEJMEIAA.djmp@earthlink.net>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

On Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 09:43:45AM -0400, David Park wrote:
> Edward,
> 
> Basically this is a tough nut to crack. The best way to learn Mathematica is to have the leisure to learn it or to just force one's self to take the time. The two groups of people I have sympathy for are students who are thrown into a technical course using Mathematica without ever really learning Mathematica, and professionals who are working on a deadline and suddenly decide they need something like Mathematica to complete their project. They want answers and aren't interested in becoming Mathematica gurus. But it's an unrealistic expectation.

I don't know for others, but Mathematica is not actually that bad for me. 
Perhaps its because I come from a lisp/perl/python background, but the special 
symbols and what they stand for don't really bug me.

Just comparing the three systems - as far as expressiveness goes, I think that 
perl has the edge, mainly because the syntax (IMO) is better thought out and 
tends to rely on more primitive constructions and is more amenable to beginners, 
but perl too has a bunch of special characters meaning special things which 
ease learning of mathematica.

And again, as far as programmability goes, again perl/python has the 
edge, because they were designed with programming in mind and have 
symbolic debuggers and IDEs.

However, as far as *functionality* goes, there are some things that 
you can do in mathematica which you simply can't do in either of the other 
two, which is why I want to learn it. 

My dream would be Mathematica written in perl6 and ported to parrot, 
because the syntax is IMO more well thought out and is designed to 
'learn from the mistakes' of 10 years of experience and the syntax 
could probably support pretty much all of mathematica's functionality.
Plus, mathematica could then learn from *its* mistakes, and simplify 
its expressions (as well as leverage off the feature set of perl5, 
perl6 and python).

However, as I don't have the thousands of man-years necessary to 
devote to this, I think I'll be content with what I have.. ;-)

Ed


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