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Re: Documentation

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg58263] Re: Documentation
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 01:56:20 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <d9gakq$srg$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:
> I guess I have been rather slow but I am gradually coming round to  
> the view that Mathematica's documentation leaves something to be  
> desired. For example:
> ?CoefficientDomain
> CoefficientDomain is an option for GroebnerBasis and  
> PolynomialReduce. Valid
> choices are Integers, Rationals, RationalFunctions, or Polynomials[var].
> However:
> ?InexactNumbers
> InexactNumbers is a setting for the CoefficientDomain option of  
> GroebnerBasis
> and PolynomialReduce.
> InexactNumbers are mentioned in the main documentation:
>   Possible settings for CoefficientDomain are InexactNumbers,  
> Rationals, RationalFunctions and Polynomials[x].
> but this is still quite hopeless as documentation as there is nothing  
> to tell the user that the proper usage is:
> GroebnerBasis[polys, vars, CoefficientDomain -> InexactNumbers[n]]
> where n is precision.
> No wonder that I am yet to meet a person that has heard of numerical  
> Groebner basis in Mathematica never mind anyone actually using it.
> Andrzej Kozlowski
> Chiba, Japan
My impression is that the documentation of kernel functions is generally 
excellent, but for some reason the FrontEnd is less well documented, and 
the packages are documented to an incredibly varied standard. For an 
extreme example, look at the description of the Tree widget inside the 

David Bailey

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