Re: Language vs. Library why it matters / Turing

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg61612] Re: Language vs. Library why it matters / Turing*From*: Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu>*Date*: Sun, 23 Oct 2005 05:46:39 -0400 (EDT)*Organization*: University of California, Berkeley*References*: <dipr57$hfl$1@smc.vnet.net> <200510180645.CAA11285@smc.vnet.net> <dj4p5f$gpf$1@smc.vnet.net> <200510200456.AAA16940@smc.vnet.net> <djcvu8$epr$1@smc.vnet.net>*Sender*: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Andrzej Kozlowski wrote: > ... snip... >> RJF claims Mathematica is not deterministic. > > > Most of these are bugs. So some of the non-determinisms are not bugs but .. features? The issues arising from a change that takes > place due to a change in algorithm should be solved by better > documentation. There are also issues of different behaviour on > different platforms due to the use of TimeConstrained. These are > harder to deal with (probably one would need to somehow estimate the > speed of the CPU starting of Mathematica.) I do not think that this is the totally of the non-determinism. By in any case, all of > this concerns the "mathematical" aspects of Mathematica No, look at Maxim's reports. Also note that data structures like lists or tables show peculiar behavior independent of mathematics. and I thought > you supported the notion of "core language" (your brilliant idea of > Atica that is supposed to make you rich at SW's expense), and that > the math functions do not belong to that. I was not planning my retirement based on that. So which one you are > objecting to teaching in a first programing course, Mathematica the > CAS or Atica the programming language? Atica, the programming language. I think it is reasonable to have students learn Mathematica, as a tool, in a different course. > > >> Actually, I remember from the days when I tried programming in >> >> >>>other languages (including C) that they would also produce >>>unpredictable results if you violated the official syntax (one would >>>sometimes get correct and sometimes incorrect output). >>> >> >>Unpredictable by you because you don't know enough about the language >>is different from >>Unpredictable by anyone because the language implementation varies >>according to (say) where in memory the pages are loaded. >> > > > Fail to see much difference as far as the use is concerned. In other words, you think that "Andrzej can't do X" means "It is impossible to do X". > > > >>I know of no first-programming-language courses in American >>universities >>that use Mathematica. I think it would be fine to teach Mathematica >>in an engineering problem-solving symbolic/numeric course to students >>who already know how to program. Nancy Blachman taught such a course >>at Stanford. I believe it was not open to Computer Science majors. >>(I even lectured once in it!) >>But most computer scientists would, I think, object to teaching >>mathematica as a program language as such. > > > This is merely an unsupported assertion. 1. I think I might have heard of a university teaching Mathematica as a first programming language. The most plausible would be Univ. Illinois, where Jerry Uhl is a big fan. But I think he is in Math, not Computer Science. A brief search using Google came up with a book, (with Sam Kamin as one of the authors) but no signs of course adoption. The fact is, I know of no course. Are you doubting this statement? I can also make such > assertions but what is the point? You could assert that there is a computer science course in the USA using Mathematica as a first language. But is it in a secret place, and you can't reveal it? Obviously Mathematica is primarily > what is somewhat misleadingly called a CAS. > Most computer scientists > do not know its programming language and it is my impression most > programmers tend to object to teaching languages they are not > comfortable with. teachers of intro programming language courses have to balance many criteria for choosing a particular language. Mathematica fails on a number of criteria, and unfamilarity is not even on my short list. > > But obviously I meant a first programming course for mathematicians > and scientists. I think that mathematicians and scientists should gain an appreciation of computer programming, data structures, and computer arithmetic that is on a firmer basis than that used in Mathematica. Afterward they can learn about CAS. YOu might see what you can find out about a project at Sun Microsystems regarding a new programming language for science, called Fortress. Maybe a superset of Mathematica. > > Andrzej Kozlowski > Tokyo, Japan > > >

**References**:**Re: Language vs. Library why it matters / Turing***From:*Richard Fateman <fateman@cs.berkeley.edu>

**Re: Language vs. Library why it matters / Turing***From:*Richard Fateman <fateman@cs.berkeley.edu>