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Re: piecewise vs which

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  • Subject: [mg60246] Re: piecewise vs which
  • From: Helen Read <hpr at>
  • Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 04:53:37 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <dfm7e5$h84$>
  • Reply-to: read at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

David Park wrote:
> Helen,
> Mathematica is somewhere between being a toolkit for doing mathematics and a
> metatoolkit for making the tools to do mathematics. In any interesting
> application one will almost always have to add definitions and routines to
> obtain a convenient approach. I think this is a fact that students should
> learn, otherwise there is an invisible barrier blocking their way.
> If Mathematica had EVERY useful and convenient routine, then there would be
> billions of them and you wouldn't even be able to find the one you want.
> I grant that there is a matter of judgement on which routines should be
> 'built-in' but the problem will always be there and so users should just get
> used to writing additional definitions when they need them.

Of course, and I do it all the time, and teach my students to do this 
for themselves. It just seems to me that finding a two-sided limit in 
the Reals is a pretty basic thing that ought to be there when one wants it.

Just my opinion, and the opinion of several colleagues who were 
surprised when they first discovered that Limit was giving results that 
they did not want.

Helen Read
University of Vermont

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