RE: Request for Collective Wisdom...
- To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
- Subject: [mg88553] RE: [mg88463] Request for Collective Wisdom...
- From: "Ingolf Dahl" <ingolf.dahl at telia.com>
- Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 04:14:03 -0400 (EDT)
- References: <200805061038.GAA22752@smc.vnet.net>
My humble contribution to the collective wisdom:
Do not forget to tell them about how to trace errors. The simplest way is
often to put print expressions into the code:
Print["localizing text", var];
to check a variable value. If you tell them about pure functions, a variant
of this theme is often useful. The expression
(Print["text ", #]; #) &@
can often be inserted inside expressions in appropriate places, without the
need of setting any variable value. It is a good example of the use of pure
functions and of printing as "side effect", not disturbing the computational
flow. For instance
Sin[(Print["mytext ", #]; #) &@ Sin[2.]]
ingolf.dahl at telia.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: W_Craig Carter [mailto:wcraigcarter at gmail.com]
> Sent: den 6 maj 2008 12:38
> To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
> Subject: [mg88463] Request for Collective Wisdom...
> (*Below is a request for suggestions for "hints for
> beginners. The preface is a bit long-winded" *)
> I am working on an applied math for physical scientists
> undergraduate text---I am using Mathematica as the engine to
> learn and solve problems quickly.
> I have an appendix that I have been creating (empirically)
> for a couple years: "Common Mathematica Beginners' Errors."
> This wasn't difficult.
> I am now considering how to write another Appendix:
> "Mathematica Usage Paradigms for Beginners." This one is not
> as straightforward because it will be a list of short
> sequences of Mathematica code. The size of the list should be
> a compromise between length, completeness, and "orthogonality."
> Some topics are obvious to (subjective) me: work symbolically
> and with exact representations; scale to remove units when
> possible; visualize often and when in doubt evaluate as a
> number; pure functions are power; avoid the outdoors unless
> you have applied the documentation, lists are your friends...
> Nota bene, this is a book for undergraduates who have just
> received the "physics, chemistry, and multivariable calculus"
> catechism, and
> (typically) don't appreciate that there are common themes in
> their education (think back...).
> (* Punchline: *)
> I would sincerely appreciate thoughtful (bullet-type)
> suggestions for paradigms. (off-line or on- as you please).
> PS: Implicit in this is what a dear friend called "The
> Homotopy Conjecture." Give me a small working example, and
> it can deformed into a complicated one for my own purposes.
> PPS: I expect a small fraction of snarky answers---I won't respond.
> W. Craig Carter
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