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Re: Comparison between Mathematica and other symbolic systems

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg92576] Re: Comparison between Mathematica and other symbolic systems
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 04:14:25 -0400 (EDT)

On 10/5/08 at 6:06 AM, siegman at stanford.edu (AES) wrote:

>In article <gc7fsf$eo7$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
>Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

>>On 10/3/08 at 6:41 AM, awnl at gmx-topmail.de (Albert Retey) wrote:

>>>When choosing a system, I think one needs to answer these
>>>questions:

>>>1) can the system solve the problem at hand 2) how much effort is
>>>it to feed the problem to the system 3) how efficient is the
>>>system in calculating the solution

>>Which really says 2) is the most important consideration. But I
>>would expand 2) to be the amount of time to input the problem *and*
>>verify the input has been done correctly. In my experience, the
>>time to verify/debug input is by far where most of the effort is
>>spent.

>No mention at all of "how easy it is to learn to use the system"
>(and remember how to use it between infrequent uses) ?!?!?!?

The current version of Mathematica has more than 2900 built-in
symbols, with many of these having long lists of options. I
would expect any other system with capabilities equivalent to
Mathematica to have a similarly long list of built-in commands
and options. This number of commands and options is far too long
for infrequent users to remember. It would require a significant
reduction in this number to enable easy recall by infrequent
users. But that also implies a significant reduction in capability.

It is very hard to see how another system with equivalent
capability to Mathematica could be significantly easier for
infrequent users.


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