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Thinking Mathematica: Any suggestions?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg91672] Thinking Mathematica: Any suggestions?
  • From: Tyler <hayes.tyler at gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 06:46:40 -0400 (EDT)

Hello All:

I have a very basic question, but one that I am struggling to come to
terms with myself. Let me give a bit of background to put the question
in context....

I am coming from a FORTRAN programming background, where I used things
like DISLIN or plplot to generate figures. Sometimes I would import
them into a visualization tool like IDL, but for the most part, I'm a
procedural programmer. Even worse, some say, a FORTRAN one at that!

Anyways, I've left academics after twelve years and decided to take
the plunge and purchase Mathematica 6. So far I am liking it; however,
there is still something of a learning curve here for me. I constantly
find myself looking at the For and Do constructs when attempting to
implement my algorithms. Obviously, I would like to start thinking in
"Mathematica" so as to take advantage of what the team at Wolfram has
done so I don't have to.

My problem is, most of the examples I find in the documentation are of
the simplest kind and I am having difficulty applying them to
something more than Newton's method. Perhaps something like Finite-
Difference/Finite Element "like" algorithms, where index manipulations
are key to proper results? Again, this could be because I have a
wealth of procedural algorithms that assume a particular approach.

Does anyone have any tips or insight into how they made the transfer
from a procedural paradigm to a more natural Mathematica one?

Cheers,

t.


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