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Re: Thinking Mathematica: Any suggestions?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg91695] Re: Thinking Mathematica: Any suggestions?
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 07:15:32 -0400 (EDT)

On 9/4/08 at 6:39 AM, eMartinSerrano at telefonica.net (E.
Martin-Serrano) wrote:

>In fact, there has been a lot of controversy in the forum about
>whether using procedural or functional programming or just a mix. My
>perception of the situation is that most users tend to prefer the
>procedural way (FORTRAN like) to the functional (APL like).
>Functional programs for complex problems tend to be awkward and
>difficult to grasp or modify.

I suspect the preference for procedural programming arises more
from prior usage than anything else. It seems most people learn
procedural programming techniques before learning other
techniques. And once you've spent time/effort learning something
that works there is a lot of reluctance to give up on those techniques.

And it may well be true functional programs are more difficult
to grasp or modify when used for complex problems.

But the undeniable fact is, performance of Mathematica code
using functional programming far surpasses Mathematica code
using procedural programming. So, if you are going to get the
most out of Mathematica, it is essential to get comfortable with
functional programming.


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