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Re: Thinking Mathematica: Any suggestions?

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  • Subject: [mg91706] Re: Thinking Mathematica: Any suggestions?
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 02:06:13 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <> <g9r4dg$cvq$>

Tyler Hayes wrote:
> Thanks everyone for your comments. In my mind, the difficulties that I
> have (and perhaps others) is that I am accustomed to "seeing"
> explicitly the indices being manipulated. As such, when programming in
> Mathematica and using indexed values is more or less obviated by
> things such as Map, Apply, etc., keeping track sometimes becomes lost.
> Having said that, I am becoming more comfortable with Mathematica's
> approach, albeit slowly, and I suspect that with more practice it will
> sort itself out in the end.
> Cheers,
> t.

I know I will get flamed for saying this, but unless you will need high 
performance - not every Mathematica problem requires a lot of CPU - you 
may be best to start programming in a procedural way, and gradually 
start to learn functional programming later when you are more 
comfortable with Mathematica syntax.

You may have noticed that FORTRAN whole array operations execute little 
if any faster than an explicit DO loop. The differance with Mathematica 
is that because of the high level nature of Mathematica, there is an 
overhead associated with the execution of each step. Functional 
programming gains because it does a lot for very few individual steps.

David Bailey

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