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Re: error with Sum and Infinity

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg102439] Re: error with Sum and Infinity
  • From: Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 06:06:56 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <h5jdfe$152$1@smc.vnet.net>

Bill Rowe wrote:

(snip)

> But I am reasonably
> certain the set of mathematicians that understand computer
> programming is a great deal smaller than the set of new
> Mathematica users. In fact, based on posts I see here it would
> appear many new users lack much depth of understanding for
> either computer programming or mathematics.

1.  I suspect that most children understand at least a little about 
computer programming, so most mathematicians probably understand a 
little, nowadays. Whether they are confused by functions vs Functions, 
who knows.

2. A user of mathematica who posts something on this newsgroup is even 
more likely to understand a little about programming. At least the kind 
of programming that consists of bringing up screens, filling in blanks, 
and clicking buttons.  This is, I suspect, a lot of what passing for 
programming these days.

3. I doubt that this newsgroup is read by most mathematica users. It 
seems that a certain percentage who post here do not read it, but merely 
post an ignorant question, impatiently wait for the answer, and then 
leave. (I, for one, skip it for months or perhaps years at a time.)

4.  There are obviously users of mathematica who do not use or 
understand the documentation. This does not mean it is acceptable to 
have inadequate documentation, or to implement functionality that cannot 
or is not explained (SymbolicSumThreshold is the current example.)

RJF


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