Re: Mathematica 7.0.1.0 and some General Comments

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg97509] Re: Mathematica 7.0.1.0 and some General Comments*From*: Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net>*Date*: Sat, 14 Mar 2009 05:42:00 -0500 (EST)

On 3/13/09 at 4:48 AM, mariano.suarezalvarez at gmail.com (Mariano Su=C3=A1rez-Alvarez) wrote: >But: the difference between "traditional" computation (I do not have >a better term...) and computation done using closed applications is >that in the first, at least in principle, there is complete openness >as to what was done, while in the second there is a party *actively* >withholding possibly relevant information. (The motivation for that >withholding is probably not confounding mathematicians all over the >globe; it is not difficult, e.g., to come up with a few possible >reasons which make WRI not keep an openly accessible list of bugs, >all more trite than world domination) The idea that an open source version of Mathematica (if it existed) would somehow give more assurance than the existing version really isn't valid. The lack of source code for Mathematica in no way prevents you from verifying any computation done with Mathematica. Mathematica's rich tool set gives you the tools to solve any computational problem without using any particular built-in function. That is you can replace any built-in function with Mathematic code using other functions. The only issue is your time and ability. The ability to replace any function with independent code gives you a method to validate any computation without having the source code. Further, most users have neither the time nor the knowledge needed to review the source code to find bugs. In fact, the time needed to review the source code adequately probably exceeds the time needed to validate a computation using a different approach/algorithm in many cases. And since bugs are simply instances of a computation giving incorrect results, an openly accessible bug list isn't needed any more than the source code. The only advantage I can see to an openly accessible bug list is that it might save time/effort spent verifying a given computation done in Mathematica is correct.