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On the foundation of Mathematica, was Re: Foo /: Plus[b_Foo] := b

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg114588] On the foundation of Mathematica, was Re: Foo /: Plus[b_Foo] := b
  • From: "Nasser M. Abbasi" <nma at 12000.org>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 06:01:48 -0500 (EST)

On 12/8/2010 3:40 AM, Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:

>
>
> The behaviour of these attributes is certainly not fully documented and
>  probably will never be. Why? I guess it is because it belongs to the very
>  foundations of the Mathematica language and I think there is nobody today
>  at Wolfram who still thinks about such issues but this is, of course,
>  just a guess. I think Allan's explanation will always remain as close as
>  anyone will ever come to explaining this matter.
>
> Andrzej Kozlowski
>

I was amazed to read the above.  Isn't the above scary to know?

You say somethings that "belongs to the very foundations of the Mathematica language", yet at the same time you say "not fully documented".

In other languages, there is always an "official Language reference manual"
that would contain in it _everything_ about the language.

So, what you are saying is that the Mathematica language/system is not
like that, and some of the deep knowledge of its foundations exists only
in the minds of few people in the world.

I worry about how will this knowledge be passed to others? What if
something happens to these few unique people or if they no longer
around or go do other things, will this knowledge about the foundation
of Mathematica go with it forever?

Isn't that knowledge needed any more to make changes? or is it like
the Tex program, frozen now forever at version 3.1415926, and no
changes will ever happen to it any more?

thank you,

--Nasser


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