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Re: Memory Blowup Issues

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg126885] Re: Memory Blowup Issues
  • From: Ralph Dratman <ralph.dratman at gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2012 15:27:05 -0400 (EDT)
  • Delivered-to: l-mathgroup@mail-archive0.wolfram.com
  • References: <jqsa3j$dej$1@smc.vnet.net>

Mathematica's language could certainly be easier to learn than it is
now. I don't know whether it will actually become the world's easiest
computer language -- but that is certainly a worthy goal.

There are two problems which form part of the learning difficulty, yet
have nothing to do with the language structure itself:

1) The difficulty of finding out how to accomplish some task. This is
a documentation and search problem. I have less trouble with that
issue now, but it was very hard at the beginning. The documentation
search is frustratingly slow -- surely an unnecessary situation.

2) The difficulty of debugging, as a result of the frequency of
crashes. This simply makes trying things much slower. Fortunately, an
enormously helpful change is given by the following:

messageHandler = (If[Last[#],  Interrupt[] ] &); (* Create a message handler. *)
Internal`AddHandler["Message", messageHandler]; (* Install the handler. *)

The above makes Mathematica stop on any error, promptly. Debugging
time is now a fraction of what it was for me only a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately there are still situations in which I have to quit the
kernel or force-quit the application entirely. This becomes necessary
when there has been no message issued during evaluation, and, for
unknown reasons, the Interrupt menu item appears as disabled. I do not
know what makes that happen. There should always be a way out.

Ralph



On Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM, Szabolcs Horv=E1t <szhorvat at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2012.06.08. 9:37, Bill Rowe wrote:
>>
>> On 6/7/12 at 5:22 AM, ralph.dratman at gmail.com (Ralph Dratman) wrote:
>>
>>> Taming the experience of using the software, especially for
>>> new users, would be of enormous benefit to the company, since the
>>> software might then reach a far wider audience.
>>
>>
>> Maybe this would benefit Wolfram. It isn't obvious. If there
>> were no additional costs associated with reaching a wider
>> audience (i.e., selling more licenses) there is a clear benefit.
>> But there are costs such as programming resources to provide the
>> "taming" you have in mind. An even if this entailed no
>> additional programming resources, more licenses sold will mean
>> more people wanting support and increased support costs. I don't
>> know what tradeoff Wolfram would want in this regard. But I am
>> sure reaching a wider audience doesn't come without additional cost.
>>
>>> It seems possible to me that Mathematica, in a slightly different
>>> form and possibly under a different name, could become for today's
>>> computers what Basic was for the Apple II and the IBM PC.
>>
>>
>> This almost certainly won't happen with Mathematica. BASIC was
>> designed to be a beginner's programming language. Mathematica is
>> designed to be a very powerful mathematical toolset. And it
>> seems clear Wolfram intends to increase the power of this
>> toolset and extend it to additional areas of computation. To
>> really make effective use of Mathematica you really need a solid
>> understanding to mathematics and numerical computation, quite a
>> bit deeper understanding than what is required for something
>> like BASIC.
>>
>> True, if all you do with Mathematica is use it as a super
>> scientific calculator, you don't need any deeper understanding
>> than what would be required for BASIC. But, I would strongly
>> argue this isn't making significant use of Mathematica's
>> capabilities. There are far less expensive solutions for such
>> calculations that are much easier to master than Mathematica. Of
>> course, these lack the power Mathematica offers.
>>
>>
>
> You might find this interesting:
>
> http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/qisot/im_stephen_wolfram_mathematica_nks_wolframalpha/c3xz8by
>
> Quoting the last paragraph:
>
> "It'll probably be related to my goal in the next year or two of making
> Mathematica definitively the world's easiest to learn language..."
>
> --
> Szabolcs Horv=E1t
> Visit Mathematica.SE:  http://mathematica.stackexchange.com/



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