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Re: Mathematica and Lisp

About your last sentence......."
It might almost be better to train students on slightly faulty software
to make them more vigilant!"

I've often wondered about teaching Science  with as much 'wrong' as 
possible.....How many of the students would actually perk up and say  'hey , 
wait a minute'  instead of just adding more useless information to their 
notes and brains....

jerry blimbaum

-----Original Message----- 
From: David Bailey
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 4:52 AM
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg129717] Re: Mathematica and Lisp

On 06/02/2013 06:51, Richard Fateman wrote:

> One of the marvels of computing today is that it is possible to do so
> much in such a short time.
> One can execute billions of instructions a second.  If only
> one in a million does the wrong thing, and is wrong only
> by a tiny percent,  you can accumulate a whopping mistake
> in a second.

When I have given introductory Mathematica courses, one of the things I
would point out early on, was that you should never implicitly trust
Mathematica to get an answer that was important to you.

By that, I did not mean what you seem to mean - that Mathematica was
particularly buggy - because it is not, but every substantial piece of
software contains some faults, and fingers contain bugs too - so it is
easy to mistakenly type something like:


and be be amazed by the answer. Likewise, systems of equations can be
numerically unstable and generate junk.

It might almost be better to train students on slightly faulty software
to make them more vigilant!

David Bailey

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