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Re: Warsaw Univ. course, was Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!

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  • Subject: [mg130994] Re: Warsaw Univ. course, was Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!
  • From: David Bailey <dave at removedbailey.co.uk>
  • Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2013 00:27:53 -0400 (EDT)
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On 01/06/2013 11:06, Richard Fateman wrote:
>
> I have no objection to a data type that might reasonably be called
> Vector, or perhaps Sequence, that implements a data structure that uses
> sequential storage.  I object to calling it List.

Indeed, the essence of your criticism seems to be merely that 
Mathematica gives a slightly different technical meaning to the English 
word 'List' than that of Lisp!

If the head of a Mathematica list was LinkedList, you might have a 
point, as it is, your criticism is absurd. I might as well claim that 
either the physics concept of field or the pure maths concept of a field 
is wrong because they are not the same!

If anything, Mathematica's use of the term 'List' is a little closer to 
its English meaning, in as much as you can access its elements in random 
order - just as you can with a shopping list!

John McCarthy didn't get to coin the computer science meaning of the 
word 'List' for ever more! Indeed, perhaps the very fact that he chose 
the word 'List', rather than something more descriptive like 'Chain' 
meant that he wanted people to concentrate on what it represented, 
rather than just on how it was implemented.

David Bailey
http://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk





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