MathGroup Archive 1992

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Mathematica and Q'Nial

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  • Subject: Mathematica and Q'Nial
  • From: jdr at (Jon Roland)
  • Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1992 14:09:26 -0800

Although new to Mathematica and to this list, I am already receiving a
lot of comment concerning Mathematica's strengths and shortcomings. Much
of the strength centers on its presentation capabilities and ease of
entering standard problems. Much of the shortcomings seems to center on
the underlying language.

I am not yet prepared to come to any firm conclusions until I get more
experience, however my first impressions are that the basic data model
is the nested array, and that the language would have benefited from
being based on Nested Interactive Array Language, or Nial, now
implemented as Q'Nial, an interpreter (or, if you prefer, an incremental
memory compiler). Q'Nial permits the user to easily move up and down the
ladder of abstraction, and to unpeel the layers to get at the underlying
semantics. It is in the tradition of APL, LISP, Prolog, and Forth, but
is much more powerful and elegant, and is based on a mathematical
theory, array theory, that can be used in place of set theory to build
all of mathematics. In Nial, everything is an array, and each element of
an array can be of any type, including another array. Well-formed
computer programs in almost any language are nested arrays, including
Nial programs. It might be described as the ultimate functional
language, both easy to learn and easy to do serious work in.

My thought is to use Q'Nial in conjuction with Mathematica, using each
to its best advantage. The combination should be especially powerful.

For more information about Q'Nial, contact

Nial Systems Ltd
155 Queen St 9th Flr
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P5C9
maj at

For free papers on array theory, ask for the papers of Dr. Trenchard
More on array theory from

IBM Cambridge Scientific Center
101 Main St
Cambridge, MA 02142
Attn: Publications

Versions of Q'Nial are available on MS-DOS and most Unix platforms.

          _/ _/_/_/   _/_/_/    /  Jon Roland
         _/ _/    _/ _/    _/  /  Starflight Corporation
        _/ _/    _/ _/_/_/    /  1755 E Bayshore Rd #9A
 _/    _/ _/    _/ _/   _/   /  Redwood City, CA 94063-4142
  _/_/   _/_/_/   _/    _/  /  415/361-8141
                           /  jdr at,jdr at

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