MathGroup Archive 2001

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Re: PS.

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg29635] Re: PS.
  • From: Jens-Peer Kuska <kuska at>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 01:36:08 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Universitaet Leipzig
  • References: <9guo4t$nt8$> <9h1b0v$rki$> <9hc899$40j$> <9hetm2$6ka$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


> Senior members of the mathematical community still consider FORTRAN a viable
> solution to mathematical computing. 

There is a sharp difference between *numerical* and *mathematical*
Numerics in *not* mathematics. It is some kind of black magic.

> This has the following effects:
> a) Computer algebra systems are not adopted ...(the "why buy Mathematica,
> when you have FORTAN?" argument)

Huhhh ? Again numerics is not mathematics *and* Mathematica is *not* for
prior numerical work !

> b) Young researchers are forced to implement new techniques in FORTRAN, just
> so that their supervisors can understand their code...

It is always good when a supervisor understand the code of a student!
If the student don't like it, there should be other supervisors.

> c) ...which reinforces the choke-hold FORTRAN has on mathematics.
> d) Young mathematicians are introduced to Scientific Computation with the
> use of FORTRAN, which makes thinking in other paradigms (such as
> rules-programming or list-programming or even OOP) more difficult.

I can't see any  application of "rule based" or "logic" programming
in numerics. The rule search take a sufficient amount of time and it
is not a good idea to add this overhead to an numerical subroutine.

Needles to say that it is a  blessing that the students are not forced
use object oriented programming ! 

I don't like FORTRAN very much but if it keeps the students away
from OOP-plague it is the best argument to use FORTRAN more often !

I should start a FORTRAN programming course here -- or better two.


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