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Re: Mathematica and Lisp

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  • Subject: [mg129712] Re: Mathematica and Lisp
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 05:52:19 -0500 (EST)
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On 05/02/2013 08:06, Richard Fateman wrote:

> Here are some thoughts, though of course "proving" the correctness of
> anything, whether a program or a proof of a theorem continues to be
> an area for research.
> I'd feel better about using software which had these characteristics:
> 1. A formal rigorous definition of syntax and semantics.
> 2. More than one implementation, perhaps one that is open source.
> 3. Widely available and widely used by top practitioners of
> (for instance) scientific numerical computation.
> 4. Perhaps standardized by a committee responsive to the
> rigors of ANSI or IEEE.
> 5. Excellent error checking, debugging, profiling tools.
> I suppose I could think of more.
> How many of these are lacking in Mathematica?

Well I guess we would all love perfect software, and perfect hardware 
with infinite performance, but I am really quite curious as to what 
practical advice you would give to someone with the sort of 
symbolic/numerical problem that Mathematica is good at - what would you 
tell them to use? (I don't quite know if mentioning other products in 
this context is permitted here, but do you even have an existing piece 
of software in mind?)

As regards standardizing committees, I don't think their efforts have 
always been positive. For example, I would say that Fortran 77 has not 
been improved by the later standards, that added enormous complexity, 
and a certain unpredictability in the performance of the more 'advanced' 

David Bailey

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