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Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!

A metric does not give you an "ordering", of course: it only gives you a 
distance between numbers. A norm (which is a mathematical formulation of 
the concept of "size") does give an ordering (a norm defines distance 
but distance does not necessarily come from a norm): you can always says 
that an object comes before another object if the  norm of the former 
object is smaller than that of the latter. But the kind of orderings 
that one is interested in, in the context of algebraic structures such 
as complex numbers and real numbers are those that are compatible with 
these structures. In other words, you want things like
 if a< b then a+x< b+ x etc.  And this is what you can't get in the case 
of complex numbers. There is no way to define < that will satisfy such 
rules. (Note that |a|<|b| does not imply that |a+x|<|b+x|, for example.)

That's a pretty trivial fact, which does not need any any advanced 
mathematics or MathWorld.

Also, it has completely no relation to the size of complex numbers (they 
are simply 2 dimensional vectors and they have the natural concept of 
size taught in high school), and, needless to say, all this discussion 
has exactly zero relevance to the function Chop.

Andrzej Kozlowski

On 19 May 2013, at 11:50, ?iso-8859-1?Q?JE1nos_L=F6bb?= <janos at> wrote:

> I can imagine the following "natural" ordering of complex numbers.
> Imagine the Riemann sphere and take a real number epsilon, epsilon <<1.  Then start to 'peel' this Riemann sphere, like an orange from the (0,0,1) point down to the (0,0,0) point and lay it down on the 2 dimensional plane.  You will get a Cornu spiral with thickness epsilon.  Then you can define an epsilon-metric on it by selecting one of the end points and define the the 'distance' as the length of the curve from that end point.   You can get the real distance by tending with epsilon to 0.  Then you will have a "natural" metric and with that an ordering of the complex numbers.
> So the process is to project the complex number to the Riemann sphere and find where it is placed on the above described 0-thickness Cornu spiral.
> J=E1nos
> On May 18, 2013, at 2:40 AM, Andrzej Kozlowski <akozlowski at> wrote:
>> But of course they do not have an ordering. But they do have size! A
>> complex number has length: called its modulus. A complex number can be
>> very small: when its modulus is small, and very large. Of course there
>> are uncountably many complex numbers with the same modulus and you can't
>> order them. But it is possible to decide whether a complex number is
>> close to the real line or not, there is no need for any ordering here.
>> By the way, Mathworld is of course quite correct here but honestly and
>> with all modesty, I do not consider it more authoritative on this topic
>> than myself.
>> Andrzej Kozlowski
>> On 17 May 2013, at 11:49, Peter Klamser <klamser at> wrote:
>>> says:
>>> "Unlike real numbers, complex numbers do not have a natural ordering,
>>> so there is no analog of complex-valued inequalities. This property is
>>> not so surprising however when they are viewed as being elements in
>>> the complex plane, since points in a plane also lack a natural
>>> ordering."
>>> Peter
>>> 2013/5/17 Andrzej Kozlowski <akozlowski at>:
>>>> On 16 May 2013, at 09:28, Peter Klamser <klamser at> wrote:
>>>>> This is an interesting discussion. But if it can be useful, we have to
>>>>> make short proposals. Nobody has the time to read long texts.
>>>>> A) First proposal: Identify useless or false constructions in Mathematica
>>>>> aa) Eliminating Chop[] for complex numbers. Complex numbers are
>>>>> oderless and therefore nobody call estimate, weather the distance of 1
>>>>> + 10^-google i to the real numbers is small or big.
>>>> You are mistaken. The issue of order and the issue of distance are entirely different and unrelated. The complex numbers are  a one dimensional complex Hilbert space with the standard inner product, hence a (complete) metric space. The distance between two complex numbers is well defined and so it the distance of a complex number from the real line. Also, it would be crazy if Mathematica itself decided that complex numbers which are sufficiently close to the real line are actually real one. This sort of thing should be left to the user (obviously!) and this is exactly what Chop does (it has a second argument, you know).
>>>> If I understand your suggestion correctly, it is probably the worst suggestion for an "improvement" in Mathematica I have ever read on this forum.
>>>> Fortunately, it is 100% sure that it will be ignored as all such suggestions usually are.
>>>> Andrzej Kozlowski
>>>>> Chop[] is the
>>>>> result of Mathematica design, that it presents often complex results, where
>>>>> real values are the simpler result and can be reached by
>>>>> ComplexExpand[].
>>>>> The simplest solution is always the best solution.
>>>>> B) Mathematica should be integrated seamless in Tex without using copy and
>>>>> paste. The should be the cell type Tex, and the printout and save
>>>>> modus Tex, where all other cells are suppressed.
>>>>> Peter
>>>>> 2013/5/15 Szabolcs Horv=E1t <szhorvat at>:
>>>>>> While some individual points are debatable, I also completely agree
>>>>>> with David's main message.  Mathematica needs more focus, particularly
>>>>>> some work on stability and robustness.  Even if it would come at a cost
>>>>>> of new features (there are many features I'd like to see, but you can't
>>>>>> have everything).
>>>>>> Re: "if I click in an existing Input cell and do a line return the
>>>>>> Messages window opens with a contact WRI if this happens message"
>>>>>> This bug (on OS X) is really annoying when typing code in another
>>>>>> language in a Mathematica string.  If will sometimes completely ruin
>>>>>> the typed text if I press return several times while inside a string.
>>>>>> It's a bit ironic that this bug appeared in the same release which
>>>>>> brought us RLink (which I'm using these days, i.e. I'm typing a lot of
>>>>>> R code inside Mathematica strings).
>>>>>> On 2013-05-12 07:28:34 +0000, djmpark said:
>>>>>>> (I've renamed this and started a new thread because my reply is not exactly
>>>>>>> to the question.)
>>>>>>> Oh, what a wonderful Wolfram blog! Earlier Stephen hinted at Mathematica as
>>>>>>> an iPhone app. Now it's data mining Facebook data (Gee I wonder if
>>>>>>> Zuckerberg has thought of that? He might be able to develop a great business
>>>>>>> model.) Can Twitter be far behind? There are many significant mathematical
>>>>>>> equations that will fit into 64 characters - or whatever the limit is.
>>>>>>> Ramanujan would probably have done well on Twitter. And women are more
>>>>>>> interested in personal relationships and men are more interested in sports?
>>>>>>> Who would have thought? The average person on Facebook has 342 friends! Well
>>>>>>> there are friends and there are friends. Montaigne wrote that his friendship
>>>>>>> with Etienne de La BoE9tie was such that "So many coincidences are needed to
>>>>>>> build [it up] that it is a lot if fortune can do it once in three
>>>>>>> centuries." One might say, ephemera in ephemera out.
>>>>>>> For the dwindling few of us who still have desktop computers and large
>>>>>>> screens, or maybe two large screens, who are interested in learning or doing
>>>>>>> some extended mathematics, and the even fewer who would like to write
>>>>>>> literate Mathematica notebooks as technical documents, I wonder if Stephen
>>>>>>> could find some time to attend to basic Mathematica, fixing its problems and
>>>>>>> fulfilling its vision?
>>>>>>> Mathematica lacks stability. Things that worked fine in one version don't
>>>>>>> work in the next. Especially troubling to me is the basic user interface

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