[plt-scheme] Mathematica v6

From: Chongkai Zhu (czhu at cs.utah.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 15 11:12:18 EST 2007

Given the history, I have to reply this mail :-)

I agree with Shriram. One fact (as most people in that company agrees): 
Mathematica is designed for non-programmer to make writing small program 
easy, not to make writing large program possible.

On that page "While traditional research languages tend to concentrate 
on particular language paradigms,/ Mathematica/ for the first time 
integrates fully developed symbolic, rule-based, functional, 
declarative, procedural and other paradigms into an immediately 
extensible framework." I don't know what to say. Scheme shows up way 
earlier than Mathematica.

Another thing that is not true on that website: according to 
http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm, MMA is not widely used.

As I always says, the only good thing about MMA is it's big Computer 
Algebra (aka Symbolic Algebra) library. Some say it also has a good 
plotting package. That's it.


Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote:
> 1. Give them credit: they acknowledge these languages exist.
> Would you find these languages listed on Matlab's site?  No,
> if they compared at all, they'd be taking potshots at Java, etc.
> And why?  Because...
> 2. Mathematica genuinely did learn from these languages.
> When Mathematica provides Map, they really mean Map as
> God and Guy Steele (maybe not in that order) meant it.
> When it provides unification, it means as God and Robinson
> meant it.
> Mathematica's problem is that "most advanced" in that phrase
> is equivalent to "most complicated".  It's too darn hard to figure
> out what the interaction of Prolog with Haskell with Scheme is,
> and that's what you're up against in Mathematica (which a bunch
> of advanced mathematical representations and algorithms thrown in).
> I used to love programming in Mathematica as an undergrad.  Then
> I noticed that I was writing my numerical analysis code in Scheme
> and was actually just studying language feature interactions in Mma.
> That's what made me realize something was wrong.  But I find it hard
> to take exception with the intent of that comparison.  It's the extent
> of it that is a mess.
> Shriram
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