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Talk:Wolfram Mathematica/Archive 1

This page is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.

Should there be code examples?

There is a discussion below on this topic, but it seems to have got lost in the discussions of disputes and tones of the article. It would seem more sensible to have this under a topic of its own.

Personally, I can't see how one could describe Mathematica without some references to examples of code. Likewise, I don't think an encylopedia should be a tutorial on the language. My thoughts on the most appropiate could would be

  • A few examples where the meaning should be obvious to anyone. One example, which I put myself showing the command line version, was Solve[x^2 + 2 x - 9 == 0, x]. I may be wrong, but I think the meaning of something like that should be obvious. A few more like that. The very first example currently (Det[Array[Times, {6, 6}]]) is hard to understand. I find it hard to believe that is the best example anyone can come up with.
  • An example showing some obscure constructs (pure functions, Map, and anything else that helps create spagetti code), that would be difficult to read. Make a note that Mathematica can be used to write concise code, but which is not always too easy to understand unless you know the langauge well.
  • A few examples illustrating different programming styles. I think I have seen a program to compute fractorial in 4 or so very different styles. By doing this, one kill two birds with one stone as we - illustate different programming styles and show code examples. (The kill two birds with one stone is an expression used in England - it is not mean to be taken literally!

I would think a total of about examples should be about right. Sufficient to show the program, but not enough to make it a tutorial on the language. If someone feels a need to have many examples, then sure make a wikibook or similar. I would question the need for this, given there are a number of text books on the Mathematica language available. But there may not be any decent free resources - I don't know.

Anyway, that is my take on the issue of code examples. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drkirkby (talk • contribs) , 3 November (UTC)

How about an explanation of M expressions in relation to S expressions, how expressions form a tree structure, and why they rarely look that way in practice due to the behavior of the front end. Maybe something like this could go in the common structures and manipulations section: ChrisChiasson , 3 November (UTC)

candidate common structures section example

Sometimes Mathematica expressions are called M-expressions, to indicate the practice of placing the head in front of the bracket. Compare that to S-expressions in Lisp, which use parenthesis instead of brackets and place the head inside with the arguments. Heads and arguments do not have to be atomic; they can also have sub-parts. For example, this is a valid expression in which the second argument is non-atomic:


This expression may be thought of as a tree with five leaves and three top level nodes (one of which has three sub-nodes that are also leaves):

  • Integrate
  • Power[x,n] (actually just a pointer to its sub-nodes)
  • x

While this type of input makes it apparent that the user is dealing with expressions, that is not the case in normal operation of Mathematica, where the input is typeset (or otherwise graphical). To perform the command above, a user might enter the following input into the front end:

{\displaystyle \int x^{n}{\mbox{d}}x}

Upon evaluation of that input, a command called MakeExpression automatically changes the hidden expression representing the typeset form of the integral into the plain-text expression seen above. To show that typesetting is also represented by expressions, here is the expression representing that typeset integral, which would be called the integral's "box form":


In Mathematica, there are several levels of "pretty printing" for expressions, which are called "forms". FullForm does no pretty printing. InputForm will collapse several operations into an understandable string form, for example 1 + 2 instead of Plus[1,2]. StandardForm is the normal typesetting shown above. There is also a TraditionalForm that is similar to StandardForm that tries to retain certain inconsistencies from standard mathmatics, such as a the ambiguity of parenthesis for function application and for multiplication: e.g. f(2).

The above example covers typesetting, but there are parallel expressions for graphics primitives (and sound?), dialogs, and other objects.

ChrisChiasson , 3 November (UTC)

Some feedback: I haven't thought about how it fits with other sections but I am mostly supportive of this version. I was a bit confused about the M-expression, S-expression coverage. It reads as if this is the Mathematica name of the expressions, but looking at the links it sounds like you are drawing an analogy to the Lisp equivalent ideas? The TreeForm explanation might look nicer with a picture (though smaller than this one [1]). Finally, one idea that I think important, that is not conveyed is that because of the common structure, operations that one might think of as being narrow in scope can be used widely (eg the Part function that most people think of as a matrix operation can be applied to math expressions, images, sounds, programs etc, or substitution that most would think of as algebra can be also be applied to data, images, sounds, programs etc). This might be obvious to a Lisp person, but would seem quite strange to a Fortran person. JonMcLoone—Preceding comment was added at , 5 November (UTC)
It feels better to be on the same side for a change. So, some people do call Mathematica expressions M-expressions on MathGroup. I dunno if it is accepted usage among the devs. Maybe Daniel L would know. The only issue I take with the graph from TreeForm is that it puts the head above the arguments in the tree, which is a bit misleading. E.g. Part 0 of any expression is the head, part 1 is the first arg, etc Level {1} of any expression includes the head (Level[zero[one, two], {1}, Heads -> True]), while level {0} is the entire expression. With the way TreeForm draws things, the head would be expected to be one level above its arguments. ChrisChiasson , 5 November (UTC)
The fact that I don't know the terms (after 15 years of Mathematica) is probably a bad sign for them! I suspect people are using M-expression really to mean "Mathematica expression". Here we pretty systematically talk about FullForm for the underlying functional expression. I am not sure that there is a consistent umbrella term for non-FullForm. If you not talking about a specific form then perhaps "typeset form" or (more narrowly for StandardForm and TraditionalForm) "box form" or "box data".
Fair enough comment on the TreeForm, I just thought the picture was pretty!
Here is a suggestion for a sentence to convey the "wide application" idea, it could perhaps be more compact. It would replace your last sentance: "As well as representing mathematical expressions using this form Mathematica also uses the same symbolic data structure to represents all objects that it supports including images, documents, sounds, text and numeric data, XML, interfaces and more specialized objects. This allows a single set of programming operations to be applied to all these forms of data. The rendering of images, sound, documents and interfaces to the users specific hardware are analogous to the pretty printing of expressions." JonMcLoone , 7 November (UTC)
It looks like you are right about the rarity of the usage of M-expressions; there are only few hits on MathGroup, though I thought I saw more in the last year than are shown in the search results. Also, the (AFAIK) original definition of an M-expression (which stood for meta-expression) is given in the Lisp manual. It appears to have a very close but imperfect correspondence to a Mathematica expression. I wonder if Dr. Stephen W. was influenced by the meta-syntax when he was designing Mathematica. BTW, I wanted to say that a few months ago, I noticed a new feature in C# called expression trees (supposedly driven by the introduction of LINQ) that are a lot like Mathematica expressions. Finally, maybe we should link to homoiconicity and functional programming to show how Mathematica compares to other languages (and concepts in computer programming). ChrisChiasson , 7 November (UTC)
We could add "programs (homoiconicity)" to the list of object types in the sentence that I suggested? I think reference to functional programming belongs in whatever we replace the section "Multiple programming paradigms" with. Its pretty surprising that that section makes no reference to any programming paradigms right now! I don't think it is wise to reference directly to Lisp materials as it may give the impression that Mathematica is directly based on Lisp or written in Lisp. JonMcLoone , 8 November (UTC)

Dispute Resolution

I feel this article is in violation of WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, WP:AWW, and that some of the editors are violating WP:COI. I am hoping you will offer constructive comments with suggestions for bringing the article in line with Wikipedia policies. Thank you for your valuable time. As this is my first time initiating dispute resolution, please let me know if I do something wrong. Chris Chiasson , 22 October (UTC)

It reads like an advertising brochure. No references at all. We certainly don't need programming examples. DMcMPO11AAUK/Talk/Contribs , 24 October (UTC)

I'm not sure what the dispute is, since I haven't read all the history, but I took a few small steps toward improving it, and will see if anyone agrees or not. It's hard to help resolve a dispute if nobody says what is disputed. Dicklyon , 25 October (UTC)

Every programming language in wikipedia has programming examples. Look at C, Fortran, Pascal, Java etc.
Maybe, but does it really need to show three different ways to do the same thing in the same language? A few examples to demonstrate the unique features of the language are fine, but they don't need to show how many ways this language can solve any given problem. DMcMPO11AAUK/Talk/Contribs , 27 October (UTC)
One of the defining things about the Mathematica language has been to try and combine different programming paradigms (Producedural, Functional, Rule based, Object Oriented etc). I think that is a legitimate aim of the examples in the "Multiple programming paradigms" section. Having said that, I don't think that they are the best examples to illustrate that, as the first three are conceptually too similar. I could suggest alternatives, but I suspect that they would not be received well in the current climate! JonMcLoone , 29 October (UTC)
Also between the two contributors above all links to the full documentation and technical support knowledge base have been removed. This cannot be an improvement. Wikipedia is never going to attempt to give information on all functions and all public bug workarounds.
I also fail to understand why a reference to a free external web service is better with the link to that service removed.
JonMcLoone , 25 October (UTC)
Dicklyon: part of the problem is with the criticism section (search this talk page) and with the tone of the article (see the next section on this page). ChrisChiasson , 25 October (UTC)
JonMcLoone: the Mathematica Wikipedia page is for people to learn about Mathematica. It isn't a handy set of shortcuts for people who forgot various URLs that MMA users might need. More importantly, the people that wrote the function reference practically broke their arms patting themselves on the back for what the software can do, so it isn't really something I would point others to for objective information about MMA. Besides, the link to the home page should be enough - you guys control that page and can link from there to wherever else you want.
There are (were?) a lot of code examples. Perhaps many of them should be moved to the Mathematica page on alloverlimo.us Also, some of the content from the alloverlimo.us wiki could find a nice home there as well.
ChrisChiasson , 25 October (UTC)
Surely almost nothing is more relevant to learning about what a technical product does than its definitive documentation? How is this page going to cover specifics like, say, whether Mathematica supports the HypergeometicPFQ function? Nowhere lists that better than [the documentation page for that function] and I see nothing inappropriate about that page. JonMcLoone , 25 October (UTC)
Yes, it makes perfect sense to say that such a list exists, and to reference it. But it should certainly not be in the lead, and it should be as a reference, not an embedded external link. You want me to fix it, or will you? Dicklyon , 25 October (UTC)
I added as a reference to the "Several thousand functions" statement in "Features" —Preceding unsigned comment added by JonMcLoone (talk • contribs) , 25 October (UTC)
Jon, I just noticed that you're a Wolfram representative. As such, it is quite inappropriate for you to be doing any controversial edits on this article, or placing any links to sites that you have an interest in. Let me know if you need pointers to refresh yourself on relevant policies. You can of course feel free to correct errors, or to offer opinions here on the talk page. Dicklyon , 26 October (UTC)
I am aware of the COI policies and beleive that I am following them with mainspace edits focused on factual correction in line with Defending Interest, non-controversial edits or with a fully articulated argument in Talk in line with the guidance on Handling conflicts of interest. I would be happy to listen to reasonable guidance on doing this better.
In particular, to clarify my relationship to the current discussion: NONE of the examples being given as poor Tone were created by me or have at any time been edited by me, and I have no intention of even suggesting alternatives for those. The programming examples that I am defending are not mine, and have never been edited by me. The link to documentation that I am defending was not placed there by me.
I should also add in the interests of balance that all of the participants in the discussion of Tone have their own connection with the page content. DrKirkby being the creator of the WITM package whose description lives on this page, and ChrisChiasson being an ex-employee of Wolfram Research. I am not suggesting that there has been any improper behaviour by either of these gentlemen.
Let the record show that I have been quite forthright from the beginning: "'It will be very difficult for me to illustrate this because I am not an impartial entity with respect to WRI. That is why I haven't edited the article. However, this is the talk page, so I'll try to illustrate what I mean.' - ChrisChiasson , 6 October (UTC)". Other than this, I have no comment. ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
I had thought that citations to reputable media was a non-controversial edit. But I am happy to stay clear of those (I am not very interested in them and was only trying to be helpful!)
Finally, you reverted the edit that you told me to make! So to answer your question above differently - I suggest you make the edit, unless you are swayed by ChrisChiasson's argument, in which case some comment in Talk would be helpful. In other software articles, documentation links appear in the External Links section, not as you suggested as references.
This would be so much easier if the function reference wern't so self-promotional (yes, that's my opinion, but it is hard to argue when the top page says stuff like "The uniquely powerful symbolic language that is the foundation for Mathematica", "Symbolic graphics and unparalleled function and data visualization", "Program-constructible symbolic documents with uniquely flexible formatting", "The world's largest integrated web of mathematical capabilities and algorithms", "Capabilities that define a new kind of dynamic interactive computing", "Unique customizability and connectivity powered by symbolic programming", "Powerful primitives and sources for large volumes of data in hundreds of formats" - sounds more like advertising than documentation). ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
@Jon: after the sign bot autosigned your post, I noticed that you have an active talk page. It is presently blank, but the previous version shows that other editors have had problems with you adding superfluous links to this Mathematica article from other articles. Please stop promoting Mathematica in Wikipedia. It's just going to cause a lot of typing to the detriment of WRI. Its potential customers who see this talk page are instantly going to be turned off by the show here. They'll probably check too, since the article doesn't really reflect the WP:NPOV they would expect. Heck, that's why I checked it. Now you have an eight year old bug and dubious documentation staring potential customers in the face. Think about it. ChrisChiasson , 27 October (UTC)
@ChrisChiasson: Issues of Tone and accuracy should also apply to personal attacks in Talk as well as in articles. Referencing a discussion from , in my first few days on Wikipedia, where I first learned that Wikipedia has policies (we all have to learn somewhere) without reference to the chronology, and juxtaposing that with "Stop promoting Mathematica in Wikipedia" is clearly meant to be asserting that I am engaged in link spam. This is demonstrably false. Reviewing my last 50 edits, going back to June, I see only one link created to the Mathematica page, which was when I added .nb,.m and .nbp to List_of_file_formats. I cannot see how that could be construed as promotional or controversial. This discussion is simple: Someone removed the documentation link, I argued that it was important, you argued that it was not. Up until this digression it was healthy academic debate, not a "show".
As far as I know, we don't know each other, so I suggest you review Wikipedia:Assume_good_faith and return to the debate. I do not intend to spend any more time talking about myself. JonMcLoone , 29 October (UTC)
Maybe you're right. Maybe was far enough away in time to not be relevant to this conversion. Or maybe you really thought it would be ethical to link to Mathematica's article from those subject areas. If they even care, other people reading this page will make that determination for themselves, I can't make it for them. By the way, I am assuming good faith, but also assuming that you are somewhat blinded by your allegiance to your company. In other words, I am saying that you won't see problems where other people outside WRI (% of people) will. That doesn't make you a bad person, but it does make you more likely to be a bad source of objective information (and web graph structure) for Mathematica. That is why you shouldn't be editing the article or linking to it. No one would be able to say anything against you if you didn't do this. Also, I recommend reverting (unblanking) your talk page, as that would show you are unafraid and unashamed of the criticism and that your arguments speak for themselves. ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
There isn't much wrong with that page on HypergeometricPFQ, but that wasn't the original problem we discussed above. I can come up with many reference pages where the language is very flowery, the weaknesses or gaps in functionality are underplayed, and/or where the functionality people would reasonably assume is present (from reading the text) simply isn't there. To show that I am not exaggerating: ImageResolution is supposed to be able to set the pixel density of an exported picture. This option has been available for the Export command since version 4, which came out in according to this wiki article. However, even a cursory test such as Export["alloverlimo.us",Plot[x^2,{x,0,1}],ImageResolution->] reveals that it doesn't work (original file). I would list more examples, but apparently they are extremely difficult to understand, or at least that's the impression I get from your technical support. I think you can see why I have reservations about linking to the function reference. ChrisChiasson , 26 October (UTC)
Your bug report is, I believe, wrong (see below), but that is not the point. The fact that a 10, page document undoubtedly contains errors is not a reason to disregard it. One could use the same argument to remove all internal links to Wikipedia, which undoubtedly contains errors also. Likewise for most links to external media and journals. It is the only attempt to document the product in existence and is therefore the primary source. In fact, had that been a bug or documentation error, that would have supported my argument that the Technical Support FAQs should have remained linked, since that is where bugs and workarounds are documented.
I note that both the docs links that you give are also free of flowery language. But again, finding an example that supports your opinion is not the point. That this is THE documentation for the product is a fact. That you don't like the style is YOUR OPINION, and even if you can find reliable citations to support your opinion, the link to the documentation should still remain along with its criticism.
A short review of other programming language pages in Wikipedia finds links to the primary documentation in the External Links section for each of the following: FORTRAN, JavaScript, Matlab (cited by DrKirkby as an example of what this page should be), C_Sharp, C++.
On the topic of your bug. Export is a framework for exporting of all formats. As such many of its options apply to only some formats. This is obvious if you think about what meaning the ImageResolution option would have on, say sound export, or text data. To know the options for each format, you should look at the documentation page for that format in this case PNG. Here there is a section listing valid options, in this case only ImageSize. This is sufficient to achieve your objective. JonMcLoone , 29 October (UTC)
@Jon: Actually, it is a fact that I don't like the documentation style. There were four docs links in my example above, not two. The first one has the flowery language. In general, the flowery language is to be found in blurbs at the new () documentation pages that serve as link index pages, i.e. the ones taking the place of the old hierarchical menu system. Also, the style of the new tutorials (which seem to contain the old Mathematica Book) is fairly flowery as well. Now, we come to your refutation of the ImageResolution option bug. If we accept your argument, then we must also note that the specific file format documentation pages (in this case, the one for PNG) did not exist in versions before , which was released in May. Therefore, instead of fixing the problem, it has been defined out of existence. I don't call that progress. Also, ImageSize (physical size) is not the same as ImageResolution (pixel *density*), and doesn't offer the same control. Finally, there are many other problems that have simply gone unaddressed that are of a similar class, such as the fact that an exported SVG can't contain stretchable characters in its plot labels because Mathematica can't embed SVG fonts - this prevents users from making even basic plots that list the units for the axes in parenthesis and is not mentioned in the documentation. Command: Export["alloverlimo.us",Plot[x^2,{x,0,1},AxesLabel->{(in/lbf)^(1/3),(in/lbf)^(2/3)}]]ResultWhat it should look like. I can't wait for the explanation on this one I could make a more regular example, but I don't want to leave you any wiggle room. It isn't like this stuff hasn't been reported to WRI. Anyway, I expect your company to be more up-front about Mathematica's limitations. When WRI isn't up-front and when WRI employees link from Wikipedia to WRI pages that are biased, I must speak out. ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
For those that don't have an SVG viewer installed, here is what the output of the above SVG looks like in Batik (software) Squiggle. As you can see, the parenthesis and root stretchable characters are not present. ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
@ChrisChiasson: (First, since I sense that you may like an official Wolfram Research response, I need to clarify that opinions expressed here are my own). I only have installed, so my definition of bug was "does behaviour match the documentation" which I believe that it does in that case. While fixing a bug by documenting it away _is_ an improvement, I agree that it is not the preferred way to improve. I also agree that ImageResolution allows more convenient control, than increasing image size and having to worry about what that does to font sizes. I do not know whether that is planned. On your newer bug, it sure looks and smells like a bug to me too. I do not know if it is a design limitation (IE intended and should therefore be in the documentation) or an implementation bug. But as I said, I am not trying to claim that either the software or the documentation are perfect, and I suspect they never will be, it IS the definitive documentation. And again, I did not originally put that link there, except as later directed by DickLyon who you invited in to arbitrate, I am only arguing that I believe that it SHOULD be there) JonMcLoone , 29 October (UTC)
@everyone: I think the documentation link should be there too. I would like to see a statement that Wikipedia does not endorse the style or the completeness of the reference, but I do not think that is going to be enforceable. Also, others have suggested that it should be a reference. This is acceptable to me, but I am wondering if the article should really be written such that the function reference would be a good source (i.e. something you would _want_ to reference in an NPOV article). So, here is the vote: ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
"Do you think we should have the following link in an external links section (exactly as it appears after the colon - i.e. no qualifiers): Wolfram Mathematica Documentation Center ?" ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
Yes, but I don't like it. ChrisChiasson , 29 October (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'm not going to help resolve this, as I don't have a particulary strong opinion on the link. I think if the the general tone of the artical could be changed, then some links to so WRI pages, even if they are very promotional, would not be too bad. Drkirkby , 30 October (UTC)
If it's used as a reference, it should be in the references section and formatted like any other reference. Probably, all the relevant information can also be found in the manual, in which case we can list the manual as any book and add the URL to the Documentation Center. I would put the official homepage of Mathematica in the external links section (alloverlimo.us) as this is standard practice. The Documentation Center is linked from there, so we don't need it in the External Links section. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) , 30 October (UTC)
@Jitse Niesen: Are you aware of the link to the product page in the side bar at the top of the article? If not, does that change your recommendation? ChrisChiasson , 30 October (UTC)
I wasn't aware of it, but it doesn't change my opinion. The External links section is where I'd look for relevant external links and the official is certainly a relevant external link so it should be there. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) , 30 October (UTC)
Yes JonMcLoone , 30 October (UTC)
I personally can't see anything wrong with examples of Mathematica code. What is your problem with that?
However, I would agree with you it is written like an advertising feature - one could be excused for thinking it is written by the Wolfram Research's PR/Marketing/Advertising department(s). Any criticisms of Mathematica get quickly deleted and replaced with very glowing pro-Mathematica text. I think 'ChrisChiasson' understates it when he refers to a 'vaguely promotional tone'. I just compared the Mathematica page to that of [Matlab] - it is noticeable how criticisms of Matlab are not removed in the way there are from the Mathematica page. The Matlab page is much more balanced. That's the main problem with the Mathematica page - it is not balanced. Drkirkby , 25 October (UTC)
I deliberately understated it for two reasons. 1. I didn't want to rhetorically presume that what I saw was totally correct. 2. People's livelihoods depend on this software selling well. I didn't want to create unnecessary resentment by giving my unvarnished opinion about their edits, which are just as understandable as they are unacceptable. ChrisChiasson , 26 October (UTC)
I've made a few edits to the first couple of paragraphs, to remove some of the hype. So instead of the first sentance saying: Mathematica is a general computing environment (which is a load of rubbish), I've put what I believe is more the truth - it is specialised program. I've mentioned its one of 3 main players in this field (the others being Matlab and Maple), to give it a bit more balance. The first two paragraphs previously gave the impression the capabilities of Mathematica were much wider than they are. To mention graphics editing will give a very different impression to people. Ask Mathematica users, who are not WRI employees, to name the 5 best graphics edititing software and I very much doubt Mathematica will be on many of their lists. Comments Drkirkby , 30 October (UTC)
@Drkirkby:The edits look ok to me, though the opening definition is perhaps a bit too narrow. Will you (edit , 30 October (UTC): Jon too, as we 3 seem to be the principals in this discussion) vote in the poll I posted above about adding an external link to the documentation? Thanks. ChrisChiasson , 30 October (UTC)
Why is Matlab listed? It's a very different program. Matlab can't do symbolic computations, while Maple and Mathematica are (at least in the academic environment) rarely used for numerical computations. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) , 30 October (UTC)
Matlab can do symoblics, although I think it needs the symobics toolbox, which is the Maple engine. I would have said they were sufficiently similar to be mentioned alongside one another. Drkirkby , 30 October (UTC)
I guess it's a matter of definition whether Matlab can do symbolics. I think it's misleading to say that it can, but I can understand that you differ. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) , 30 October (UTC)

About those code samples: Can ChrisChiasson explain his idea of moving them to Wikibooks? I don't know how code examples are handled elsewhere in Wikipedia, but don't code samples need to be sourced? Sources that would meet Wikipedia criteria would be the company documentation, or books about Mathematica, or published articles. And when the program is upgraded, sometimes the code samples would need to be corrected, which couldn't really be done with samples that were properly sourced.

Also, homegrown samples of code that doesn't work are part of what used to crop up in the mostly unsourced/Usenet-sourced criticism section. The homegrown code claims about stuff that doesn't work seem to have been removed because they violated the No Original Research policy. It seems to me that it might be best all around to take ChrisChiasson's suggestion and move the code samples to Wikibooks and maybe instead provide some entries in the Further reading section to a few books that tell how to write Mathematica code. Or maybe the space devoted to code samples could instead be given over to a proper description of the Mathematica programming language?

What do people think? --JCT , 30 October (UTC)

This grow into a wiki-documentation for Mathematica that filled in the gaps and is free from flowery language. Sounds good. Greenmatter , 31 October (UTC)

It probably won't grow into much of anything because the few people who would bother to write it seem to be unwilling to do so in a dispassionate manner. The idea of moving stuff to wikibooks is to make the article less confusing by eliminating the code examples that people learning about Mathematica probably won't understand anyway. Those may be placed in a book where people have more space and time (both to explain and to learn from that explanation). Also, the content standards are lower there. Finally, if someone could implement the result of the vote above this one (as two normally opposed people (myself and Jon) have agreed) about adding a link to the docs, that would be good. Thanks. ChrisChiasson , 1 November (UTC)

Clarification on my view of code examples. I argued above that code examples should remain as that was normal for language pages. My real concern is that the argument for change of tone was being used to sweep away a lot of relevant information and this would apply here. I am not fundamentally opposed to code examples living elsewhere, but would like to see some of the useful information that indirectly lives in code examples be preserved. To me these are 1) The code gives examples of the kind of built in computational support that is not particularly explained in the "Features" section. In the code you can see matrix operations, special functions, root finding, integration and summation using numeric and symbolic evaluation. The specific examples are not important, but the features section would need to be improved if these examples are removed. 2) The two sections "Multiple programming paradigms" and "Common structures and manipulations" are significant to understanding Mathematica language relative to other languages. The code provides evidence to support the description. Without the code, these sections will need re-wording and citations. If these two concerns can be addressed in a move of the code, I would not be against it. JonMcLoone , 1 November (UTC)


The article takes a vaguely promotional tone. This is bound to be off-putting by readers expecting NPOV. It wasn't always this alloverlimo.ushiasson , 5 October (UTC)

Just for my benefit, could you quote a couple of lines from the article which give you that "vaguely promotional" feeling? PrimeFan , 5 October (UTC)
It will be very difficult for me to illustrate this because I am not an impartial entity with respect to WRI. That is why I haven't edited the article. However, this is the talk page, so I'll try to illustrate what I mean.

"Mathematica is a general computing environment, organizing many algorithmic, visualization, and user interface capabilities within a document-like user interface paradigm. It was originally conceived by Stephen Wolfram, developed by a team of mathematicians and programmers that he assembled and led, and it is sold by his company Wolfram Research of Champaign, Illinois.

Since version in , Mathematica has steadily expanded into more and more general computational capabilities. Besides addressing nearly every field of mathematics, it provides cross-platform support for a wide range of tasks such as giving computationally interactive presentations, a multifaceted language for data integration, graphics editing, and symbolic user interface construction. An organized index of its functionality can be found here.

Many major educational and research organizations have Mathematica site licenses, and individual licenses are also sold. With Mathematica 6, a free player is provided for running programs published on the Wolfram Demonstrations Project website."

I would rewrite it as:

"Wolfram Mathematica is computer software for doing mathematics. It was originally developed by Stephen Wolfram and a team of mathematicians and programmers that he assembled and led. It is sold by his company Wolfram Research of Champaign, Illinois. Version was released in

The default mode of interaction with Mathematica is via a front enduser interface to what are called notebooks. Notebooks allow for the mixing of expository text, code, typesetcalculations, and graphics. In the most recent version, 6, the notebook paradigm has been extended to include interactive graphics and dialogs. Without going into too much detail, the back endkernel is what drives the evaluation of user code and calculations.

Many major educational and research organizations have Mathematica site licenses, and individual licenses are also sold <ref name="blah">{{cite some neutral third party reference for this here}}</ref>."


The wolfram demonstrations project article would probably not survive a nomination to articles for deletion not that I am going to nominate it.

0. Promotional links are removed. These should be in an external links section at the bottom.

1. The name of the product is no longer Mathematica. It is Wolfram Mathematica. This is just a technical point.

2. Mathematica is a system for doing mathematics by computer. Everything else is secondary. Trying to list all of its features (to say nothing of the quality of implementation relative to other truly general computing environments) in the opening sentence is ridiculous.

3. "Besides addressing nearly every field of mathematics" Mathematica does have broad reach in terms of mathematics, but a neutral third party source needs to be cited with <ref >{{cite }}</ref> if a statement like this is going to be made.

4. "tasks such as giving computationally interactive presentations" this illustrates what I will call "too many big words that mean nothing" in the context of someone reading the article who isn't familiar with MMA. It would be more clear to just say "tasks such as giving interactive presentations" and allowing the context of the article to let the user know what kind of interaction is going on. Besides, all interactive presentations on computers are computational. - Here the problem is only one extra word, but elsewhere

5. The features that are listed should be explained to the point where someone who doesn't know the jargon will be able to understand. Lots of multi-syllable adjectives do not help unless the point of the article is to make people say "gee whiz, that sounds great". As it stands now, while reading the article I can barely understand what is meant by some of the things that are listed, and I already know what the new features are and what the marketing department has decided to call them.

ChrisChiasson , 6 October (UTC)

A few comments
Your comments on 2) Are not really right. POV followsThe phrase "A system for doing Mathematics by computer" that was a marketing line in the very early versions of Mathematica had been dropped by about because it was not an accurate description. The much less catchy "Technical computing system" replaced it because the majority of users were not "doing math" they were doing "simulation", "modelling", "software development", "engineering" etc and in later versions "publishing" or "reporting". Now these largely depend on maths but in a similar way to saying that all computing is, in the end, logic. To define it purely in terms of maths would mislead many who might be interested.
3) I think is a case of over summarizing. But there is a great danger to trying to be precise as the granularity required to not simplify will result in a very long list of topics.
I think what the writer was getting at in 4) was to try and distinguish between predefined interactivity (like animations, hyperlinks and navigation tools) and interactivity that calls live computations (eg a slide show where one of the slides runs a model in response to sliders, or calls live financial data while it is being displayed etc). I am not defending the choice of words, but I think that this was not simply big word overload.
I assume your complaint about COI was addressed at me. I would just like to point out a) That I have never hidden my associations (unlike most people apart from you, editing in my own name and linking to full bio from my user profile page). b) Most of my edits are factual corrections in a topic that is my area of expertise. c) The recent interaction that questioned my background, I think clearly shows an attempt to remove a Europe vs US POV and argue FOR NPOV.
JonMcLoone , 23 October (UTC)
Heh, saying that my "comments on 2) are not really right" and then subsequently saying that "POV follows" is putting the cart before the horse. "Mathematica is a general computing environment, organizing many algorithmic, visualization, and user interface capabilities within a document-like user interface paradigm." Other than the root word of the name, the opening sentence gives little indication that the software allows one to do math by computer, which is the primary reason one would bother to use Mathematica. Other software does everything else faster/better and for less (often for free). I think the latest bells and whistles are getting in the way of an accurate description. If you are saying it is the combination of doing math + other features that makes Mathematica important, you might want to consider that most software has some feature x + other features. The salient point about Mathematica is its strong math capability. You mentioned engineering and simulation. Yes, Mathematica is useful for this (because it includes a programming language and it can do math). However, that is not mentioned in the present opening sentence. A comment on what human activities Mathematica has applications to (and what features these are associated with) might be best added after a quick description of the front end UI. There are, of course, other deficiencies with the opening sentence. For instance, it doesn't mention that Mathematica is computer software (instead of, perhaps, some kind of integrated hardware + software package for doing  ? inside a "document-like user interface paradigm").
3) is not about over-summarizing. The level of summarization is fine. However, it _is_ about WP:V and separating opinion from attribution thereof (WP:POV).
In 4), it doesn't really matter what the reason is for the big word overload. It is confusing/unclear and should be fixed.
Yours is the only COI that I have been able to confirm because I haven't bothered to look very hard. Even if you only add facts to the discussion, your contributions will still likely suffer from selection bias. I am 99% sure that if I ran the WikiScanner (alloverlimo.us) against this article, I would find many anonymous contributions in violation of WP:COI to this article from WRI. For the sake of argument, if you are editing this article, I should be editing this article to maintain NPOV. However, it would probably be better for both of us to just not violate WP:COI.
ChrisChiasson , 24 October (UTC)

Mathematica on the Web purpose

The Mathematica on the Web section is currently a bit pointless. Either it should be expanded to list more sites that are powered by Mathematica or use Mathematica syntax (alloverlimo.us, alloverlimo.us, alloverlimo.us etc) or Sloans should be moved down to the external links area and the section removed. Any opinions which way to go? JonMcLoone , 26 July (UTC)

I don't think the section is pointless at all. The use in Sloane's OEIS is an important endorsement. Can MATLAB or MathCAD say the same as Mathematica and Maple?
Since you obviously know some sites "powered" by Mathematica, you could just add them to that section (this is Wikipedia, after all). PrimeFan , 26 July (UTC)
OK, I did a re-write to enlarge this. There are more that I have not listed, but I don't think the section should grow too large. JonMcLoone , 31 July (UTC)

Mathematica Player is more restricted

Mathematica Player does, so far, only compute specially prepared notebooks (at Wolfram, see the Wolfram Demonstration project) otherwise it serves only as a viewer. There will be a Mathematica Player Pro available in the future. The beta version is supposed to be out in half a year. alloverlimo.usm , 10 July (UTC)

Anyone can create an account to convert their own content to the active .nbp format via the website. , 10 July (UTC)

Pardon, but what is the "active .nbp format"? alloverlimo.usm , 10 July (UTC)

Files saved in .nbp can be opened in Mathematica Player for viewing, navigating, printing and interacting with the dynamic content (sliders, buttons etc which invoke calculations) but can only be edited in Mathematica. Files saved as .nb can be opened in Mathematica Player for viewing, navigating and printing, but require Mathematica for editing and using dynamic content. Conversion from .nb to .nbp is currently offered as a free web service on alloverlimo.us , 11 July (UTC)

Thanks, stupid me, I thought you meant some Wikipedia format. And yes, I described these .nbp files as "specially prepared notbooks" and I think it's important to mention this restriction. By the way, is it possible to edit these wiki pages with one's own editor somehow? alloverlimo.usm , 11 July (UTC)

I took your comment to be that only Wolfram Research could create files and wanted to get across that the tools are available to users. But yes they do need to be prepared, in the sense that they have to be saved in the right format. Sorry I'm not a wikipedia expert, so don't know about alternative editing , 12 July (UTC)

Screenshot request

Someone please post a nicer screenshot. Preferably one with expressions which are hierarchically nested. Ninjagecko , 13 December (UTC)

I would like a screenshot showing something in the notebook, some numbers, maybe a 3-D graph, something other than just a blank window. PrimeFan , 13 December (UTC) P.S. I'd do it myself but I haven't upgraded to the latest version.

How Lisp-like?

Can someone elaborate on how Mathematica is Lisp-like? (And by the way, I'm curious to know where Ar found the information that Mathematica was implemented in Objective-C, that's very interesting!) Dysprosia , 1 Aug (UTC)

I no longer know where I found the information a precise indication that it was written in Objective-C; I think it is common knowledge on MathGroup etc.. A hint can be found in the Background and Acknowledgments section of Version 1 of the book Mathematica: A System for Doing Mathematics by Computer:
Mathematica is a C-language program, about , lines long. The original source code of Mathematica was actually written in our object-oriented extension of C.
As for similarity to Lisp, there are many aspects one may cite. IMO, the underlying reason is that symbolic expressions are naturally represented as a hierarchy of sub-expressions where the zero-th part (the Head of the subexpression) determines how the remaining arguments are to be interpreted; the difference to Lisp is merely that instead of head[arg1, arg2] you write (head arg1 arg2), which is just a difference in syntax. Just as Lisp derives much of its power from the ability to control the time when arguments are evaluated, Mathematica does the same: In Lisp the distinction is between function and macro, in Mathematica it is the presence or absence of the Holdattributes. The similarities extend to control structures: e.g., the (rarely used) GoTo as well as Catch and Throw in Mathematica resemble their respective Lisp counterparts; Block works very much like let (except for the difficulty of constructing closures, which is something you can simulate with With). In both cases, symbols are central to the language for accessing the information that is associated with them, although the referenced data structures are actually independent of them (which is why building specialized Mathematica code at run-time in the form of, e.g., pure functions already holding large amounts of pre-calculated data - think of Currying - typically is very efficient despite the seemingly large expressions one so obtains). Add to this the impure functional character: Mathematica tries to imitate a functional system, and the functional style is very much idiomatic in Lisp, though the main reasons are different in either case (in Mathematica it is important for the semantics of "infinite" evaluation, in Lisp this is one way of reducing excessive copying, aka "consing"; the latter is, of course, also an issue for Mathematica efficiency). The Lisp heritage (some of which is discussed in a thread on alloverlimo.us) can also be seen from the read-eval-print-loop that was still somewhat exotic at the time.
There are, however, also some very important differences, e.g., as far as scoping or performance characteristics are concerned. Also, rule-based transformations are not typical of Lisp, and Common Lisp at least has a much sharper distinction of the various times (load time, read time, compile time, run time).
All this is just what comes to mind immediately. I don't think it would be good to put these things into the article, at least in the present form. Ar , 1 Aug (UTC)
That's very interesting stuff. It should perhaps deserve it's own section in the article, but you're right about not in the current form. Re the Objective-C thing, Objc is not a Wolfram Research creation, so it could still be a proprietary extension Dysprosia , 1 Aug (UTC)
In fact, I was quite sure about objc, so the formulation in the Mathematica book was a surprise. So I now looked further: V3 of the book states in [alloverlimo.us

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Ubuntu Forums > The Ubuntu Forum Community > Other Discussion and Support > Education & Science > Installing Mathematica on Ubuntu


View Full Version : Installing Mathematica on Ubuntu


May 18th, , PM

Error message: Extraction failed. No space left on
.Removing temporary files.

I run the following commands:
owner@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ cd .
owner@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ cd ..
owner@ubuntu:~$ cd Documents/
owner@ubuntu:~/Documents$ cd Mathematica/
owner@ubuntu:~/Documents/Mathematica$ sudo sh ./Mathematica__alloverlimo.us
Mathematica Secured for LINUX Installer Archive

Verifying archive integrity.

I'm certain there is enough disk space. So I am confused about this error message. Can anyone help? Thanks.


May 18th, , PM

If you install with sudo mathematica get installed in /usr/local/ Are you sure you have enough space there? (as oppose to your home directory) Try run the install script without sudo and see what happens (this will install Mathematica in your home)


May 18th, , PM

What command do I run without sudo? Just sh ./Mathematica__alloverlimo.us?


May 18th, , PM



May 18th, , PM

Still says the same thing.
owner@ubuntu:~/Documents/Mathematica$ sh ./Mathematica__alloverlimo.us
Mathematica Secured for LINUX Installer Archive

Verifying archive integrity.
Extracting installer. Extraction failed. No space left on
.Removing temporary files.


May 18th, , PM

How can I check how much space I have left? This is really strange. I seriously doubt there is no space. Maybe I didn't allocate enough space to my home drive? How can I change that?
Sorry these are super elementary questions


May 18th, , PM

You can check free space with the df command e.g.

df -h

According to this page, it needs GB --> alloverlimo.us


May 18th, , PM

I just checked and
owner@ubuntu:~/Documents/Mathematica$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/loop0 17G 16G M 96% /
none K 0 K 0% /sys/fs/cgroup
udev G K G 1% /dev
tmpfs M K M 1% /run
none M 0 M 0% /run/lock
none G 84K G 1% /run/shm
none M 28K M 1% /run/user
/dev/sda2 G G G 19% /host

How may I install Mathematica in the /host drive?
Sorry these are super elementary questions


May 19th, , AM

Well how did you install Ubuntu? Is this WUBI??


May 19th, , AM

Sorry, what is WUBI?

I used to have Windows 7, then I directed download Ubuntu on my C dirve and installed it.


May 19th, , AM

So you are using WUBI. You downloaded a Windows installer which is an .exe file, and installed in your C drive, this means inside the WIndows file system (Linux doesn't use terminology like "C drive". :)). WUBI is a demo that installed inside Windows to give you a taste of Ubuntu, but it is not a real installation and not meant for serious use. It has many limitations and one being the size limit (as far as I know)

Unfortunately I can't help you there other than to tell you to make a separate partition and install Ubuntu for real.


May 20th, , PM

Okay. So how can I do a real installation? I thought this is as real as it could be. lol.


May 21st, , AM


If you have UEFI there may be some extra work. Check out oldfred's links here


May 21st, , AM

Thanks a lot for the help. I will seriously consider reinstalling everything. It seems to be quite a bit of work.


June 1st, , PM

Hi jialinl,

Have you installed mathematica linux version successfully?
I have installed Ubuntu within Win 7 and mathematica linux can be
installled on Ubuntu. If you need help, post it and see what I can do.


July 6th, , PM

Where is the download link..?
Here is a download link for Mathematica: alloverlimo.us


August 18th, , PM

My advice is to stick with Win. 7 and buy the Windows version of Mathematica.


August 18th, , PM

My advice is to stick with Win. 7 and buy the Windows version of Mathematica.
Offering your preference is OK, but it doesn't do much to help people install Mathematica on Ubuntu, the topic of this thread.


August 19th, , PM

I was actually trying to be helpful; I use SAS JMP and prior to version 9, they supported three systems, OS/X, Linux, and Windows. This was back in and i wanted in the worst way to go with the Linux version, but I noticed that the feature set for the Linux version was always "behind" the Windows version, and I kept procrastinating buying JMP. When version 9 came out, I did bite, but by the then the Linux version was gone; Software like Mathematica and JMP are expensive and one should always consider which platorm best suits the software, so one gets the most out of it.
For me, I try to go the path of least resistance with software, that way I am the most productive with it. These are my ideas only, and I am not trying to convert anyone.


September 3rd, , AM

I was actually trying to be helpful; I use SAS JMP and prior to version 9, they supported three systems, OS/X, Linux, and Windows. This was back in and i wanted in the worst way to go with the Linux version, but I noticed that the feature set for the Linux version was always "behind" the Windows version, and I kept procrastinating buying JMP. When version 9 came out, I did bite, but by the then the Linux version was gone; Software like Mathematica and JMP are expensive and one should always consider which platorm best suits the software, so one gets the most out of it.
For me, I try to go the path of least resistance with software, that way I am the most productive with it. These are my ideas only, and I am not trying to convert anyone.

The thread is about Mathematica, not SAS. Mathematica works fine in Linux, OP's problem is that he installed Ubuntu with Wubi and run into the size limit, it is not because of anything wrong with the Linux version. I went to a top research university in Canada we use software such as Mathematica and Matlab all on Linux or Unix. In fact Linux is the preferred platform for scientific work, so all our hard core science departments (Math, physics and chemistry and most of Computer science) use Linux (or Unix).


September 3rd, , PM

. . . In fact Linux is the preferred platform for scientific work, so all our hard core science departments (Math, physics and chemistry and most of Computer science) use Linux (or Unix).
Well said!

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You should use VUnet e-password credentials to access any of the restricted materials. To comply the terms under which Vanderbilt licenses the Mathematica software from Wolfram, Inc., the School of Engineering provides the VUSE SDS Mathematica materials for two specific types of use:

  • Use by a student on a computer personally owned or leased by that student
  • Use on a computer or leased by Vanderbilt University

For any other use, you should visit Vanderbilt University Software Store to obtain the appropriate software and an activation key of the appropriate sort.

Mathematica for Students for a computer owned by a VUSE student

  • Activation Key - see the instructions to obtain a Student Activation Key below

To install Mathematica, you need to download a distribution bundle appropriate to your operating system.

Note: You only need one bundle to install the software.

All of the distribution bundles for Mathematica are disk images. It is straightforward to deal with these under any recent Linux or MacOS X version and under Microsoft Windows v, using software that is bundled with the operating system. If you have a version of Microsoft Windows older than v, you will want to get software such as PowerISO (from Vanderbilt University Software Store or WinCDEmu (from alloverlimo.us) which will allow you to treat the disk image file as an optical disk or archive software such as 7Zip (alloverlimo.us) which will allow to treat the ISO file like an archive from which you can extract the installation materials.

Student Activation Keys

After installation, you must activate your software with an activation key. Student activation keys are assigned and distributed via the VUSE SDS Student Mathematica key distribution service. To get a student activation key, you will need to send an email message to alloverlimo.ust@alloverlimo.us that includes a Subject header indicating that you are requesting an activation key for Mathematica for Students and that includes your VUnet username ("VUnetID") in the body of the message. A key will be assigned and sent back by email to the VUnet email services permanent business card email address ("BCA") for the supplied VUnet username. You should not include your VUnet e-password in your message.


  • Each activation key is tied to a yearly license and expires on April 30 (with a one month grace period) so you will need to reactivate your installation every year even if you do not upgrade the software.
  • Each key is a single-use key and can be used only once to activate an installation of Mathematica. Reinstallation will require a replacement key, which may be obtained as outlined above.
  • Key assignment is currently a manual process and may take several hours. Do not delay making the request until you desperately need to use the software.

Источник: [alloverlimo.us]

Is that not communication? I guess it is only one-way (myprog1 to math, and not the other way too). Do others think something like that should be added? Or perhaps 'bidirectional' inserted into the header/description.

MathLink is clearly sophisticated and quite complex - there is not always the need for such complexity. Drkirkby , 12 June (UTC)


I belive the Mathematica icon is for version 4, whereas the latest version is quoted as It would seem sensible for a version 5 icon. But I have some concerns about exactly how an icon may be used (copyright), so are not going to add one myself Drkirkby , 25 June (UTC)

I have updated the icon. It classifies as "fair use". —Mets (talk) , 18 August (UTC)

Unfounded criticism

This remark (from the Criticisms section) just has to be from a programmer and non-mathematician:

In breaking with most popular programming languages, Mathematica indexes its lists starting from one. […]

Mathematica is first and foremost a tool for doing mathematics; therefore it makes sense to follow the conventions of mathematics. The observation that it is also a programming language doesn't mean that suddenly the conventions of programming should take precedence. For example, the upper left element of a matrixA is usually written A11; it would be a Bad Thing if Mathematica forced us to writeinstead.

The remark is also factually incorrect—you can index a list with index 0. What you get is the list's head, as already mentioned earlier in the article. So in a certain sense, Mathematica elegantly honors the conventions of mathematics and of programming.

Since the remark is totally unfounded as criticism, I removed it from the article.
—Herbee , 27 August (UTC) (I'm a programmer, btw)

Currently, criticism section talks about the mailing list and usenet group of Mathematica. I think this is not a founded critisim. There are many other issues more important than that such as, interface, language dessign, scalability, documentation of implementation, efficiency, simplification traps. I think that Fateman's article (cited above) and Press and Teukolsky article[2] (see page 4) should be a guide for this section. 07 February

Is every price tag inherently worthy of criticism?

In the Criticisms section, we have a fact that reads: Wolfram Research sells the software for a price of $ to $ for a standard license.

The nature of the criticism is not clear to me. (There's no citation, so I can't verify this.) Is the criticism that the price is not less than $? Or is the criticism that it has a price tag at all? If the former, I think this should either be removed as POV (whether or not this is an excellent is clearly a matter of opinion) or else cited as to who is making this specific criticism. If the latter, I think this should be removed on the basis of redundancy or just plain sillyness — should every commercial product in Wikipedia have a Criticism section added because someone doesn't want to pay for it?

Just thinking out loud before I remove it. Either way, we're missing a citation so the reader can verify where this criticism is coming from. And please consider that for each review of "it's too expensive", we may also be able to find an "it's an excellent value" review for a Praise section. That might escalate. Or maybe not. Anyways, thanks for your thoughts on this. --Ds13 , 9 October (UTC)

You raise an interesting point. However, in the context of the full paragraph there, I would vote against deletion. As it also points out that the product is proprietary, a point to be had might be that while the product does a lot of good things, it only allows for the things which the designers want to allow. This would be at odds with, say, an otherwise similar but open source product. I admit this point does not come across much at all as written, but is an extraordinarily valid criticism. "I am paying such and such, and yet an arbitrary design decision prevents me from doing what I wish to do." A rewrite would (IMO) be far preferable to deletion.
As to citing prices: before deleting them, please try to find sources yourself; they're on the manufacturer's website (albeit are likely to change not infrequently). I always rather look first, then either i) correct what is wrong; ii) add ref to correct info; iii) as last resort, delete unfixable content.
Baccyak4H , 9 October (UTC)
I can't find a reference for the criticism that the single-user license "places the software out of the hands of many who could benefit from using it", so I've tagged this.
I've also split the criticism of being proprietary from the criticism of the Standard version costing too much.
Additional weasel-wording in this section includes: "a policy some find draconian" and "which some argue slows down the speed". --Ds13 , 9 October (UTC)

Here are links [3][4] to two software reviews complaining about the price. I didn't bother to include the random newsgroup comments regarding Mathematica's high price. If you know of any reviews claiming that Mathematica is an excellent value for the price, please let me know; I didn't find any during my search.

I don't believe that any software which charges a price should be criticized on that fact alone, but nor do I believe that any price set for a piece of software is automatically reasonable just because the market will bear it. I agree that finding verifiable citations is the way to establish which side of the fence Mathematica sits on. -- Four Dog Night , 9 October (UTC)

I didn't find any reviews that said it was good value. I guess it's just me, but I'll accept that. (Personally, I think that $ for students as long as they're in school is a great value. And any for-profit entity that needs to spend the $1, for their license is probably spending tens of thousands in hardware and, especially, salary to operate the system, so the difference between $1, and free may not be as significant for that target buyer as it might seem.) Anyways, that's my POV and there doesn't appear to be a reliable source that feels the same way.
I've bolstered the "proprietary" criticism with some context and a link to comparisons with competitive software, after an anonymous user blanked it. Thought technically, that criticism is still without reference to a reliable, notable source — it almost appears as an original argument. Thoughts? --Ds13 , 10 October (UTC)

Here is the abstract of a paper by Richard Fateman and Derek Lai:

Users of computers for scientific and mathematical computation have become more aware of computer algebra systems through recent commercialization of the technology. However, the proprietary nature of most such systems makes the software unavailable to computer scientists and systems developers for "dissection" and for certain kinds of experiments or applications. In an attempt to provide appropriate software for such purposes, and especially for interaction in the Common Lisp environment, we have developed a simple mathematical display package. This program produces conventional notation - raised superscripts, fraction bars, and similar features, from an internal notation that is quite natural in Lisp. This module fits into the model begun by earlier programs at Berkeley consisting of a "clone" parser for one common proprietary system (the Mathematica (TM) language), and a simplifier for rational alloverlimo.us entire package is written in Common Lisp, and some of its main features are described in this document.

The actual paper (click on the "full text" link) goes a bit further regarding the problems of proprietary CAS systems.

P.S. Just FYI, my POV is that $ (instead of $) would be a reasonable full list price. But either way, it is out of my price range, so I will be sticking with the free stuff. -- Four Dog Night , 10 October (UTC)

Interesting you cited Fateman. He has on several occasions posted to MathGroup on how one can write some code that does not do what it is documented to do. He would then often state how unacceptable this was, to the effect of this isn't in the documentation, and I cannot see under the hood. Someone else (name escapes me) does that a lot as well, quite a bit less adversarially I might add (and both use remarkably contrived constructions). I am not sure how to use this to better the article, but felt it worth mentioning. Baccyak4H , 10 October (UTC)
Ironically, I can't read the paper due to the proprietary nature of its ownership and/or distribution. ;) I agree with your point though, especially when the user of an algebra package is expertly capable of reading/using/modifying/evaluating its source, then being open can be a significant benefit. But I suspect the portion of users who need a computer algebra system and who are actually capable of expertly reading/modifying/evaluating its source code (were it to be made available) is very small. --Ds13 , 10 October (UTC)
I don't know what I would have done to have special access to that paper, but who knows. Interesting. Fateman also wrote a technical critique of Mathematica in I don't know to what extent the problems he describes still exist in the current version of Mathematica. -- Four Dog Night , 10 October (UTC)
I don't think that price should even be an issue in this debate. One may acquire the student version (if one is a student) for a substantial discount. Further, if one needs Mathematica then it may be argued that one will have the means of securing a license regardless the cost. (Research grants do wonders to provide the ardent mathematician with powerful computers, state-of-the-art software, and the odd research assistant or two.) For that matter, given the necessity of a PC in today's world, one could consider any computer prohibitively expensive for the poorest of people. Should entries on PCs criticize them because they are not free? Eyes down, human. , 29 January (UTC)
WP isn't the place to debate whether Mathematica's price is "reasonable". We can, however, present the facts and let users decide for themselves. The other major, supported, commercial CAS is Maple, which costs roughly the same. Macsyma (alas) has not been supported for years, and MuPad, though significantly cheaper, is not widely used (for whatever reasons). Of course, free/open source systems cost $0. I have no axe to grind here -- I worked on the original MIT Macsyma, and now contribute to the free Maxima project. As for Peter Coffee's comment about its high price (and "and unconventional user interface", by the way) limiting its wide adoption, it hardly seems worth mentioning. If BMWs were cheaper, I bet more people would buy them, too. --Macrakis , 29 January (UTC)

I cannot summon to mind a single example anywhere else on wikipedia where the differences between pricing from one country to another are made an issue of. Certainly, many such situations exist, but they are highly dependent on things like current exchange rates. Perhaps the subject of varitions in pricing by country deserves its own article. Cut why it sholud be important to mention here when it isn't anywhere else escapes me. --Pleasantville

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Tag: Wolfram Mathematica Free Download

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Источник: [alloverlimo.us]

halirutan / Wolfram-Language-IntelliJ-Plugin-Archive Public

Download CountJoin the chat at alloverlimo.usBuild Status


This is an easy to install plug-in for almost all IntelliJ based IDEs like IDEA or PyCharm. It will turn the IDE you love into into a powerful development tool for Mathematica and Wolfram Language code. Since the plug-in and the Community Edition of IDEA is open-source, you can use everything completely free of charge. People, who just want to use the plug-in should take a look at the official website alloverlimo.us

For a very quick start just download and install the free Community Edition of IDEA. After you have done that, open the Settings by pressing ++ (+ on OS X) and navigate to Plugins in the right column. On the right side you find the button Browse repositories and there you use the search box to find the Mathematica Support. With a right-click you can install it and after the suggested restart of IDEA everything is set up.

If you like the plug-in, please leave a comment and a rating at the IntelliJ IDEA Plugins page.


There are two kinds of documentation: For users there is the GitHub Wiki page that I will update regularely and a very detailed blog post on the official website. There, you will learn what features the plug-in provides and how you can use them.

For developers, the first action is to set up the build-environment to compile the code into an IDEA plug-in. There is a very detailed how-to on the official website that explains every step. Additionally, you will find a screen-cast there, where the procedure is shown step by step. The code itself contains java-documentation that is uploaded to the repository's IO page.

Finally, there I have posted information on stack exchange and the Wolfram Community. Here is a list of probably interesting readings:

dev image Development Build Status


When you want to crawl through the code, you should know that the master branch only contains the latest stable release. The current development will (almost) always take place in feature or bugfix branches that derive from the develop branch. This kind of follows the GitFlow branching model.

Testing and Continuous Integration

Testing the plugin is not as simple as writing unit test since most features need the environment of the IDE. Currently, I'm still working on including tests in a separate branch that will soon be merged into the main develop line.

On each push the code is compiled and checked for errors by Travis CI. When a feature is finished or a bugfix ready, I will tag this commit and Travis CI will automatically create a release from this which can be installed and tested by everyone.

You want to help but don't know Java?

No problem. If you like to contribute something, then there are a lot more ways than just with code! Here is a small list:

  • We need people that heavily test the plug-in and report bugs. This can be as simple as just using the plug-in for your work, but when you come across weird behavior, you try to reproduce it and report it with a small example of what you expect.
  • Are you a design savant? Do you understand the beauty of carefully chosen colors and icons? Currently, I'm doing this by myself but neither do I have the time I would like to spend for this, nor do I have the experience. We need icons and syntax highlighting that fit perfectly into the Darcula and Default IDEA color schemes.
  • Are you a work-flow optimizer with a good feeling for how features should work to make them as intuitive as possible? Drop by and explain how we can make the plug-in even more awesome.

bug image Reporting issues

For issue- and bug-tracking GitHub Issues is used. If you find bugs, experience weird behavior or have feature suggestions please create a new issue.

Note that the plug-in itself contains a bug-reporter. When an unhandled exception is thrown, you are notified by IDEA and you can give as much details as possibles which are then automatically turned into a new issue in the bug-tracker.

contact image Credits, Contact and Licensing


A lot of people helped to bring this project to life. Without them, it would probably have died a long time ago. Especially 4 people supported the plug-in from its very buggy first version. They were never tired of discussing feature details, testing new stuff, reporting bugs and suggesting future improvements:

  • rsmenon: Provided parts of the Module and Color Scheme implementations, testing. Improvements of the parsing for Mathematica version

  • Szabolcs Horvát: Heavy testing. Convinced me to implement a Structure View provider and discussed every detail, especially how it should work.

  • Leonid Shifrin: Most interesting discussions about implementation design and details.

  • Rolf Mertig: Testing and discussions about important features that are available in Wolfram Workbench.

In addition to that, a special thanks goes to Aliaksandr Dubrouski and Jakub Kuczmarski. The first on pointed me to Travis CI and explained how I can add support for it. The second one discussed details of the support in Wolfram Workbench.


The easiest way to make contact is to write in the the dedicated stackexchange chat. There, you should ping me (@halirutan) so that I get notified. If you don't have enough reputation to talk there, feel free to write me an email. My address can be seen by evaluating this in Mathematica

If you have specific feature questions, please don't hesitate to open a new issue in YouTrack.


The general license for the IntelliJ IDEA Plugin is the MIT License. Users should note that Wolfram Research Inc. (WRI) has generously granted this project the right to use the internal documentation of Mathematica and make it available as part of the plugin. The only requirement was to put the legal information in a place where end-users find it. Therefore, please note that..

This software includes information that is Copyright © Wolfram Research, Inc. Such information is used with permission and for the limited purpose of enabling code completion and hints in the Mathematica IntelliJIDEA Plugin. Any other use requires written permission from the copyright holder.

Источник: [alloverlimo.us]

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