
Re: Mathematica and Lisp
Posted:
Feb 6, 2013 1:51 AM


On 2/3/2013 5:20 PM, John Doty wrote: .... You seem to think I haven't written Mathematica programs. Maybe looking at the appendix here would change your mind. Maybe not, though. http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~fateman/papers/betterrules.pdf
(JD writes..)
> > Considered as software failures, both of these occurred in application code and were not the result of programming language deficiencies.
Was the code not written in a programming language? Even if it was written in assembler, that too is a programming language. I expect that the bug occurred because the programmer did not realize the semantics of the code.
>I don't find Mathematica to be especially mysterious relative to its capabilities.
Mathematica the language is, I think, relatively mysterious. The application underneath it adds both capabilities and extra mystery. > >>
>> (RJF) I would hope you would be very aware of the Ariane 5 >> >> and similar disasters. > > I am aware of those, as well as many that you've never heard of.
How would you know that I don't know? Are they secret?
> > Not all bugs are of equal importance. An error of 5.5E79 in a Bessel function is very unlikely >to cause trouble in a practical application.
One of the marvels of computing today is that it is possible to do so much in such a short time. One can execute billions of instructions a second. If only one in a million does the wrong thing, and is wrong only by a tiny percent, you can accumulate a whopping mistake in a second.
I've been using Mathematica to do practical work since version 1, > and I've never encountered a bug in its numerics.
I guess it is my turn to wonder if YOU know much about Mathematica.
> > Crazy results from numerical codes are a normal occurrance, >... > I don't find Mathematica to be unusually hazardous here.
I guess I disagree on this point. > >> This is pretty far afield from the original question which I >> >> think was somehow...s Mathematica somehow Lisplike.... should I learn Lisp... > > I'm unusual in that I write practical engineering code in Scheme (a Lisp dialect), > along with code for both science and engineering in Mathematica.
I think that is unusual, but I count it as a good thing. Though Common Lisp (a Lisp dialect) is used in space computations  the Hubble telescope. For more applications, see http://commonlisp.net/~dlw/LispSurvey.html
... > > Programming language specialists have many interesting ideas, > but lousy judgement when it comes to which ones are important >in any particular application context.
Somewhat overgeneralized, I think. .....
RJF

