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Old 2009-05-20, 16:02   #23
xilman
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May 2003
Down not across

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sichase View Post
Another data point:

I went to grad school and was good friends with a very talented young mathematician named Elise Cawley. Years later she went on to marry Stephan Wolfram. Elise was the one of most down-to-earth level-headed people I have ever known. If she is willing to spend time with Wolfram, then I absolutely believe he is a very decent person when the cameras are not on him.
Oh, I quite accept that he can be friendly and charming. At least, he was 25 years ago and we got on fine.

I don't see any conflict between those characteristics and a self-confidence well on the side of immodesty.


Paul
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Old 2009-05-20, 22:13   #24
plandon
 
May 2009
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I'm liking it!

Maybe it has been over-hyped,
maybe people's expectations are higher than it delivers,
maybe it is buggy,
maybe it is it complete;
that is strongly probable to all those bases ;)

My first test of it was the infinite product from k=1 of
(2^k-1)/(2^k)

It told me!
Prior I spent some time trying to find it before I calculated the first few digits and then used Plouffe's Inverse Symbolic Calculator to find more.
As a nice little exercise try proving that it is convergent.

My next test of it was after a pub debate about Erastosthenes' measure of the circumference of the Earth. This is important, there is a pint bet involved!
My first port of call was Google to Wikipaedia. But I then used W|Alpha with "Cairo to Syrene". It didn't know Syrene but Wiki had given me the coords of Syrene. W|A smartly assumed I meant degrees of arc and minutes (angular measure) but gave me the choice of changing it. It also immediately gave me the distance including 1/50th of the circumference of the earth.

Since then I have used it many times for a quick ModPow or Prime Factors of 2^27-1 or MultiplicativeOrder(9,29) or (6,211).

At the very least it is a free license to use Mathematica.

It is far from perfect, far from complete; but I like it and d Utility/dt is positive and high.

Paul Landon
ps. A bonus mark to it for a precise 2 digit result to the query "Ultimate Answer?"
http://www61.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=ultimate+answer
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Old 2009-05-22, 07:06   #25
plandon
 
May 2009
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I can't find the Edit button :(
Quote:
maybe it is it complete;
I meant maybe it is incomplete.
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Old 2009-05-23, 11:03   #26
jasonp
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Oct 2004

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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
At the end, he asked for questions and comments. Smales
(the Fields Medalist) got up, and started explaining how and why
mathematica was UNUSABLE in its (then) present incarnation.
He gave *many* examples of elementary errors made by the software.
I think this is depressingly common; Wolfram spoke to faculty and students at the U of MD back around 1996 while doing a demo of the latest Mathematica version at the time (5.0?). Then he opened the floor for questions.

If someone has a good shot at being the smartest guy in the room, what would you ask him? His view of the future of symbolic algebra, or the human-machine interface, or the nature of science?

The first question was 'why can't Mathematica symbolically integrate sin(sin(x))?' Wolfram knew off the top of his head.
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