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Programming Math

Wolfram Language Demo Impresses 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the lingua-mathematica dept.
theodp writes "The devil will be in the details, but if you were stoked about last November's announcement of the Wolfram programming language, you'll be pleased to know that a just-released dry-but-insanely-great demo delivered by Stephen Wolfram does not disappoint. Even if you're not in love with the syntax or are a FOSS devotee, you'll find it hard not to be impressed by Wolfram's 4-line solution to a traveling salesman tour of the capitals of Western Europe, 6-line camera-capture-to-image-manipulation demo, or 2-line web crawling and data visualization example. And that's just for starters. So, start your Raspberry Pi engines, kids!"
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

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  • Re:mathematica? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday February 28, 2014 @12:09PM (#46367905) Homepage

    Am I supposed to be impressed by "a 4-line solution to a traveling salesman tour" when that 4 line solution calls a library function called "FindShortestTour()"?

    That might be useful if your name is Martin Gardner, but...

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday February 28, 2014 @12:09PM (#46367907)

    Cramming 20 commands and 8 layers of brackets into one line doesn't make your programm an 'impressive 5-liner'. It, at most, makes a neat stunt by a mathematician in a proprietary programming language he invented himself. I'd be tempted to call it shitty programming.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    No you miss the point. It shows that two things have been accomplished

    first every command has an almost universal API for input and output letting you pipeline everything you do. try that with almost any normal library. it fails. now imagine achieving that across a language that is staggeringl comprehensive, deep and wide. it's a tour de force.

    then imagine someone told you that, by the way, that API was also symbolic.

    and wait it's also a functional programing

    and reactive.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday February 28, 2014 @12:14PM (#46367957) Journal

    A programming language with primitives like:

    "Compile a list of all European Capitals"

    and

    "Joe, my graduate student, find the shortest path between them"

    sounds like a damned powerful anguage to me.

    The ultimate is an AI, "Go Do X", where X Is an arbitrarily complicated and fuzzy problem, described in natural language.

    For example, "AI, go assemble a list of all known pictures of Cara Delevigne and Michelle Rodriguez, sorted with most romantic or intimate at the top."

    Do you deny that would be an awesome and powerful and beautiful language capable of analyzing the deepest and most important issues known to Mankind?

  • by lucag (24231) on Friday February 28, 2014 @12:25PM (#46368069) Homepage

    Indeed, and it appears that this is actually the goal of the project, per the original announcement
      http://blog.stephenwolfram.com... [stephenwolfram.com]
    The scary bit, is that many of the "novelties" there announced (i.e. homogeneous treatment of input, output and data, etc.) are actually quite old ideas in the arena of functional programming (lisp or scheme are built upon these foundations)... sometimes they work nicely; often you risk ending up with academic exercises.
    I am myself not too keen on "revolutionary technologies" which should rather be considered "evolutionary developments" (even when the evolution actually provides something new and useful)!

    What is new here should be the integration with a massive database of `facts' and the possibility of performing elaborate queries, relying on `ready-made' algorithms.
    This is very convenient and potentially useful but
      a) it has little to do with `programming' per se; it is a programmatic interface to a knowledge-based system (where the knowledge itself includes also the algorithms being requested)
      b) it is opaque, in the sense that there is little control on what code is doing what data: many of the functions act actually as black boxes and it is not straightforward to see how to actually get in control of the system and/or understand what is actually being done in order to provide an answer.

    A further remark: (b) is most of the time not required at all (we just want to get a rough picture of something), but it is essential e.g. for scientific applications.

  • by dmgxmichael (1219692) on Friday February 28, 2014 @02:03PM (#46368927) Homepage

    Hi. I'm a 15 year old script kiddie. I just love those thousands of hideous functions because deep inside a significant fraction of them lies an exploit so obvious that three of my friends figured a half dozen of them out in a two hour Redbull and Cheetos hacking session (which consisted mostly of Googling pictures of naked 16 year olds and occasionally looking for PHP vulnerabilities).

    That hardly debunks my point. Rather, it reinforces it - people choose languages on the basis of work getting done quickly - all other concerns go out the window pretty quickly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @03:02PM (#46369485)

    I wonder how often you can set out to do an amazing thing and end up with a few lines of Wolfram.

    Try doing Project Euler [projecteuler.net] in Mathematica. It's so easy, I jokingly refer to it as Mathematica One-Liners.

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