Getting started with wolfram-mathematica

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This section provides an overview of what wolfram-mathematica is, and why a developer might want to use it.

It should also mention any large subjects within wolfram-mathematica, and link out to the related topics. Since the Documentation for wolfram-mathematica is new, you may need to create initial versions of those related topics.

What is (Wolfram) Mathematica?

Wolfram define Mathematica as "The world's definitive system for modern technical computing". A bold statement which is partially true. It's probably not the most predominant (as you have to pay quite a bit for commercial use) system so people use Python or R for example. What it is, is the most comprehensive environment for "technical computing" by providing the follow functionality:

  • The Wolfram Language: A multi-paradigm language which covers symbolic computation with procedural, functional, list and rule-based programming
  • "Notebooks": A combination of documentation, programs and results
  • Wolfram Algorithmbase: Probably the largest curated set of algorithms covering most major areas of mathematics, computation, and graphics. Most people don't distinguish between Algorithmbase and the Language as they are so tightly intertwined
  • With the introduction of Wolfram|Alpha came Wolfram Knowledgebase that covers many common areas of knowledge so you can answer a question such as "total time to defrost a 10 pound turkey in cold water" (which is 5h) in your program.

The whole system runs on the "Wolfram Engine" which is essentially a Virtual Machine, much like the Java Virtual Machine or Microsoft's Common Language Runtime allowing execution on a diverse set of platforms - currently Windows, Mac and Linux. Apart from running programs on a computer, you can also run them in the "Wolfram Cloud" which is a simple process compared to more "lower level" languages such as Java and C#.

The current version of Mathematica is 11 which can be run on the Desktop, Wolfram Cloud and iOS (both iPad and iPhone).

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
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