Talk:Wolfram Mathematica/Archive 3

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The comment on Steven Jobs suggestion is one of the most stupid things you could add to this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:18, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. The placement is kind of insulting as well. It suggests to me, a Mathematica+Maple user, that the Wiki community thinks that Steve Jobs having suggested the name for the software is of first paragraph importance. I don't find that assertion to be notable. Maybe move it to a new section, we could call it "Things people who use maths software don't care about but which are of utmost importance to Steve Jobs fans"?
For the sake of full disclosure, I admit I am not a fan of Apple fans. I may find the naming history of other software interesting, if Steve Jobs weren't involved and if it wasn't in the first paragraph. (talk) 17:31, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, what a silly statement. Maybe in a new section "Curious Tidbits" or "Odds and Ends" or "Trivia". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cainoom (talkcontribs) 02:10, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Mathematica 7[edit]

I have made corrections to material that was already in the article where things have changed with the release of Mathematica 7.

I have not attempted to add any of the new capabilities and will leave it to others to decide which are notable.

The list is at

JonMcLoone (talk) 09:41, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Theorem Proving Software?[edit]

Does Mathematica have theorem proving capabilities? I have used Mathematica for some time but have not come across anything that seemed like theorem proving. First order logic, yes, but it is primarily similar to other built in commands. Theorem proving implies that the system can store definitions and theorems and validate deductions and inferences, which I'm almost positive it cannot.

--Farleyknight (talk) 05:57, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

According to Prof. Geoff Sutcliffe's "overview of automatic theorem proving" the Waldmeister automatic theorem proving system is built into Mathematica. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:02, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

That's right, one can uses the theorem prover through the command Simplify, which is very powerful. (talk) 22:46, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Home use explanation[edit]

The home-use license which is included as a benefit of the service agreement on Mathematica is available in ALL regions where Mathematica is sold. The new (yesterday) purchaseable home use license is currently only available in the US and Canada, so I added that to the list of discount classes that 'depend on region'. JonMcLoone (talk) 10:22, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The purchasable Home Use License is now available in Europe and most of the Middle East and North Africa and will soon be available in several other regions. JonMcLoone (talk) 09:59, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Is Mathematica multilingual ?[edit]

The information box to the right hand side of the page says Mathematica is multilingual. Is this true? What langauges is Mathematica 7 available in? I can't seem to find it, but perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong place. Drkirkby (talk) 17:40, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

It is currently available in English, Japanese and Chinese. JonMcLoone (talk) 09:08, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Jon, You might want to get your colleages in Japan to update the Mathematica page in Japanese, as it appears to be very incomplete. Drkirkby (talk)
Can you point me to a page which says that in English - I don't speak Japanese or Chinese. Drkirkby (talk) 10:25, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
[1] and [2] JonMcLoone (talk) 08:31, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
The documentation is also online: Japanese, Chinese JonMcLoone (talk) 08:34, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you Jon. I went to the Japanese link you kindly provided, clicked the first square box below the search tool (no idea what it says, as in Japanese), then clicked the first link (again in Japanese). After just two clicks I get to a page written in English, about the Language Overview. In fact, it seems impossible to click more than a couple of links before one reaches pages written exclusively in English. The same happens on the Chinese link you provided.
Is the Documentation Centre similar? If it is, as I suspect, I personally feel Mathematica should not be classed as multilingual as indicated in the article. Having written a multi-lingual open source chess program (about 10 languages) I know it's impossible to keep all languages up to date. I think Swedish is 99%, German and French about 75%, going down to Russian where only about 5% of the messages are in Russian.
I'm not saying all languages should be 100% translated to be classed as mutli-lingual, but if its only a few percent of the documentation is translated, I think it's stretching the imagination somewhat to call it multi-lingual. Comments ? Drkirkby (talk) 22:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Whats happening, is that your browser language is set to English and so every time you follow a link on the web version of the documentation, the website is subsituting the English version of the page think it more appropriate for you. If you change your browser setting or click the Japanese or Chinese link at the bottom of each page or edit the .html URLs to .ja.html then you will see that essentially all of the documentation is translated. Its not impossible to maintain multiple languages, its just very expensive! JonMcLoone (talk) 09:02, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. After the first click, it remained Japanese, but later went to English. I'll believe you it's all in Japanese - I can't be bothered to fiddle with my browser settings to see a language I don't understand! I can believe is must be very expensive to keep the documentation up to date in other languages. I don't know if it's true, but I believe there are more Chinese speakers than English, so perhaps part of the reason for a having it in Chinese. A lot of the German technical users I know, speak English better than me, so perhaps there is not much point in a German version! Thanks for clearing that up. Drkirkby (talk) 20:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
PS, your your web team might like to know that on the main (or page, running the mouse over Products one finds there is only one product - Mathematica. On all subsequent pages, one can choose from all your other products (home, grid, player etc). It never used to be like that, so I expect it's a mistake rather than a design decision. (Sorry for a few extra bytes Wikipedia, but I don't think the disk space will break you) Drkirkby (talk) 20:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks on the bug report. Looks like a temporary glitch. It was working again by the time I read this. If you still see it, let me know what browser you are using.JonMcLoone (talk) 08:36, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I do still see the problem. I'm using Firefox under Solaris 10 on SPARC - so not your typical browser. I just checked it on a Vista PC with a later version of Firefox and found the page behaves as intended. Note however, according to the W3C validator, there are 33 XHTML errors and 4 CCS errors on the Wolfram Research home page, so it's not surprising my browser has trouble. The same browser used to show the page very differently - its only changed in the last month or two. Drkirkby (talk) 01:51, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
I can see how that would be missed. I reported the bug.JonMcLoone (talk) 15:48, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Mathematica page suffering from a pro-Wolfram bias again[edit]

I am going to revert the edit of Cloudruns, which removed part of a sentence I wrote, which I believe is relevant in the context of Mathematica and Sage.

I feel I have myself have tried to be neutral to products from Wolfram Research. For example, you will see I argued to get the Wolfram Alpha page restored after it's deletion. I also started the page on gridMathematica, but specifically asked it was kept neutral, since the Mathematica page was often very pro-Mathematica.

But I have looked back at several edits of Cloudruns and feel they are very pro-Mathematica and are not from a neutral point of view. For example at 10:45, 20 November 2008, on the page on Comparision of Computer Algebra systems Cloudruns adds to the section on notes under Mathematica that Ubiquitous system also includes extensive numeric capabilities, statistics, image processing, number theory, boolean computation and is a development environment. I find it hard to believe that Ubiquitous is not a stretch of the imagination. (Try a search on jobsite, monstir or other job sites and see how many jobs require Mathematica skills, and one would soon see Mathematica is not ubiquitous. There were zero jobs when I looked, but lots on MATLAB) One could argue that the features of Mathematica are described on the Mathematica page, so why add them to the page on Comparison of Computer Algebra systems?

Cloudruns adds various links to Wolfram Research web sites, and generally appears to promote Mathematica and do the reverse to pages on other computer algebra systems.

Would Cloudruns mind saying if they have any commercial connections with Wolfram Research? Drkirkby (talk) 21:31, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Can you explain why Sage's mission statement is relevant here? I'm afraid I don't see it. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 10:44, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
By the way, the heading of this section seems to have nothing to do with its contents. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 10:54, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I would have thought if Sage aimed to be a free alternative to Mathematica, then it was relevant when discussing it was an interface to Mathematica. However, after thinking about it more, I did not revert the edit, but changed it to Sage, which aims to create a free alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab, has an interface to Mathematica. I also removed the link to computer algebra system added by Cloudruns as it implies Sage was limited to computer algebra. Drkirkby (talk) 12:14, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Your edit has TWO problems, neither of which have to do with being pro or anti Mathematica--the MISSION STATEMENT refers to what it hopes to be in the FUTURE, not what it is NOW. Second it doesn't say what it IS. If you don't know what Maple, Mathematica, Matlab and Magma are, you have no idea what the reference is about. We know the reader doesn't know about Mathematica, as they are reading this page to find out.

I see that the SAGE page describes it as a math system, not a CAS, so I will use that description.

I will address your comment on my edit to Comparison of Computer algebra systems on THAT talk page.

If you have a problem with any of my contributions to this page, please tell me which ones.

Cloudruns (talk) 17:37, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I asked you a simple question here, and on your talk page, to neither of which you have chosen to reply. Would you mind confirming my conjecture that you have connections with the Wolfram Research organization? If you do, then you may have a conflict of interest. In which case Wikipedia has rules about what you should and should not do.
I will not jump at your demands. Your attacks over a MINOR edit are IMPOLITE (others have writen on your talk page about ASSUME GOOD FAITH and CIVILITY), and potentially HYPOCRITICAL (a quick google shows there is also a SAGE DEVELOPER with the ID drkirkby). I too asked a question that YOU ignored. So I shall assume that you have no further problems with my other contributions to this page.Cloudruns (talk) 12:25, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion, your edits are biased towards Wolfram Research. Your edit to Comparision of Computer Algebra systems says that Mathematica is Ubiquitous, which is clearly a matter of opinion and not an indisputable fact. When I wrote that Sage aims to be an alternative to Mathematica (which is not a personal opinion, but an indisputable fact), you delete it. (Although I have not looked for them, I suspect it would be possible to find statements about the aims of Sage in peer-reviewed journals).
The statement that Sage is mathematics software, is an indisputable fact, but it is not likely to be particularly useful to the reader of the Mathematica page, as there are hundreds or thousands of bits of mathematics software. The fact that Sage aims be be a free alternative to Mathematica is much more likely to be useful to the reader of the Mathematica page. Of course, that information is less likely to be to the benefit of Wolfram Research, which is what leads to be the conjecture that you may have a conflict of interest. Drkirkby (talk) 16:48, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Two other editors have SUPPORTED my edit. Unless you wish to accuse them of bias too, I consider this matterh CLOSED. Cloudruns (talk) 12:25, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Cloudruns that Sage's "mission statement" isn't relevant to the page, and I'd go a bit further to state that it seems a bit too promotional. Information about Sage or other subjects should be limited to what is relevant to Mathematica itself. On the other hand, Cloudruns if you have a conflict of interest because you are affiliated with Wolfram or with Mathematica in any other way, you are strongly encouraged to disclose this per Wikipedia's guidelines. I have to say the same for Drkirkby as well, however, if they are affiliated with Sage. This will make it easier to determine if a neutral point of view is being expressed in the article. -- Atamachat 19:56, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
For the record, I do help on Sage development (unpaid). My particular interest is in improving the Sage port to Sun'sSolaris operating system. Before accusing me of a bias, consider a few things.
  • I edited the Mathematica page well before ever being involved in Sage - probably well before Sage even existed, and certainly before I knew of Sage's existence.
  • I have written a web based interface to Mathematica called WITM
  • I started the gridMathematica page
  • I argued for the Wolfram Alpha page to be restored, after it was speedily deleted. (I had not even see the page, but was aware from MathGroup that it had been deleted. If you look on my talk page, you will see an admin thanking me about that.
  • If you look at the bit of trivia below, you will see I asked Sourceforge to add Mathematica as a programming language. (It took them a year to do it, but they did).
I don't think I have ever edited the MATLAB or Maple pages - or if I have, it has been very little. I am 100% certain I've never added any links to Sage. Those products don't interest me as much as Mathematica.
So I am not anti-Mathematica. I think it is a good product. There are some comments above here from JonMcLoone (talk) (another Wolfram Research employee) about when we had telephone discussions when I was keen for him to come to the Uni and give some information about Mathematica, since despite having a site license, it was little used.
I do however have some concerns about how the Mathematica page is edited by at least one, probably two employees of Wolfram Research, to make it like an advertising brochure. If you look on the talk page of JonMcLoone (talk) you will see several others objecting to him adding links to the Mathematica page just because he could. There are two major differences between Jon and you though. Jon has the decency to admit he is a Wolfram Research employee, and contributes useful information to the Mathematica page. You appear to mostly promote Mathematica by rearranging content in a way which reflects better on Mathematica. Which is what makes me think you are probably an employee of Wolfram Research, as I can see no other reason your edits would be so biased.
A quick look at the MATLAB page shows it is more neutral than the Mathematica one. There are sections on Limitations and another on Alternatives. I can't imagine either of those would last too long on the Mathematica page. Drkirkby (talk) 03:00, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

FWIW, I'm not particularly vested in any edits to this article, but am a regular Mathematica user. From that informed distance, this page comes across (to me at least) as strikingly Mathematica-biased: the text reads like ad copy, and glaring nonsense like the scattershot categorization undermines the credibility of both the article and the categories. Nonetheless, that bias cannot be corrected by awkward isolated counterattacks, like the out of place information about Sage's aspirations to "be a free alternative", which only comes across as an attack on Mathematica (and ultimately promotional in it's own right). AldaronT/C 03:35, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I cleaned up parts of the article but it's still far from an unbiased description of the program. Most of the parts are written like in a product promoting article or advertisement. I also find it hilarious that even the MATLAB page lists both the commercial and open source alternatives to MATLAB in a section, "surprisingly" none of that is to be found in this article. --piksi (talk) 09:52, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
There is a list of alternative CAS systems, a list of numerics systems and a list of statistics systems at the bottom of the page. Indeed there are so many listed that they are in collapsible sections. JonMcLoone (talk) 09:30, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

[ Fair warning : this comment is the expression of feelings after reading this article. Due to lack of time, it offers o detailed criticism, nor pointers to references. ]

In its present state, this article looks awfully like a Wolfram's brag sheet. I was especially frightened by the need to gratuitously quote Saint Steve Jobs, holy patron of the marketers, in the second paragraph of the introduction.

This article presents what (the authors think that) Mathematica can do, without any explanation on how it does it, nor how to use the software. No description is given either of the interface, the language and the libraries other than mentioning the separation between interface and engine.

I was also surprised by the lack of any reference to any other computer algebra or symbolic math package or to the history of this field. Such articles do exist in Wikipedia, pointing to them should not be *that* hard.

This state of affairs might be the result of a covert marketing effort by Wolfram. It is more probably (alas !) the consequence of some fanboy behavior (analogous to Apple's fanboy trolling, which you can't currently avoid when writing about anything more-or-less Apple-related).

Since Mathematica is probably the most well-known symbolic math package, it deserves a *real* encyclopedic entry, not this four-color glossy. This article is, in its present state, totally useless to someone seeking information bout Mathematica.

And, no, I won't rewrite it, due to lack of time. (talk) 08:11, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

What I said above a couple of years ago still applies (or applies again): this article is not encyclopedic and fails to address many of the serious usability and design flaws in Mathematica in a balanced and objective way. AldaronT/C 13:26, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm probably the biggest Wolfram fan-boy you'll ever meet, but the most common criticisms (along with typical responses) of Mathematica that I've seen are: it's slow (typically countered with there is more than one way to write every program in every language, so it is not a Mathematica specific criticism), only one level of undo (typically from new users and is countered with the textual history of a notebook can be viewed in the notebook history window and storing the history of the state of all the variables in a session would typically use up too much memory), it's hard (a common response from lots of people that had programming forced on them in school, most of the engineering students and my school hated Matlab, for example), and there are more jobs requesting Matlab skills (Matlab is older than Mathematica). Wakebrdkid (talk) 18:29, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Categories - Why do so many silly ones exist ? Why is Mathematica in so many?[edit]

Does Mathematica really need listing in so many categories? I can't even understand the need for most of these categories to exist in Wikipedia. It does not appear to me that many people pay much attention to the categories.

  • Science Software has only 41 programs in the main category. Mathematica is one of the 41.
  • C software has only 9 programs, with Mathematica being one of the 9.

For the 3 main commercial maths packages, the categories they are listed in are

Mathematica is a programming language. I could program it to be an alarm clock if I wanted. Should it be listed in an alarm clocks category?

I looked to find a talk page to see what the point of the C Software category was, but could not find one.

Is adding Mathematica to so many categories intended to promote it? Judging by the fact that C software only has 9 entries, the categories can't be too important to most people.

I can't be bothered to remove the categories. Perhaps those that put Mathematica in them might like to ask themselves if it makes a positive contribution to Wikipedia or not. Drkirkby (talk) 16:28, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I've started by removing some of the silliest, but more removal needs to be done. AldaronT/C 17:58, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
This seems like a disturbing desire to delete information for the sake of it. You seem to be confusing two different issues. 1) Does Mathematica, or any other page for that matter, belong in category X? 2) Is category X stupid? Neither of you have suggested the issue is 1) and yet you are behaving as if it is.
Categories may be stupid- I have no real opinion on that (edit: it turns out I do), but given that there is a category on, say, Scientific Software, do you think you are helping Wikipedia by deleting relevant content from it? Using the justification that it only has 41 entries is like finding under-developed pages saying "this is useless so I am going to delete a sentance"
If the category is stupid then argue for its entire removal Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion, just like you would for a page deletion.
If it doesn't have enough entries, find some relevant articles and add them.
If Mathematica doesn't belong in the category then remove it.
What you are doing is the worst outcome. Leaving the Category there, but making it more useless.
Mathematica contains a database of over 100,000 stars, the Astronomical Databases category is not better served by its removal. Mathematica is a programming language with native support for sequencing and overlay of sampled, waveform and midi-sound. The Audio programming languages category is not better served for its removal. C Software is probably stupid, but it is only made more stupid by having less in it.
Info on categories can be read at Wikipedia:Categories
JonMcLoone (talk) 15:45, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
On a lighter note, I do, in fact, use Mathematica as an alarm clock when I am travelling, but I would certainly argue against its inclusion in Category:Clocks, for not being relevant enough. And in shameless self-promotion, you can read a blog item I wrote just yesterday, which incidentally uses Mathematica's audio programming language here. JonMcLoone (talk) 16:00, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I might as well finish off by saying which I think were incorrect deletions: Astronomical databases (as stated above), Scientific Software (for many many reasons), Earth_sciences_graphics_software (heaps of visualization, along with lots of geo projection, GIS and map data), Linux_graph_plotting_software (it does graphs and plotting and runs on linux but this is a stupid over categorization), Econometrics software (lots of fitting and goodness of fit parameters, logit, probit etc etc that are central to economentrics), Astronomical Software (more marginal, but as well as the data it has built in orbits calculations, and some relevant visualization tools), C Software (though it is stupid category).
Removals that I agree with: Java platform, Champaign Illinois and I removed IRIX Software.
JonMcLoone (talk) 16:44, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I would agree, Jon does have some (most in fact) valid points.
Clearly we agree some of the categories are stupid - C software is probably the most obvious example of them. I don't agree it is made more stupid by having only 9 items in it, but simply it would be a waste of peoples time to add their software to that category. Unfortunately, given the effort it takes to get pages deleted, the amount of free time I have, I don't have a desire to request C software is deleted. It is so stupid to not even warrant time spent on it. Feel free to do so if you wish Jon - I'd add a comment in the talk page that I agree with you.
I think all the categories tends to litter the Mathematica page somewhat, having them at the end. I believe there is an option to hide them , so they are only shown if someone clicks them. That may or many not be a sensible thing to do. If they are going to be displayed at the bottom of the page, and not hidden, I would have thought leaving out some of the less relevant ones to be sensible. If they are hidden, then it is not an issue. Drkirkby (talk) 20:43, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I think that the categories are quite useful. Many times, when I am reviewing a product for purchase or use at the office, I find myself on the categories page for comparison to other products that are similar. I understand that you might feel some of the categories are superfluous, but don't knock them. I agree the C Software category is not useful to me, but it might be useful to someone else, for some, strange, reason. // Mark Renier (talk) 09:46, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
The few lists I looked at, appeared to be be silly. IRIX-Software had lots of entries for software which no longer run on IRIX. The C programs listing only 9 entries appears poor on two counts. Firstly, there are millions of programs written in C. Secondly it's hard to see why anyone would want a list programs written in C programs. Scientific software was so incomplete (41 entries) to be next to useless. In any case, if you wanted to find a list of scientific software, you would probably have some idea what you were looking for and would make a much narrower search.
I think we have a 3-1 ish consensus that the categories are useful in general.
It looks like 3-1 against returning C software and IRIX is irrelevant since it was wrong.
Can interested parties vote on returning the following categories...
  • Astronomical databases:yes,
  • Scientific Software: yes
  • Earth_sciences_graphics_software: yes
  • Linux_graph_plotting_software: no
  • Econometrics software:yes,
  • Astronomical Software:abstain,

JonMcLoone (talk) 17:19, 26 June 2009 (UTC) Its been a month, so I will take it that there are no further votes, and return these four categories.JonMcLoone (talk) 08:51, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Sourceforge trivua[edit]

I thought this might amuse you.

On the 17th March 2008, I submitted a request to Sourceforge to ask them to add Mathematica as a programming language, along with C, Fortran, MATLAB, Labview etc. Apart from an automated response, nothing happened for almost a year. After more than 11 months, I received an update saying the priority had been changed from the default 1 to the lowest 5. Unfortunately, you can't see that priority change in the support request. I sent a reply to Sourceforge, pointing out that if it took a year at priority 1 to do nothing about the most trivial of enhancements at priority 1, I would be dead before Mathematica was added as a programming language. Sourceforge obviously took some notice of my comment, as Mathematica was added as a programming language a few days later! Drkirkby (talk) 02:12, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Connections to other software[edit]

There are now THREE sections dealing with connections to OTHER software. I PROPOSE merging the two MAIN sections, and moving the not-built-in front ends into this with SUBHEADINGS for Languages, Math software, Spreadsheets etc.

NOTE to drkirkby - this would reduce the number of references to your SAGE software from THREE to TWO. Hence advance notice so you may object. Cloudruns (talk) 12:30, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

There are FOUR sections dealing with connections to other software, since the Computable Data is quite similar . But I assume you would leave that alone, as it reflects favorably on Mathematica.
I personally thought the 3 other sections were fine, as they are quite distinct
  • The front ends which can be used on Mathematica - these are the things the user usually sees.
  • The software that Mathematica can connect to, to enhance the capabilities of Mathematica.
  • The software that can connect to Mathematica, to enhance the capabilities of that software.
Anything that CALLS Mathematica, is what you see, so is ALSO a front end. Some links are BIDIRECTIONAL. Is Excel a font end or is it enhanced by mathematica. Sage could go in all THREE sections. Also Front Ends currently mixes up OTHER front ends, with ones that you get as standard. Better to group by TYPE of software, rather than link DIRECTION. Cloudruns (talk) 11:53, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd be most surprised if your proposed edits did anything other than reflect more favorably on Mathematica.
I doubt one would find a section on Connections to specialized Mathematical software in a brochure for Mathematica, so I expect you would remove it from the Mathematica page on Wikipedia. Drkirkby (talk) 03:33, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Is that meant to IMPLY that I have deleted references to other products from this page in the PAST? If so you can add that to the FALSEHOODS that you wrote about me on Talk:Comparison_of_computer_algebra_systems#Comments_section

Actually I plan to ADD to the list. Cloudruns (talk) 09:29, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I do not believe I wrote any FALSEHOODS and still believe you have a conflict of interrst Drkirkby (talk) 12:23, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Cloudruns - Output of my submission to the conflict of interest notice board.[edit]

As some of you will realise, I do suspect Cloudruns (talk · contribs) has a conflict of interest over the Mathematica page. This is the result of what happened when I submitted this to Wikipedia's conflict of interest noticeboard. It would be preferable if you put any comments below the copy, not in the middle of it, since that will only make the copy inaccurate.

Mathematica is an high-end maths program produced by Wolfram Research. The Mathematica article has always been very promotional - a point that has been made by several different people at different times in the talk page. One of the regular editors JonMcLoone (talk · contribs) admits on the Talk:Mathematica he is employed by Wolfram Research, and as you will note, several have complained out his Mathematica links. But Jon does provide information to the Mathematica page which only an employee would know.

However, my concern here is about Cloudruns (talk · contribs), who I believe is trying to promote Mathematica too much, at the expensive of other similar software. Cloudruns (talk · contribs) edits many different pages on maths software, usually adding material to give the impression nothing can touch Mathematica. Some examples of dubious edits are:

  • On a comparison of computer algebra systems, he wrote of Mathematica Ubiquitous system also includes extensive numeric capabilities, statistics, image processing, number theory, boolean computation and is a development environment. [3] It's far from clear the program is ubiquitous
  • Cloudruns adds Mathematica to the page on a list of interactive geometry software [4] User Toscha (talk · contribs) later removed edit, correctly pointed out Mathematica is not interactive geometry software. Nobody would buy Mathematica for that purpose.
  • Although I would not dispute he was right to remove some hype words from an article on Sage (a competitor to Mathematica), he does tend to add hype whenever he can if it benefits Mathematica, and remove hype when he can if it might be detrimental to Mathematica.
  • When I wrote Sage, which aims to be a free alternative to Mathematica, can be used as an interface to Mathematica Cloudruns changed it to Sage mathematics software can be used as an interface to Mathematica.

I have no hard evidence to support my believe he probably works for Wolfram Research, but when asked both in Talk:Mathematica, and User_talk:Cloudruns if this is true, he declines to answer. Drkirkby (talk) 03:04, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Does anyone have any comment on this? I'm not sure what is supposed to happen, as this is the first time I have reported anyone for a conflict of interest. Drkirkby (talk) 21:28, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I've left a comment on Mathematica's talk page. I actually agreed with him on that particular issue about the "hype" about Sage, but that doesn't mean I agree with all of his edits. I reminded him that WP:COI strongly encourages editors to disclose a conflict of interest if they wish to edit an article whose subject they are affiliated with. On the other hand, Drkirkby, the question has been raised as to whether or not you are affiliated with Sage, and if so I give you the same encouragement for disclosure. -- Atamachat 20:01, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree there was some hype words. I did not write them myself. I agree he was right to remove them. It's just when you look at many of his edits, they seem very biased in one direction.
I do work as a developer on the Sage project (unpaid) - my main interest is improving the port to Solaris. I'll post a bit more info on the Mathematica talk page. Drkirkby (talk) 01:14, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Does anything else happen when User_talk:Cloudruns still refuses to answer if he has a WP:COI, despite your request? He still edits the Mathematica page in a pro-Wolfram way? Before his last round of edits, which promote the product even more, someone else has said in talk page that FWIW, I'm not particularly vested in any edits to this article, but am a regular Mathematica user. From that informed distance, this page comes across (to me at least) as strikingly Mathematica-biased: the text reads like ad copy... I'm not the only to feel that article is biased, and there are others who made the point in the archived talk pages. One person commented on this, but never edited the article as he disclosed he was a former employee. User_talk:Cloudruns just increases that bias. Drkirkby (talk) 13:55, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, no, I don't think anything else happens now. The difficulty is that I don't think you can really show a conflict of interest here. It might be shown that he has a pro-Mathematica bias, but the POV noticeboard might be a better place to try to get that resolved. Honestly, his refusal to answer is suspicious but he's not at all required to answer. WP:COI is a guideline, and doesn't supersede an editor's right to privacy, and you'll notice in reading the guideline that the language is quite careful, talking about what is "recommended" and "suggested". I think it might be worth bringing up in later discussions that he has refused to disclose his affiliation or lack thereof, but don't hound him about it or that could be considered harrassment and could backfire. If somehow it is revealed that he does have those affiliations and refused to disclose them earlier that will reflect poorly on him, but in the meantime what if he says no? If he's lying, you can't prove it. So I'd let this go of this particular angle and if he acts tedentious either report to the POV board or go through regular dispute resolution. -- Atamachat 22:57, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much Atama (talk · contribs). Although we both agree the refusal of Cloudruns (talk · contribs) to answer whether he has a conflict of interest is suspicious, I will not ask him any more about it. But I will as you suggest mention in any further discussions that Cloudruns (talk · contribs) has refused to disclose whether or not he has an affiliation with Wolfram Research. I will copy this over to the Mathematica talk page so there is a record of it there. Thank you once again. Drkirkby (talk) 12:18, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Drkirkby (talk) 14:00, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

So, I have been TRIED in my absence, without even the courtesy to invite me to defend myself, and still after this PROSECUTION-ONLY case, no one backs you.

Let me SUMMARIZE what we KNOW about the sequence of events, in order

  • YOU inserted a link to a product YOU work on WITHOUT declaring an interest
  • I REDUCED the promotional language in the edit and left the link.
  • You REPLACED the promotional language and accused me of COI edits and bias here and elsewhere and requested a statement from me about myself
  • Another editor supported MY version, which I replaced. I added explanation to the RATIONAL and asked to know which edits other edits you were unhappy with. I did not give a personal statement.
  • You REPLACE your version of the edit, still not declaring any COI status and you repeated your accusation and request for a personal statement from me. You did NOT provide DETAIL on edits on this page that you felt were BIASED.
  • A SECOND independent editor replaces my version of the edit
  • I refused to give a PERSONAL statement giving the apparent COI nature of YOUR initial edit as explanation of my indignation
  • A new editor MightyBig, is created and on the same day inserts Sage AGAIN into the page.
  • You make new allegations against me on Comparison of CAS, and REPORT me to the COI noticeboard also without mentioning your COI status on EITHER
  • The COI Noticeboard editor supports MY version of the edit, and makes reference to YOUR potential COI status
  • You finally declare your COI status here and on the COI Noticeboard but NOT on other pages where you have inserted Sage. As part of your statement you write "I am 100% certain I've never added any links to Sage." which is clearly FALSE: [5][6][7][8][9][10][11] and of course the one that started this [12]
  • The COI Noticeboard editor supports your view that not making a personal statement generates SUSPICION but concludes that there is NO FURTHER ACTION to take, and warns you about HARASSMENT policies.

I have copied this summary to your TALK page so that future editors who may be subject to personal attack following edits that oppose yours may be aware of this history. Cloudruns (talk) 12:54, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

First, my interest in Sage is not professional - I do not get paid to develop Sage. It is only something I do in my spare time, in much the same way as I developed WITM which is a web-based interface to Mathematica. So I did not see the need to declare an interest in Sage. I doubt most people would edit a Wikipedia page on something in which they have no interest. But when you asked, I confirmed an interest in Sage in less than 9 hours. In contrast, I asked you more than a week ago, an admin has asked you, and you still decline to confirm or deny whether you have any conflict of interest over any connections you may have with Wolfram Research.
I never said I'd never added a link to Sage - I said only said that in relation to the Maple and MATLAB pages. Judging by the sponsored ads from Wolfram Research when one does a Google search on 'sage math' I assume Wolfram Research fear Sage more than Maplesoft or Mathworks.
I suggest you take up with MightyBig his interest. It is quite possible it is someone interested in Sage, as Wikipedia was something we discussed recently and agreed we should address more. It was interesting as the only feature listed on Wikipedia page that Mathematica has that Sage does not, is the ability to download curated data which has been especially prepared for Mathematica. That feature does appear to be unique to Mathematica, though personally I'd rather know the original source of any data I download.
The other admim said he did agree with one of your edits about Sage, but that ws not to say he agreed with all your edits. He said it may be possible to show you have a Mathematica bias and how to address that. I suspect you have a COI, but can't prove it.
PS, I noticed you added a link to GITM, a GPIB interface to Mathematica. If you look on Sourceforge, you will see the username drkirkby started that project. So I have interests in both Mathematica and Sage. As Jon McLoone will tell you, I have had some email and telephone discussions with him about promoting Mathematica more in the university where I worked.

I suspect others will make their own judgments about the relative conflicts of interest we may have.

Drkirkby (talk) 03:40, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Does anyone disagree with User:Aldaron the Mathematica page is strikingly Mathematica-biased: the text reads like ad copy ??[edit]

Considering only the content of the article, does anyone disagree with the statement made by User:Aldaron above when he said:

FWIW, I'm not particularly vested in any edits to this article, but am a regular Mathematica user. From that informed distance, this page comes across (to me at least) as strikingly Mathematica-biased: the text reads like ad copy, and glaring nonsense like the scattershot categorization undermines the credibility of both the article and the categories. Nonetheless, that bias cannot be corrected by awkward isolated counterattacks, like the out of place information about Sage's aspirations to "be a free alternative", which only comes across as an attack on Mathematica (and ultimately promotional in it's own right).

If you disagree, then do nothing. If you do agree, perhaps you would consider making it less strikingly Mathematica-biased and make it read less like ad copy. Does anyone have any comments? Drkirkby (talk) 10:22, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I do think it might help if someone gave some examples. There is essentially no POV language (pejorative words) in the page anymore. Nothing says it is "good" or "bad".
I don't agree with your suggestion that a neutral article should have a "criticisms" section as Matlab page has. For NPOV such a section would need an "advantages" section to balance it and remain close to neutral. It would inevatable become a battleground over which section was bigger! An advantages section did exist once, as did "disadvantages", both have since been edited away. Looking back, I would not say that it was better when they were there. If you look in Matlab/Talk you will see that that and the "alternatives" sections are quite controversial.
On "alternatives", there are actually a lot of other pieces of software listed on this page -- between the info boxes on "computer algebra", "numerical systems" and "statistics" there must be 40 systems listed, plus all the systems in the "Connections to other software". Create an alternatives and the proponents of every one of those systems will have a case that if others are in the list, so should they. It would be an invitation, to put this page very off topic.

JonMcLoone (talk) 17:58, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Jon, I'm not necessarily saying there should be a Criticisms sections like the MATLAB page. I was using that just as an illustration to show the MATLAB page is more balanced - it is not so obviously pro-MATLAB as this page is so obviously pro-Mathematica. The MATLAB page does not appear to be petrolled on a regular basis by Mathworks employees, taking every opportunity to make it look a more attractive product. The MATLAB page does not appear like an advertising brochure for MATLAB, but the Mathematica page does appear like an advertising brochure for Mathematica.
The Mathematica page has been very biased for as long as I remember first looking at it. There's been endless complaints about that - not just from me. The term vaguely promotional tone was one polite term I recall being used, but others have been much stronger in their distaste for the bias the page has.
I do believe there should be a discussion of alternatives on the Mathematica page, which would make the page more neutral. I don't accept your argument there would be a huge list, with endless battles over what is or what is not included - at least if the WRI employees stayed out of it !!!
If those alternatives were limited to systems which shared a large number of the features of Mathematica (i.e exclude those that just do algebra, exclude those that just do numerics), then the discussion could be constrained to a reasonable length. Clearly listing all packages which has some functionality in common with Mathematica would be silly. Pages like those on comparison of computer algebra systems even list things that are limited to a handheld calculator. IMHO, it would be most useful for someone wanting to know about Mathematica to be made aware of products which share a broad range of similar functionality.
Such a comparison would have to include Mathematica, MATLAB, Sage and Maple, and possibly some others, but not most of the tools listed on other pages, as they cover a too limited range of the capabilities of Mathematica. Cutting out all the hype and buzz words, all those four packages share a lot in common, which I doubt is shared by most others.
The problem comes in your definition of what a "lot in common" means. You can choose that list to define in or out any product your want. If the list included
  • Native support for image processing
  • Precision tracking
  • Document construction under programmatic control
  • A carful choice of special functions

etc etc. Then you would only be left with Mathematica. More likely the scenario would be that if Sage was on there, then Axiom and Maxima proponents would want to be on there, and there would be little to seperate them. If Maxima was on there then something else would expect to be on there, until some of the really obscure ones would want to be on there. Even forgetting pro-Mathematica people you will be in a constant battle removing systems that YOU don't think deserve to be there, or we will end up with a huge list. This is the "Mathematica" page not the "Comparison of products to Mathematica" page.

JonMcLoone (talk) 07:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

  • They all have a GUI interface.
  • They all do arbitrary precision maths
  • They all have a wide range of mathematical functions.
  • They all handle complex numbers.
  • They all plot 2D and 3D graphs of both functions and data.
  • They all do statistics
  • They all have a programming language
  • They all do symbolic maths (though MATLAB needs a toolbox)
  • They can all be extended with other software
  • They all support multiple processors.
  • They all support import and export of data.
A more detailed comparison of the differences to Mathematica would be useful.
One thing that I feel is worth noting is that the main official support forum, comp.soft-sys.math.mathematica is moderated and so posts take some time to appear. That is not subjective, it is a fact, but when I made that point once, it got edited away. A reflection of the bias of the page IMHO. (I'm also aware WRI employees can't post to there without their posts being checked by the moderator. That drastically increases the time to get problems resolved).
It is a fact. There are also good issues about that too - you have complained about the junk that ends up on sci.math.symbolic. But it is not Mathematica. It is not the "official" forum. It is the dominant forum. It is not even controlled by Wolfram Research. Because it is dominant we allocate people to respond to it. But there are several unmoderated forums too and if they were more popular we would allocate people to those too. If there were ever a page about the forum that would be a pertinent fact.
Things I'd personally think useful to note would be:
  • Mathematica is the only package to download data from the producers web site.
I dare say such a claim would be refuted, Bloombergs financial products download feeds from their data, for example. I think we can only claim to be unique in doing so for such a wide range of data types in a consistent format.
  • Mathematica is the most expensive basic product.
Not true if you look at stats systens like SAS that it competes with
  • MATLAB lacks computer algebra without the additional of a toolbox.
Belongs on the Matlab page, or "Comparison of computer algebra" page.
  • Mathematica is the only package to have no significant support forum other than a moderated newsgroup.
There are plenty of systems with NO support forum.
  • Pricing varies by country for Mathematica, but does not as far as I know for Maple. (I'm not sure about MATLAB).
Maple has at least US$, Canadian$ and International (higher $) prices. Matlab prices in many local currencies, but I do not recall the relationships between their prices. But that too should be on their pages and/or comparison pages.
  • Sage is the only free product.
The only free product on YOUR list. There are many free products. Again that is not a "Mathematica" fact. It belongs on the comparison pages.
  • Sage is the only product not to have a native Windows version. (As a matter of interest, Microsoft are sponsoring the port to Windows)
Again, the only one on your list. Also, such a fact belongs on the Sage page.
  • Maple is the cheapest commercial product.
Belongs on the comparison page or the Maple page. Not a Mathematica fact.

Then add a detailed comparison of the main features - forgetting all these weird and wonderful very specialized features which each product has. Drkirkby (talk) 23:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

It depends what you mean by "specialized" for many people computer algebra is specialized. For others image processing is specialized. One problem is that one of Mathematica's fundamental aims - to integrate ALL of technical computing - means that it competes, on some level, with a huge number of systems. There is a product, I forget its name, that is more expensive than Mathematica and does JUST linear programming and related optimization. Should that be on your list? We compete quite well with it!

Beyond that, you would end up with a lot of replication. If you are going to have a long discussion about Mathematica vs Maple, Matlab, Sage, etc etc, then the same material should also appear on the pages of Maple, Matlab, Sage etc plus what they compete with that we do not.


I think the fundamental problem is that some of the "comparison" pages are very poor. The comparison of computer algebra compares only license and price. A really good table of capabilities, and other issues (forums would be appropriate) would address a lot of what you want to document. Comparison of statistics, does a much better job, but could also be extended. Comparison of numerical systems is also very poor, and there are no pages for comparison of image processing systems, or umpteen other topics. I would be quite interested to engage in a debate about what should or shouldn't appear on such pages, and know quite a lot of the facts. But of course, I cannot create that material myself. JonMcLoone (talk) 07:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

The comparison pages are not detailed, but there can never be. They give a very brief overview of a product, which has its uses. But more detailed objective comparisons are needed on individual pages.
Comparison by topic pages are the right place for this information. Unlike your air plane example, there is never more than about 50% in common between two major software packages.JonMcLoone (talk) 10:51, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
I added some information about the support. I hope it is uncontroversial to you.
I will comment in a new section.
I think Sage is on Wolfram Research's list of competitive products not just mine. Otherwise, why would there be Google ads for Wolfram Research when one searches for 'sage math' but not any other maths software?
I wouldn't use adwords as evidence. Our ad department knows nothing about competitors, they base their adwords purchases on the click-through analysis. If the word "sage" is getting funding, it is because people who come to our site after a search for sage are historically likely to purchase. JonMcLoone (talk) 10:51, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed this is the Mathematica page, but it is not supposed to be the Mathematica advertising forum. I believe one way to make it more neutral is to make comparisons to other similar software. Quite honestly, as it is written now, 95% of it can be lifted directly from the Wolfram Research site. But that is far from the only issue with the page. It's not helped by the fact that yourself wrote much of it, now there is another editor who I believe is very pro-Mathematica and will not confirm or deny any connections he might have with Wolfram Research.
If you check my edit history, you will see that they are nearly all fact-fixes, references, vandalism reversion or Talk. I understand that having a COI status makes it undesirable to add content. Now that you are in the COI club, you probably need to join me on the bench too.
I don't think that the fact that lots of this info is on our site is in itself bad. It is, after all, our job to describe what Mathematica is, just as much as it is Wikipedia's. This is an encyclopedia, not a review magazine.JonMcLoone (talk) 11:02, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Today I took a page I visited once before, on the A320 plane. It is an informative article, compares the plane to competitive products, lists the crashes it has had, including of course the recent event when one ditched in the Hudson River. Some time back, when I was looking for information on that plane, the Wikipedia page had a lot of information which was less easy to get from the pages on the Airbus web site. Unfortunately, some of the information is not referenced properly - no doubt since much of it is not in any publically available documents. There does not appear to be any serious disagreements about what are its competitors. Drkirkby (talk) 01:10, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
This is not a helpful comparison. There are now essentially only two major producers of this class of jet in the world. It is very clear what the "alternative product" is. That is not true, for Mathematica. If there was only Mathematica and, say, Matlab in the world, then I would support such comparison. But Mathematica competes with hundreds of packages and not always in an equivalent way. There are specialist products with 1% of the functionality, where we have added that functionality, to try and capture their market but they have no interest in capturing ours, there are products with 50% of the functionality of Mathematica that are after our market, some of which we must compete with because they are significant, others we do not because they are not. There are products which we have only 50% of the functionality of, some of which we are trying to catch up and some we are not. We list lots of these at It isn't quite up-to-date as there is no Image Processing Packages page or Bio Informatics pages yet. These are needed since Mathematica 7 was released and we became more competitive in these areas. JonMcLoone (talk) 10:51, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
A good place to start might be a discussion of Mathematica's usability issues. An article without some mention of how hard Mathematica is to learn, use, relearn, and debug, is IMHO, inherently pro-Mathematica. Other points worth mentioning are its outlandish price, Wolfram's wretched support, and the cross-version incompatibilities each upgrade introduces. AldaronT/C 18:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Whilst I agree with you the page is strikingly Mathematica-biased and the text reads like ad copy, and some of the things you say about the product, I don't agree with them all. But even those I do agree with, would not be appropriate for Wikipedia
Whether the product has usability issues, is hard to learn, hard to debug, has an outlandish price, poor support etc are all very subjective. Drkirkby (talk) 23:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I think those are essentially all POV. I could write sections on all the design decisions that ease use and learning, describe the large support team, and the tracking systems they use, compare the price of Mathematica to the sum of cost of the range of products needed to approach its functionality and give examples of programs written 20 years ago that work without change in the current version. Would you accept an argument that to omit these is inherently ANTI-Mathematica? These issues are subjective, some find it easy, some find it hard, some think it expensive, some don't.
The price is a fact-- it is already in the article and people can decide for themselves if it is high. Actually, only the highest prices are in the article. The $295 personal edition, $45/year student edition, the $30/6 month student semester edition, are missing. I think many would think those prices are low. Or the price per person for a site license, can be under $5. You see how much these things can depend on POV?

JonMcLoone (talk) 21:14, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

That's not true Jon - the price is listed as US$2300-2500, but is in fact $2495 to $3120 for the professional version. I'll correct that.
Look: I'm not vested in the dispute about this page, nor do I want to get involved. But you're speaking from inside the bubble and just not listening. Mathematica has all the flaws I listed in a big way, and this page fails to reflect that. You may look at this page and think it's fair and informative, but I'm telling you, from experience that's as objective and as informed as you're likely to get here, that it's frankly misleading. If we don't get some more objective editors working on it, I think it should be flagged as a commercial. AldaronT/C 21:42, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Your points are far too subjective. I'm being hounded for me pro-Sage bias, but even I can't agree with all what you say. And even if I did, they can't go here.
I do agree the page should perhaps be tagged to indicate a view of some at least that it is too like a commercial. I don't know what's the most appropriate tag. Drkirkby (talk) 00:08, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I stuck the advert tag, which I think is the most appropriate - it is not spam. The tag says This article is written like an advertisement. Please help rewrite this article from a neutral point of view. I think that is a fair assessment. I also think it is right for the tag to be put here now, and editors re-write the article so the tag can be removed later. Drkirkby (talk) 00:38, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Is the webMathematica statement factually correct / outdated ?[edit]

In the article it says The current version of webMathematica (2.3) does not support Mathematica 6. I somewhat doubt that information is correct, though I don't know, so will not change it. I expect Jon would know for sure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drkirkby (talkcontribs) 10:40, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

This is currently still factually correct. I am working on changing it very shortly, but we have a few more issues to resolve before we have a definite release date. There will be some new features in addition to Mathematica 7 support.

JonMcLoone (talk) 17:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

OK, thanks for that. Given the price was wrong, I've updated that. Given you say webMathematica does not run on 6 or 7 ,then the fact the product comes with a license for it seems a bit irrelevant, so I removed it.
You could add that back if you want, but then it would only be fair to say that despite the license, the product does actually work yet. Drkirkby (talk) 00:20, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
It isn't right to say that it doesn't work. You get a functioning webMathematica Amateur license. It just doesn't have version 6 or 7 features.

JonMcLoone (talk) 07:22, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I changed it back to say it comes with license, and edited the bit about not supporting version 6 to say 6 and 7 are not fully supported. Drkirkby (talk) 23:09, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Why a B-class article about the state of Illinois?[edit]

I agree with others, the article reads like an advert. I was going to propose it was downgraded to a C-class article, but see it's rated B-class on the Illinois project. Can anyone seriously consider this the most appropiate category for the software to be put into? —Preceding unsigned comment added by MightyBig (talkcontribs) 18:52, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

That's probably a result of it being added to one of the inappropriate categories. Note that its not necessarily people that edit this page that Mathematica to those odd categories. For example, the recent one with IRIX-software, I checked whether it was actually me who put Mathematica in there in the dim and distant past, as I did use IRIX. It was not me, but neither was it a regular editor of this page. Drkirkby (talk) 22:41, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

A few odd comments[edit]

  • There have been a couple of 'cut-down' versions (in the broadest sense) of Mathematica. One was CalcCentre, which I believe Jon led the development of, and I believe there was another, which I can't recall it's name. A sentence or two about them would be useful for historical purposes.
  • I personally never used Publicon (and never met anyone that did). The fact it has not been updated for years makes me think it never will be, despite the claim that 1.1 is in development. Is the Writing Assistant in MMA 7 supposed to replace that? I think the Author Tools has been abandoned. Since I never used Publicon, I don't really know much about it's features, so perhaps not.
  • A few months back someone posted a PDF to a very large book he wrote on Mathematica. It looked very comprehensive, and he took feedback from others to improve it. I'm pretty dam sure if he wanted, he could have got it published as commercial book - the quality was so good. Could that survive on here, bearing in mind it only on his web site? I'll dig out the reference later. It would seem a shame for people to not be aware of a good resource. Perhaps WRI can add it to one of their web pages. My WITM got deleted from here, as it was not properly source, but I think this book has much wider appeal and perhaps it should survive Drkirkby (talk) 10:06, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Bugs section[edit]

This section appears to have no purpose except to highlight an unsubstantiated claim from Wolfram Website. It tells us nothing about Mathematica.

@David, inserting ironic use of language that you dislike (A challenge - find the most ridiculous Wolfram Research claim.), is not improving the article, and should certainly count as "controversial edit by a COI editor". JonMcLoone (talk) 11:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC) ~ It's an important unsubstantiated claim. Drkirkby (talk) 22:26, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Jon, your employer makes a very bold claim about the quality of Mathematica. The fact that bold claim is not substantiated is worthy of note in an encyclopedia. Obviously not in an advertising brochure, but it is appropriate in an encyclopedia.
Your text argues that it is meaningless as it doesn't define what is meant by "typical". So is it bold or meaningless? What does it tell us about Mathematica? That it is particularly low on bugs or not? If the point is that Wolfram Research makes lots of unsubstantiated claims in its marketing, then that belongs on the Wolfram Research page? JonMcLoone (talk) 09:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Jon, I don't see the word meaningless mentioned. To say it is bold or meaningless would be a POV. The comment just states the facts. You may be right in saying it should be on the Wolfram Research page, but since the claim is made about Mathematica, it belongs here. Drkirkby (talk) 00:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
The words you used were "What is a typical mathematical proof is not defined". Your bugs paragraph is essentially- Wolfram Research says something that is not clearly defined about Mathematica having fewer bugs than some other things. What is the point of that paragraph? Why is that important information for someone who wants to know what Mathematica is?
Looking closer at the link, I can see that you have been pretty selective in the use of the quote. The piece is a broad summary (from the tutorials section) about the kinds and scale of automated testing, and that while complicated code will inevitably sometimes contain bugs, just as complicated proofs will, Mathematica has larger test suites and and more eyes are on the results than a typical long proof. It is actually quite a reasonable piece if read in context.JonMcLoone (talk) 08:57, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
The problem with the Mathematica page on Wikipedia is that it is too biased and you always try to keep it that way. Rather than try to get the Wikipedia page edited to reflect more highly on Mathematica, would it not be more sensible to ask your employer to substantiate the claim, or stop making the claim?
BTW, I've used Mathematica a lot more than Sage, wrote the Web Interface to Mathematica, asked Sourceforge to add Mathematica as a programming language. I'm not anti-Mathematica in any way at all. I think the product is good - as you know, I had telephone conversations with you to try to promote it more in the university, where it was not used much, despite the fact we had a site license.
I don't believe I have a conflict of interest like yourself. I have an interest in Mathematica just as much as Sage. I'd like to see the Mathematica page less like an advertisement and more like an encyclopedia. Any decent encyclopedia would list important points like major claims which are unsubstantiated. Drkirkby (talk) 23:15, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
I am not saying that you are a bad person. I am not a bad person either. But both of us have declared "interests" in the subject matter. I don't think it is reasonable to say that being a developer on a product (that openly states in its marketing that it is a competitor to Mathematica) is not an conflict of interest. By that logic, my status as an employee for Wolfram Research would not be a conflict either. WP is clear that we should not make "controversial" edits without first gaining consensus in talk.JonMcLoone (talk) 09:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Jon, all editors of the page I would expect have interests in Mathematica. Yours clearly are financial, one of your web pages on the Wolfram Research web pages states you lead the sales and marketing team in our European office. Mine is purely things I do in my spare time, for which I don't get paid, on software which is free. I've also developed software for Mathematica, and made that available free. You know fully well I tried to promote Mathematica more at UCL and you will note I finally got Sourceforge to add Mathematica as a programming language. My edits are not financially motivated in any way. I think it is a fair to say that your edits to the Mathematica page, and the talk page, have played a large part in making the page so much like an advertisement. Drkirkby (talk) 00:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
You are right I am a COI editor. I don't know why you argue that point. I have been clear about that for years. But WP does not define having a conflict of interest ONLY as having a financial beneficiary.
Lets talk again about examples of "Advertising" content in this page. You had argued that it lacked a competition section, which I argued against as I think it is inevitably POV, I think my view has been indirectly supported after your attempt to create such a section on the Sage page was removed within a day as POV by another editor. Clearly you do not think the features section is bad, as you reproduced it on the Sage page. Bugs and Support were created by you. So that leaves Interface, High-performance computing, Development, Connections with other applications, Computable data, Licensing, Platform availability, Version history. Which of those are the ones that you consider biased? JonMcLoone (talk) 08:57, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Jon, it reads like an ad in too many ways to mention really. I'd be here all day.
I still think that comparison is necessary and feel the other editor was wrong to remove the whole section, but I do see specific points were POV.
The Features section was not copied directly to Sage. I removed silly hype like "Support for complex number, arbitrary precision and symbolic computation for all functions". There are other aspects of features which are feel are over-hyped (like 2D and 3D data and function visualization tools) which I will fix on the Sage page.
I think Platform availability, Support, Bugs and Version History are not over-hyped, but much of the rest of it is.
Drkirkby (talk) 10:00, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
If you can't mention them then it makes it hard to discuss. Can you explain why 2D and 3D data and function visualization toolsis overhyping? There are plotting packages that work only in 2D, and ones that work only on data, not on functions. It seems like every word is necessary. Similar for "Support for complex number, arbitrary precision and symbolic computation for all functions" there are plenty of algorithms in other packages that work only for reals (if I recall, for example, MathCAD FFT is real only, if you have a list that contains complex or is not 2^n in length, you must use a different function or Maple where NAG library implemented functions cannot handle symbolic values. So the main gist of this statement seems quit factual although it is not quite right. It should say something like "Support for complex number, arbitrary precision and symbolic computation for all functions where that is meaningful" since there are plenty of cases where there is there is no meaningful response eg 3+I>2+2I JonMcLoone (talk) 10:13, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Jon, I have other things to do than edit Wikipedia all day, so this is my last comment for today.
Take a look at how I changed the 2D/3D thing in Sage. It says essentially the same thing as the Mathematica page, but in a less ad-like manner.
I don't agree on this one. You changed "visualization tools" to "graphs". But "graphs" are a subset of visualization". Rendering CAD data for example is not "graphs". I don't think "visualization" is a particularly ad-like word JonMcLoone (talk) 14:34, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
The statement about complex numbers for all functions was what I was illuding to. It reads very impressive. But if you think about it, things like Prime[32 + I 54] make no mathematical sence at all. So whilst Prime[] will handle the complex number in a sensible way, the Wikipedia hype was not so sensible.
We agree on this one. I will make a change. I would like to have a wording that conveys what I was describing, but it will end up getting tagged as weasel words. So I will just cut it backJonMcLoone (talk) 14:34, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Remember the comment from a former WRI employee about a vaguely promotional tone or something along those lines? That's one of the reasons it reads too much like an ad.
I'll try to make a couple of helpful suggestions.
  • Find a friend with a reasonable knowledge of maths, but not a WRI employee. Get them to read it, say it's been taged as like and ad and discuss it with them. It could be that since you work in advertising, text which reads quite normal to you (even if unrelated to Mathematica) would read like an ad to someone else.
  • In one of the links you posted to something I wrote, I mentioned Daniel who works at WRI. I don't know if you could convince Daniel to read the Wikipedia page for you and discuss it over the telepone. He strikes me as very objective about Mathematica. I don't know for sure, but I suspect Daniel has little or nothing to do with the marketing of Mathematica. Despite being a WRI employee, I think he might look at the page from a more technical and less marketing angle and could perhaps point out some things you are overlooking. Drkirkby (talk) 12:14, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Version History - version 1.1 is missing.[edit]

There is a useful historical record of the major releases (X.Y) and more recent minor releases like 6.0.2 (X.Y.Z), but version 1.1 is missing altogether. Could that be added if someone (most propbably Jon) has the information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drkirkby (talkcontribs) 09:28, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

There definitely was a 1.1 and I believe it was 1989 though that pre-dates my time, and I would need to check in our physical library to be sure. I found a reference to support 1989, so have added it. This section is generally a bit incomplete or overcomplete depending on your point of view. It lists some but not all maintenance (third digit) releases. Personally I think that is too much detail and only feature upgrades (X.0 or X.X should be listed), but if the list wants to be complete then there was also 4.0.1, 4.0.2, 4.2.1, 5.0.1, 5.1.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2 (Mac only). I could provide dates, but not references.JonMcLoone (talk) 09:56, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Good that you added it.
As you say, the section is incomplete or overcomplete depending on your point of view, which by inference probably means the detail is about right. Personally, I think the amount of detail is good. A minor release like 4.0.2 is not very relevant in 2009, but more recent minor releases like 6.0.2 and 7.0.1 are. I believe if 7.0.2 existed on one platform but not on another, that is useful to know, but such detail is pretty irrelevant on very old releases. Drkirkby (talk) 10:41, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
A valid argument.
7.0.2 has not been released, as far as I can see, on any platform. I think that it was created only for a couple of fixes needed for WolframAlpha. JonMcLoone (talk) 10:57, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

New section on books[edit]

I stuck a new section on books. Realistically the Steven Wolfram books need adding (at least the 1st and 5th editions), and referencing properly, but I don't have time to dig out all the details and stick them in. Perhaps it should stop at Wolframs, as otherwise you could have 50+ books, which would be a bit silly.

I did however stick one book, which one could argue is not sourced, as it's just on someone's web site. But before deleting it, consider using some common sense. The guy has written a 408 page book, has taken into account comments from those who have read it, released in under the Creative Commons License and made it available for no charge. You can read it online or download as a PDF. It would seem a shame to not let people know of that. Perhaps Jon might suggest to WRI they add it and keep a copy on their servers. Drkirkby (talk) 16:16, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Citation needed for books.[edit]

I don't have time to look at the page in detail - it still looks pretty ad-like to me, but I'm not going to bother. No real encylopedia is going to list the exact number of planets in an online database, or the exact number of chemicals. I think all those numbers could be removed, which would make it a bit less ad-like.

One thing struck me is the request for a citation where I wrote about a large number of books on Mathematica. In some ways this is justified, but to list all the books written about Mathemaitca would be a huge task, and would be next to impossible and make the page look silly. With the expection of Steven Wolfram's books, I don't see a sensible basis to chose which ones to list. Why should author X's books be included, but not author Y's?

I'm very busy now, and don't have time to edit the page, but I think there is a page on the WRI site which lists books written about Mathematica. Perhaps that page should be referenced, rather than individual books. I still believe there is some justifiction for listing Steven's first book on Mathematica 1 and his last on Mathematica 5 though.

I realise the book I added is not properly referenced, but some common sence should prevail, and a 400 page book available for free does deserve some mention. Drkirkby (talk) 09:27, 6 August 2009 (UTC) Drkirkby (talk)

Nearly 400 of them are listed at JonMcLoone (talk) 09:38, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Main competitor[edit]

I moved " Its main competitor is Maple." which has been the subject of many edits fighting over whether it is Maple,Matlab or Sage. I agree with MightyBig, there are many competitors and the lists of them in "See also" is the way to cover this. But if people want to argue over who is top flea on the dogs back, then here is the place for it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Soulzone (talkcontribs) 17:31, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

--Mnoon (talk) 18:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC) List of Competitors. A list of competitors will give a brief list of alternatives.



Can We add a criticisms section to this software which would include some of the dissatisfying features of Mathematica. Namely, the software does NOT AUTOSAVE YOUR NOTEBOOKS!

Cheers, Superdan006 (talk) 23:23, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Its pretty easy to make it auto save. Run the following code with 60 replaced by the period set to the frequency of autosaving that you want.

Dynamic[Refresh[NotebookSave /@ Notebooks[]; "AutoSave", UpdateInterval -> 60]]

As long as the output "AutoSave" is on screen, all the notebooks will autosave every 60 seconds. You can make it more convenient, by selecting the output cell and using the Palettes/Generate Palette From Selection menu item, to make a little palette out of the output. (You can set palettes to auto open whenever Mathematica starts) JonMcLoone (talk) 09:52, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks John, this will certainly help! Superdan006 (talk) 17:21, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, in Mathematica 8, there is much better code which runs with no palette needed and doesn't save the messages window: AutoSaveTask = RunScheduledTask[ NotebookSave /@ DeleteCases[Notebooks[], x_ /; ("WindowTitle" /. NotebookInformation[x]) === "Messages"],60]

This can go in init.m or execute when needed and will save every 60 seconds. To cancel it you can execute StopScheduledTask[AutoSaveTask] — Preceding unsigned comment added by JonMcLoone (talkcontribs) 16:04, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Actually better still AutoSaveTask = RunScheduledTask[ NotebookSave[InputNotebook[]],60] Why save notebooks that you are not working in? JonMcLoone (talk) 16:07, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Mathematica's rounding functions: is there a place for this?[edit]

The following list of Mathematica's rounding functions was removed from the rounding article:

    • Round: round to even
      • Round[2.5] gives 2
      • Round[3.5] gives 4
    • IntegerPart: round toward zero
      • IntegerPart[2.7] gives 2
      • IntegerPart[-2.7] gives -2
    • Floor: round down
      • Floor[2.7] gives 2
      • Floor[-2.3] gives -3
    • Ceiling: round up
      • Ceiling[2.3] gives 3
      • Ceiling[-2.7] gives -2

It does not belong there (there is no point in listing the rounding functions of every language in the world!). Is there any article where this list could properly exist? Thanks, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 20:12, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

WP isn't a reference manual for Mathematica -- or for that matter any other system --, so I don't see why we'd want to document its particular names for these functions. Anyway, these are the standard definitions as found in Floor and ceiling functions, Truncation, and Rounding. --macrakis (talk) 23:23, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The point that seems notable is that Round is probably implementing "round to even" (an idiosyncratic convention probably intended to fight assymmetric accumulation of numerical rounding errors), whereas in most disciplines (especially the sciences, not to mention in schools) it is expected that +.5 rounds up (for reasons not specifically pertaining to the case of exactly .5). It is an example of the software not doing what an expert (of anything other than mathematica itself) might expect it to do, and the difference is subtle (so in cases where rounding is important enough to be done explicitly, this will probably lead the user unknowingly obtaining the wrong result for their purpose).Cesiumfrog (talk) 01:11, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the "round to even" section on Rounding#Tie-breaking, I see "It is the default rounding mode used in IEEE 754 computing functions and operators (and in various computing languages such as ANSI/ISO C, C++, and Java, for their float and double types)." JonMcLoone (talk) 13:50, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Removed Class B price[edit]

I removed the $3120 price from licensing section as this referred to the "Class B" price (platforms other than Windows, Mac and Linux). As of today, Mathematica pricing does not depend on platform. JonMcLoone (talk) 16:35, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

To be precise, USD pricing has changed as of today, but other region prices will follow shortly.JonMcLoone (talk) 17:07, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Who uses Mathematica[edit]

I have seen several case studies of uses of Mathematica in very different sciences and other fields. Should there be a section covering this? eg You wouldn't know that Mathematica was widely used in financial engineering from this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Judging by a search of job adverts on sites like, I find it hard to be Mathematica is widely used anywhere outside academia, but certainly financial seems the main one. Try searching for jobs for MATLAB and Mathematica, and I think you will find the ratio is about 30:1. There are very few jobs specifically wanting Mathematica skills, whereas there are loads for MATLAB and to a less extent Labview. Drkirkby (talk)

Madeline (software) a free clone should be removed and replaced by Fateman's MockMMA[edit]

In the "See also" section there's a link to a clone called Madeline on Sourceforge. But there is not a single released file for that project. Hence I would suggest the Madeline entry is removed. What purpose does it serve?

I contrast, MockMMA written by Professor Richard Fateman does exist. A paper describing it "A lisp-language Mathematica-to-lisp translator" was published in a peer reviewed journal A copy can also be found at and Listing clones is IMHO useful, as reading reading the page are probably interested in them. But a clone that has no source code, is a bit less useful than one that's described in a peer reviewed journal, and for which the source is available. Drkirkby (talk) 01:28, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Mathematica 8 release date?[edit]

Is this known? The article doesn't mention it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by R10101100110 (talkcontribs) 09:32, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Last time I looked, which was only a few days ago, the Wolfram Research website said Q4 2010. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drkirkby (talkcontribs) 01:11, 9 November 2010 (UTC)