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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the lingua-mathematica dept.

Programming 216

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? THat's dog fart (-1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 9 months ago | (#46367541)

Real languages aren't named after animals because mooing is not logic, you cow lickers. How can a moose do math?

mathematica? (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 9 months ago | (#46367569)

This looks a lot like Mathematica. When does something become programming language? Wasn't mathematica a programming language too?

Re:mathematica? (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46367785)

It looks like Mathematica because Mathematica implements this language and is where it comes from. Historically the language developed ad hoc and now they have made an effort to standardize it into a "language" [fastcolabs.com] .

Re:mathematica? (5, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | about 9 months ago | (#46367859)

I first looked at the examples given in the article and said "harrumph this is mathematica". But then I watched his demo and I see what he's getting at. You could say this is just a really nice library but it's way more than the sum of it's parts. I think he's using the term Language not in the sense of "programming language", but rather in the sense that every real world speaking language like english, spanish contains an intrinsic model of the world itself and every part of a spoken language can be coupled to every other part. That is speaking has no incompatible interface between ideas does it? That question would never occur to you, but of course we have that problem with every programming library API.

SO he's talking about a Language for programming as much as a programming language. His accomplishment is to make a language of programming a programming language.

One of the great tricks he accomplishes is to combine symbolic programming and functional programming. I was somewhat surprised to notice that reactive programming actually falls out of that by accident. There's been a lot of spamvertising articles on Slashdot lately about the dogs dinner versions of Reactive programming for databases. Those are toys. Wolfram gets it right by not making it just fall out accidentally of two greater programming principles.

Decades ago I toyed with mathematica. The problem I had with is it was that the symbolics were nice but they let you easily create problems with permutations so large that it became incomprehensibly slow as your problem scaled. This if course was the users fault. I'm just saying that the power of the language gave me the power to be stupid. In a similar way APL with it's outerproducts instead of loops could easily use up all your computer memory in one command line without you even appreciating what had just happened. With procedural languages you had to think about how your algorithm was going to manage its own complexity and thus oddly worked better for scaling to complex problems.

It looks like what has happened is that mathematica --- now wolfram language--- has a lot more speed and wisdom about how to manage complexity and choose more wise approaches. SO perhaps that problem is solved more. But it's hard to say from the demo.

In any case that was a staggering demo.

Re:mathematica? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46368039)

Honestly, seeing that much power in a demo makes the hair on the back of my neck rise (and in the 'something vile beyond comprehension this way comes' sort of way, not the 'awe at technology indistinguishable from magic' kind of way).

If you can do extremely complex and powerful things with very, very, short commands, that suggests that all those commands have a lot of internal magic baked in, quite possibly including some might-as-well-be-nondeterministic guessing to paper over any ambiguity in commands, or in output from one command moving to be input for another.

In the context of a demo, where you can carefully test, and confine yourself to some highlights from the set of programs that are both cool and well behaved, fantastic. In the context of taking the language out into the wild, that sounds like every nightmare interaction with an unpredictable and opaque 3rd-party library that you'll never expunge from your nightmares....

Re:mathematica? (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46368205)

Ah, so it's like Lotus Notes, then.

Re:mathematica? (1)

thisisnotreal (888437) | about 8 months ago | (#46368497)

HAH!

Re:mathematica? (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#46367905)

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...

Re:mathematica? (4, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | about 9 months ago | (#46367943)

You should watch the demo. At one point he enters a natural language expression "Show a blue dodecahedron and two red spheres" which pops up a shaded 3D image model of just that.

Re:mathematica? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46368053)

I'm sure that the 'parse natural language expression and then do some 3d rendering' library is epic fun to debug if it behaves unexpectedly...

Re:mathematica? (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46368157)

But that's not your job. You're not developing the language. You're just asking it to do things. Submit a bug report and move on.

Re:mathematica? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46368127)

I'm somewhat less impressed because I can see an obvious shorter tour.

Take out the big journey at the left, connect the ends on the right. It's worse than it looks - the map makes Iceland look closer than it is.

A picture is worth a thousand words... (5, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 9 months ago | (#46367573)

A picture is worth a thousand words, but most sets of 1000 words can't be succinctly described by a single picture.

Similarly, while I'm sure that you can write a few lines of Wolfram and do amazing things, I wonder how often you can set out to do an amazing thing and end up with a few lines of Wolfram. Maybe the answer is "pretty often", which would be wonderful. But I'm waiting to hear from some outside users.

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (1)

polar red (215081) | about 9 months ago | (#46367741)

well, the picture here does not impress me : replacing the lisbon -rejkjavic section with vienna-athens would make the tour shorter ...

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (3, Insightful)

smjames (463922) | about 9 months ago | (#46367767)

If you look at the output of the capitals[tour] command, then compare it to the red lines on the map, they are not the same. Somebody fudged this demo a bit.

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#46367851)

Somebody fudged this demo a bit.

What? A fudged demo? I'm shocked I tell 'ya.

Oh, wait, no I'm not.

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367875)

They are the same, except the map is missing a line between Athens and Vienna.

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (2)

polar red (215081) | about 9 months ago | (#46367971)

Right, the travelling salesman needs to return to origin!

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368319)

The only thing missing on the map is the arc (Athens, Vienna). Remember, it's supposed to be a tour. It's confusing that the map represents it as an open polyline that doesn't start at the same point as in the list. But it's the same tour.

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (3, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 9 months ago | (#46367743)

Re:A picture is worth a thousand words... (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46368195)

I guess it'd be pedantic, oblivious to your point, and unhelpful to point out that that is way less than a thousand words.

sparse is good, but (0)

number6x (626555) | about 9 months ago | (#46367587)

Sparse coding is good, but can become 'obfuscated' code pretty quickly. Wolfram has a lot of experience in data analysis and mathematical calculations this seems to be great for jobs along those lines.

This looks like it could be a great tool for certain needs, but not a general purpose tool.

Re:sparse is good, but (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367657)

Stephen Wolfram invented a New Kind of Science, that has unlocked the mysteries of the Universe. What have you done?

Re:sparse is good, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367695)

It was a coffee table picture book that was based on lots of previous. Can you name one of the mysteries of the universe unlocked by ANKOS?

Re: sparse is good, but (1)

saunderscc (1014083) | about 9 months ago | (#46367701)

Hey, I have a first edition New Kind of Science! Don't know if there was ever a second, though...

Re:sparse is good, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367775)

That books seems like inspired by a bad acid trip while watching a conway's game of life screen saver.

Re:sparse is good, but (1)

xfizik (3491039) | about 9 months ago | (#46367789)

Please forgive my ignorance - what mysteries has he unlocked?

Re:sparse is good, but (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#46367841)

Just one example: why water flows the way it does around an object placed it its path. In Chaos: Making a New Science, it specifically says this is unpredictable. ANKOS has a model how to predict it. I, for one, highly recommend reading it.

Re:sparse is good, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367899)

I've made fun of Stephen Wolfram on Slashdot. What have you done?!

Re:sparse is good, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367805)

I've never heard the term "sparse coding" used to refer to programming code before.

Re:sparse is good, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368473)

So do you understand what it means? Because I don't. Lots of whitespace?

A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess... (5, Insightful)

spinninggears (551247) | about 9 months ago | (#46367597)

So we don't count the lines of code behind the "FindShortestTour" function?

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367615)

Did you solve the secrets of the Universe? Stephen Wolfram did. All is known because of Him, even though you could not hope to grasp what He knows. Show more respect and reverence.

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367691)

it's just one line in wolfram:

print UNIVERSE.revealSecrets(ALL);

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367833)

it's just one line in wolfram:

print UNIVERSE.revealSecrets(ALL);

Output: 42

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (1)

jma05 (897351) | about 9 months ago | (#46367835)

Emacs has a binding for that.
You can do the same in Python.
I think you just need to type this first

import wolfram

But it prints this rant from Guido on why this is not Pythonic at all, after it does the import.

RE: A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367687)

Yes. Just like we don't count the lines of machine code that a perl 'one liner' gets transformed into before execution.

beta sucks why do i have to give a new subject for (0)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 9 months ago | (#46367939)

No, of course not. When you call a library funnction, do you count all the lines of code in the library? When you write a for loop, do you count all the lines of assembly it compiles into? No. The number of lines you count is the number of lines you write.

Re:beta sucks why do i have to give a new subject (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46368137)

No, of course not. When you call a library funnction, do you count all the lines of code in the library? When you write a for loop, do you count all the lines of assembly it compiles into? No. The number of lines you count is the number of lines you have to debug, and the ones that hurt more count extra.

Fixed that for you.

Re:beta sucks why do i have to give a new subject (1)

geoskd (321194) | about 8 months ago | (#46368259)

No, of course not. When you call a library funnction, do you count all the lines of code in the library? When you write a for loop, do you count all the lines of assembly it compiles into? No. The number of lines you count is the number of lines you write.?

Unless you're a useless bit pusher, you make sure you fully comprehend the ramifications of *every* library you use. For example, Boost is really sweet when you need to slam together a pile of code and have it working out of the gate with minimal fuss, but if performance is an issue, you cant use it. If you need to understand where every processor cycle goes, even C may be too high level for you... In short, Wolfram isnt for programmers, its more for IT / administrators.

The real test of a language is what the source for the compiler and the libraries looks like

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 9 months ago | (#46367991)

So we don't count the lines of code behind the "FindShortestTour" function?

Not unless you had to write them yourself. Do you count the lines of code behind printf() when you write Hello World?

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368225)

No only that, but the solution is incorrect. You can see a shorter solution visually very quickly. Remove the Iceland to Portugal leg and add a Greece to Austria leg. Wow. Shorter route.

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 8 months ago | (#46368353)

The solution it comes up with is correct (it includes/excludes the links you mentioned), but for some reason it's drawing the graph incorrectly.

Re:A traveling salesman built-in is cool I guess.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368281)

Remember kids: If you count built-in API features as proof of the brevity for the language, you're arguing that on the whole Java is a much more concise language than standard C. You don't want to throw your life away, do you?

Cramming 20 commands into one line ... (2, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | about 9 months ago | (#46367645)

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.

Your turn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367735)

Why don't you come up with a high level programming language that *doesn't* fall into that trap?

Re:Your turn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367871)

What kind of response is that???

Re:Cramming 20 commands into one line ... (5, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about 9 months ago | (#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.

Re:Cramming 20 commands into one line ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368133)

and webscale ?

Re:Cramming 20 commands into one line ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368395)

with mixins?
and nosql?
in the cloud?
and RESTful?
with an ORM?
build on node.js?
for mobile?
with flat UI styles?
and modular?
can MBAs do it?

Re:Cramming 20 commands into one line ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368493)

and webscale ?

Yes, the price is webscale.

Re:Cramming 20 commands into one line ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368201)

Two of the last three features have me saying, "Pass."

Soylent News (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367651)

This article is a fine example of why I've found myself frequenting Soylent News.

It looks like a very nice library (5, Insightful)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 9 months ago | (#46367661)

It looks like a very nice library.

Doesn't really say very much about the power of the language at all, though.

Re:It looks like a very nice library (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 9 months ago | (#46367945)

My thoughts precisely, this is going to be useful in case you are building an application and have a need that this Wolfram system provides a solution for and you don't want to spend resources building it yourself (and they definitely put thought into the resources, processes and handling there), so you call a function to Wolfram library and it gives you a set of data you can now use within your own code.

I wouldn't call it a language, but after watching the video I understood the reasoning behind that naming: it's a very good marketing trick, it works.

Think about it, not a Wolfram library of useful functions and data, but just a Wolfram Language. It even has an 'autodeployintothelatestfadweliketocallthecloud' feature and it promises to be able to work with any device as well.

No, it's a useful set of tools, I see how they can be used from within various projects.

Re:It looks like a very nice library (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#46367957)

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?

Re:It looks like a very nice library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368421)

Your example is exactly why that language is not going to deliver what you expect.

"all known pictures" would return nothing if you asked most people, let alone some random computer system.

"most romantic or intimate" is a subjective call that would not return a sort order to your liking.

Even a person could not fulfill that command and you seriously expect a computer to do it just because he's demonstrating some natural language processing?

Re:It looks like a very nice library (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 9 months ago | (#46368003)

yeah....exactly

APL (1)

rlp (11898) | about 9 months ago | (#46367665)

Someone reminiscent of APL which critics called the first 'write-only' programming language.

Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (3, Insightful)

js3 (319268) | about 9 months ago | (#46367669)

All I see there is calling some method to do something complicated. It's not 2 lines of code of the actual meat is hidden somewhere.

Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (3, Insightful)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | about 9 months ago | (#46367865)

All I see there is calling some method to do something complicated. It's not 2 lines of code of the actual meat is hidden somewhere.

Do you count the code that drives the compiler or interpreter as part of your program? What about the code that drives your database?? If it's abstracted away into the language then it's not "actual meat" as far as the programmer doing the work is concerned. It is two lines. And unless you're writing all your code in machine language you have no right to claim otherwise.

Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46368125)

But that's an important distinction to make. These solutions are demonstrating good library support. Not the syntax of the basic language itself. Are those libs even written in Wolfram?

I can solve a traveling salesman problem using Perl [cpan.org] with not too many lines.

Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368305)

I can solve a traveling salesman problem using Perl [cpan.org] with not too many lines.

No you cannot for arbitrary N. You can only make an approximate solution.

Re: Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (1)

yannbane (3484437) | about 8 months ago | (#46368129)

Then there are no differences in any language. You can JMP, goto, call, or send a message in any programming language to do what you want. So there are no differences between languages. Wait, reality check, it's a library function he tried to sell off as a complete solution, which it is clearly not.

Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368209)

Yup, I was excited by the traveling salesman four liner, only to see that it was actually one line, with a function that could have been easily called "SolveTravelingSalesman()". Is not that I'm not impressed, Wolfram alpha and mathematica are very powerful tools; but it was kind of a let down.

Not so sure about the language... (4, Insightful)

lucag (24231) | about 9 months ago | (#46367685)

As much as I would like to be impressed, what I see is quite underwhelming: a functional application language with some interface to "facts" and "databases" with a pattern matching engine might make some analysis easier but ... the principles of the language are mostly what you come to expect if you have seen lisp once or any modern functional language,e.g. haskell.

I can see it as being useful, but as another commenter pointed out, "FindShortestTour" is a library function (which might be handy), but definitely not an example of how concise the language might be; the same could be said about "EdgeDetect" or the like. The power of the language can be measured in how easily it can be extended or non trivial algorithms can be implemented ... not in how many functions are offered (even if this could be more convenient none-the-less).

Re:Not so sure about the language... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367797)

The power of the language can be measured in how easily it can be extended or non trivial algorithms can be implemented ...

... among others. Readability, for example. Just look at the lower example in the middle column of the image manipulation link:

Map[Blend[{#, RandomColor[]}] &, %, {2}]

Yeah, that totally doesn't tell me what is going on.

I'm actually more impressed that someone finally evolved the idea of a "command line on speed" than by the programming language.

Re:Not so sure about the language... (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46367853)

The power of the language can be measured in how easily it can be extended or non trivial algorithms can be implemented

True, but the usefulness of a language largely depends on how quickly you can get a result - and while hard to tell from this little demonstration - I certainly see some impressive capability from the standard library.

Re:Not so sure about the language... (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about 9 months ago | (#46368005)

Within the bounds of what is in the library, with horrible syntax and little structure.
Because you do not have structure available, you cannot have large programmes. This in turn means you are stuck with what Stephen Finds Interesting(TM). This has left me very much unimpressed: when I look at a language demo, I care about how elegantly, tersely and legibly you can express and structure notions. This is terse, but not elegant or legible. Also, expressing anything not already there seems really daunting.

1/10 would not care to use.

Re:Not so sure about the language... (3, Interesting)

lucag (24231) | about 8 months ago | (#46368069)

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.

Re:Not so sure about the language... (4, Insightful)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | about 9 months ago | (#46367877)

As much as I would like to be impressed, what I see is quite underwhelming: a functional application language with some interface to "facts" and "databases" with a pattern matching engine might make some analysis easier but ... the principles of the language are mostly what you come to expect if you have seen lisp once or any modern functional language,e.g. haskell.

I can see it as being useful, but as another commenter pointed out, "FindShortestTour" is a library function (which might be handy), but definitely not an example of how concise the language might be; the same could be said about "EdgeDetect" or the like. The power of the language can be measured in how easily it can be extended or non trivial algorithms can be implemented ... not in how many functions are offered (even if this could be more convenient none-the-less).

Hello. My name is PHP. I'm the most ugly hideous language known to man, but man do I have thousands of functions to get work done. And that's why I rule the server side processing world :D

Function libraries and ability to get stuff done quickly counts for a lot.

Re:Not so sure about the language... (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46368399)

Hello. My name is PHP. I'm the most ugly hideous language known to man, but man do I have thousands of functions to get work done. And that's why I rule the server side processing world :D

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).

Re:Not so sure about the language... (1)

gtall (79522) | about 8 months ago | (#46368183)

Maybe a measure of the language might be to program FindShortestTour in it. If that turns out to be elegant and simple, then he might have something....assuming there are no further calls that do "too much" of the hard work instead of doing the hard work in the algorithm.

Perl (3, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 9 months ago | (#46367719)

I can do much the same thing in the same number of lines of Perl code. I don't think there are many who would claim that makes Perl a paragon of language design.

Clickbait article is clickbait.

Re:Perl (2)

abies (607076) | about 8 months ago | (#46368235)

I dare you. Let's start with travelling salesman example. 4 lines of perl. It has to include the map with graph as an output displayed on the screen. You are free to import any CPAN module, but no utilities of your own written specifically for this purpose.

I do not expect post of excuses and example of things you can do in perl in 4 lines instead of this problem - I expect 4 lines long perl code.

Re:Perl (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368355)

but no utilities of your own written specifically for this purpose.

Are you claiming this demo didn't do exactly that?

Re:Perl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368501)

It obviously didn't, it used existing universal utilities.

Re:Perl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368459)

So Wolfram can build and use a FindShortestTour() function but no one else can? Yeah, way to set up a great example of how he's better.

Traveling salesman .. technically correct (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 9 months ago | (#46367773)

But practically useless as the only way you are going to travel via some of those legs is if you have your private plane.

And what sort of salesman has a private plane .. hmm .. maybe one who is trying to sell us a new computing paradigm??

Re:Traveling salesman .. technically correct (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#46368329)

And what sort of salesman has a private plane

One who is selling his plane.

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367813)

You show us the code for the compiler, in stead of some abstracted layered sjeis !

Concise? (2)

DdJ (10790) | about 9 months ago | (#46367819)

Don't make me laugh -- I used to be an APL programmer.

How is all that tested? (1)

xfizik (3491039) | about 9 months ago | (#46367843)

All that functionality had better be thoroughly tested. High level scientific computations (especially working with large data sets) are often extremely hard to test and validate.

Functions don't count? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367933)

Just because you call a function, it doesn't make the code more elegant or better.
Why not just wrap all the data into the function and say" hey I did it in 1 line of code."

Like Matlab but supports zero indexed arrays!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367949)

I checked so I might be switching to this... Matlab is not nice as languages go and the lack of zero indexed arrays can drive an engineer crazy.
Hopefully the implementation won't be slow.

Pr0n super meta classifier ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46367959)

One could use it for as a great tool to classify pr0n material and compute the viewing path for a maximum energy orgsm climax !

A little too much for human consumption (2)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | about 9 months ago | (#46367967)

Impressive but overwhelming. I don't look forward to learning, reading or maintaining such code. So as usual: functionality is inversely proportional to usability :)

New Kind of Language? (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 9 months ago | (#46367989)

If ego can feed you, Wolfram would be, like, really fat.

Re:New Kind of Language? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 8 months ago | (#46368059)

Actually, as big as Wolfram's ego is, safer money would be on the crappy story submission/summary on trolldot.

Slashdot: where it's troll all the way down.

Not a 4 line solution - I call BS (4, Insightful)

frnic (98517) | about 9 months ago | (#46368011)

The traveling salesman tour - is NOT a 4 line solution. By that definition I can write "Run Linux" and have a one line operating system.

Re:Not a 4 line solution - I call BS (1)

Shados (741919) | about 8 months ago | (#46368203)

They're just stretching the definition of language. They of course meant a language + core library. And in a world of C++ and Boost, Ruby and Rail, C# and .NET, Javascript and Node, it is a perfectly valid comparison. The terminology was just wrong.

And yes, if you give me a nice domain specific language made to handle common operations when creating a new operating system, and it has KernelManager object with a LoadKernel method where I can just do KernelManager.LoadKernel("Linux vABC").Run() and it spawns a virtual machine in a data center with the appropriate kernel and boot it up, Its going to be cool. Just like this is cool.

Re:Not a 4 line solution - I call BS (3, Insightful)

abies (607076) | about 8 months ago | (#46368293)

You wish... you forgot about 100 extra commands you need to set up proper nvidia drivers afterwards...

And I think you misunderstood the premise. It is not a language to write salesman algos in. It is language to data mine, connect facts, process and visualize them. And it looks pretty impressive from this point of view.

What a genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46368031)

Why has this man not received the Nobel prize yet? He's been changing the world for a decade already.

Pi on Qemu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368091)

Just started emulating Pi on Qemu. Perhaps we could cloud service it.

Traveling Salesman solution is WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368109)

IIt is not going back to the original city. You must complete the loop. Solution FAIL.

Can he use it to calculate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368139)

Can he use it to calculate the optimal level of terseness for a programming language that good programmers will want to use? I'm thinking the answer is somewhere between APL and C++

Nice language for mathematics (1)

RobertJ1729 (2640799) | about 8 months ago | (#46368221)

"Wolfram Language" is not new. Wolfram is just trying to decouple Mathematica's programming language from the Mathematica products, which only makes sense considering the direction of the company. Mathematica users have been using this language (minus the Wolfram Alpha feature) for years.

As a domain-specific language, it's really great. The functional programming features have a great syntax (IMHO) for doing math stuff. As a general purpose language, it's awful. The library is large and easy to use, and the documentation is a pleasure to read. It's also as proprietary as it gets. Wolfram Research tries to ease the pain of that constricting noose with the CDF player and the ability to embed certain kinds of Mathematica--er, I mean, Wolfram Language code into web pages. In practice, however, everyone you want to share your code with is going to need to buy a Wolfram Research product or work at an institution that has a site license.

Demo looks suspect (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#46368343)

The red line in the map does not seem to match the output from the program

1. Gibraltor and Madrid are the end nodes. It is not on either end of the red line.

2. Rome to Athens with one stop over. I dont see that at all in the red line

Is the output real, or is it "simulated for advertisement" we used to see in the old print ads for TV sets?

Not interested. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368373)

It's too local to be of interest. The wheel in CS will not be invented until all computing instructions and data unifies into a single ubiquitous computing model. Just as we need a single reality to operate. Saying this, the wheel is a long way from where we stand.

Science programming vs TPS reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368477)

To all of the "real" programmers knocking the language, take a moment to consider the phenomenal popularity of math-focused languages among the science and engineering set (eg, Matlab / Octave, Mathematica, R). These languages let you get powerful things done with a minimum of messing around because they make math / matrix math / statistics native and syntactically easy to get to.

The Wolfram system is trying to make learning things in a computational way that "easy" for a much wider set of computable things. I think that's awesome and laudable. The basic idea of "A New Kind of Science" was that being able to compute something is an important kind of knowledge. This is part of that.

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