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Programming with Mathematica®: An Introduction [Hardcover]

Paul Wellin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Jan 2013 1107009464 978-1107009462
Starting from first principles, this book covers all of the foundational material needed to develop a clear understanding of the Mathematica language, with a practical emphasis on solving problems. Concrete examples throughout the text demonstrate how Mathematica can be used to solve problems in science, engineering, economics/finance, computational linguistics, geoscience, bioinformatics, and a range of other fields. The book will appeal to students, researchers and programmers wishing to further their understanding of Mathematica. Designed to suit users of any ability, it assumes no formal knowledge of programming so it is ideal for self-study. Over 290 exercises are provided to challenge the reader's understanding of the material covered and these provide ample opportunity to practice using the language. Mathematica notebooks containing examples, programs and solutions to exercises are available from

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 728 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (10 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107009464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107009462
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 19.3 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Book Description

This practical, example-driven introduction is designed for Mathematica users, new and accomplished, who wish to learn the foundations of the Mathematica programming language in order to apply it to the task of solving concrete problems in science, engineering, economics and finance, computational linguistics, geoscience, bioinformatics and so on.

About the Author

Paul Wellin worked for Wolfram Research from the mid 1990s through 2011 directing the Mathematica training efforts with the Wolfram Education Group. He has taught mathematics at both public schools and at the university level for over 12 years. He has given talks, workshops and seminars around the world on the integration of technical computing and education and he has served on numerous government advisory panels on these issues. He is the author of several books on Mathematica.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wish that this book had been available 3 years ago, when I started programming with Mathematica®. I was not then aware of the earlier edition, but in any case that edition related to Mathematica version 5, and versions 6 and 7 introduced many significant changes that made for compatibility problems with earlier code. Indeed this edition is slightly out of date because it covers Mathematica 8 and not the latest version 9.

However, as an introduction to the essentials of programming with Mathematica, it is excellent, and is particularly helpful in explaining the differences between Mathematica® and other languages. The author also introduces new topics using full notation and avoids the Mathematica shorthand that makes code much shorter but also much more difficult to comprehend. The differences between symbolic and numerical computing are made clear and the numerous worked examples and problems are especially relevant and useful.

I also have copies of Stephen Wolfram’s “The MATHEMATICA ® Book”, Version 5, and Heikki Ruskeepaa’s “Mathematica Navigator”, Third Edition. The former is now out of date, stopping at Mathematica version 5, and Paul Wellin is much more successful than Stephen Wolfram at explaining how to actually use Mathematica. “Mathematica Navigator” is a very good general reference and covers more Mathematica features, such as the data functions, but is basically written about Mathematica version 6, with addenda to cover version 7, and is not as good at explain the fundamentals of Mathematica programming.

None of these books provides a comprehensive reference to some very important features of Mathematica, and its own documentation is also deficient in these areas.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great support 30 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very interesting book for learning how to use that wonderful tool called "Wolfram MaThematica". Thanks a lot. To recommend, of course
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mathematica as a programming language 17 April 2013
By Diogo - Published on
This book is quite nice and it was written in Mathematica itself, so this already provides an idea of how much one can do with Mathematica. Chapter 1 begins with a tour of some of the main capabilities using eye-catching examples (there are plenty of eye-catching examples throughout the text), which was exactly what I needed to get started. However, as I went deeper, I found that the book is mostly about the Mathematica language -- its structures, lists, rules, expressions, functions, etc. -- and less about "how to do math with Mathematica", which was perhaps what I was looking for.

Nevertheless, I kept reading and actually trying out many of the examples. The author uses Mac OS, but is sufficiently careful to point out differences to other OSes whenever appropriate (I used Mathematica both in Windows and Linux, the only issue that I found was that the sound routines in Section 10.3 do not work on Linux).

Despite the focus on "programming with Mathematica" rather than "doing math with Mathematica", after reading this book I feel quite comfortable with the tool and its language. For example, I can browse through the documentation and immediately understand the syntax of all Mathematica functions and how to use them in my code.

The rich set of examples throughout the book also helps in this respect, but in some examples it would be useful to have more detailed explanations. The author is absolutely proficient with Mathematica, but the text explanations could be made more precise, especially when the examples become relatively complex.

This means that using this book for self-study can be challenging. I can imagine that it would be much easier if I would be attending classes and a teacher would walk me through through some of these examples. From a teaching perspective, the book is a wonderful resource.

One final comment, at times I found myself wondering how to type some special symbols in Mathematica, could not find it in the symbol palettes, and had to go look it up on the Web. For example, an undirected edge in a graph is written as Esc+ue+Esc. The book does not always mention how to type these special inputs.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great introduction book on programming with mathematica 7 April 2013
By XX - Published on
This book is an updated version of the book "An Introduction to Programming with Mathematica®". The original book is already very good: nice and clear explaination, logical organization, etc. This book introduces the usage of several new functions in Mathematica 9.0 (such as Pick). Compared with the older version, there are two noticeable updates. One is regarding the examples. The author seems put lots of considerations in selecting the examples: the topics vary from computer science subject (such as random graph), numerical analysis, to data processing in biology (protein data, etc.). The other significant change is that patterns and rules are introduced immediately after the discussion of list, before functional programming. This seems a better choice than the older version, where rule programming is put after functional programming, considering that patterns and rules play such an important role in mathematica.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of recent books on Mathematica i've seen. 17 Jun 2013
By Tom Doggett - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This 700+ page textbook from Cambridge is pricey, but thorough. It tells the student to also reference Mathematica's own excellent explanations which are easily accessible within the program itself, but to learn Mathematica through the excellent built in reference material is like trying to drink the ocean. This book adds structure to the learning process. Don't miss the answers to the practice problems. They can be downloaded for free from the book store under this book's title and author's name ( Working through these problems at the end of each chapter is clearly intended to be a large part of the learning process. They're not a snap so you need the answers PDF file to see tricks not covered in the chapter. This book uses Mathematica version 8.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent source of practical information for beginners of Mathematica! 4 Jun 2013
By Hector I Amadeo - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book starts you with all the pertinent information to get you started. Once you are familiar with the material, it provides practical application and example on how to use the built in functions. I recommend this textbook for those who are new and intermediate users of Mathematica.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction 14 May 2013
By doodler - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just a wonderful introduction to Mathematica. Gives a very precise programming introduction as well as mathematical exposure to the core elements of the program.
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