For questions regarding the underlying implementation of built-in functions.

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66
votes
2answers
747 views

Why are numeric division and subtraction not handled better in Mathematica?

There is something that has been troubling me for a while. At least in version 7, the performance of a / b and a - b is not ...
44
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the most convenient way to read definitions of in-memory symbols when we don't have the source files? (Spelunking tools)

Note: I put Simon's implementation on GitHub. Contributions welcome! When trying to read the definition of already defined (package or built-in) symbols using ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

How does Interpolation really work?

I'm looking for some explanation or advice, not help in solving something. Recently I finished my program and my supervisor said "Ok, now it's time for your first paper: write a scientific text about ...
25
votes
0answers
588 views

What calendar is Mathematica using for dates in the distant past?

It appears that Mathematica treats all dates as proleptic Gregorian dates by default, a hypothesis that can be easily tested by using AbsoluteTime to compute the ...
24
votes
1answer
439 views

What's inside InterpolatingFunction[{{1., 4.}}, <>]?

I'm curious what's inside the InterpolationFunction object? For example: ...
24
votes
1answer
538 views

How are MemberQ and FreeQ so fast?

I would like to understand the implementation that allows MemberQ and FreeQ to be as fast as they are. I noticed this thanks to ...
21
votes
2answers
588 views

How does Plot work?

I considered the following function: sin[x_] := Module[{}, Print["x=", x]; Sin[x] ] in Mathematica. Next, I tried to plot it using: ...
21
votes
3answers
350 views

Efficiently appending points to a NearestFunction

I have a program which works with a list of points (in 3D, but it could be in 1D as well, it won't make a difference). Within a loop, it keeps adding new points to the list. To calculate the ...
20
votes
2answers
432 views

How to implement FittedModel like objects

In the course of making some RLink wrappers I want to have some richer containers like Mathematica does with its FittedModel ...
20
votes
2answers
547 views

How to retrieve the parameters calculated and used by ImageAdjust?

When ImageAdjust is called with an image, i.e. with one parameter, it returns an automatically adjusted Image. I would like to ...
19
votes
0answers
275 views

Why does list assignment with a packed array result in unpacked values?

This is another question on the design choices in Mathematica. I understand that without direct reply from the developers it may not be possible to give a definitive and exhaustive answer to "why" ...
18
votes
2answers
545 views

Blend code for built-in ColorData schemes

Hi I want to get a blend similar to "SunsetColors". To make those slight modifications, I would like to know the precise blend of that color scheme. My try: ...
17
votes
1answer
352 views

Underlying Algorithms for List Manipulation Functions

Does anyone know, or know of a link for the underlying algorithms used for list manipulation functions? Specifically: Union with and without the ...
16
votes
1answer
373 views

What does “suitable for symbolic manipulation” in the documentation mean?

This question is related to this other one I posted on Stack Overflow some time ago. There, in a beautiful answer, acl (with some unhumble editing done by me) showed that the derivative of ...
14
votes
2answers
423 views

Why does iterating Prime in reverse order require much more time?

Say I would like to display the $10$ greatest primes that are less than $10^5$. I could do the following: ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

How does Mathematica integrate?

Basically, this question can be considered to be an extenstion to my other question. What I wanted to do was this integral as homework (it is indefinite BTW so no approximations using Simpson's Rule ...
12
votes
1answer
316 views

What is the real default CellEvaluationFunction?

The default CellEvaluationFunction is Identity but one can quickly see that this is handled specially as an equivalent function, ...
10
votes
1answer
257 views

Why doesn't Mathematica pack Boolean arrays?

I've been wondering about this for a while now, so I'm going to ask. This is a question about the design of Mathematica, which perhaps cannot be directly answered by anyone but the designers, however ...
9
votes
1answer
147 views

Algorithm used by IsomorphicGraphQ

I'd like to know which algorithm is used to test if two graphs are isomorphic?
9
votes
1answer
123 views

What is the default ColorFunction for Image3D?

What is the default ColorFunction for Image3D? I find it a bit confusing that the most intense colour is not shown where the ...
9
votes
1answer
93 views

Why does $Failed have attribute HoldAll?

Why does $Failed have attribute HoldAll? Are there typical situations where $Failed is ...
8
votes
3answers
436 views

The default bandwidth of the SmoothKernelDistribution function

I am researching the Silverman rule of thumb for bandwidth selection. Below is a sample of my code, from which it seems that BW=63 is close to the default parameter given by Mathematica (2 images are ...
8
votes
1answer
279 views

How to check for Mathematica’s definition of XY?

The question is: Can I ask the Mathematica kernel directly what it takes as the definition of the built-in symbol XY? After all this has to be in the kernel. And if the documentation is not giving any ...
8
votes
1answer
251 views

How does LocationTest choose its “AutomaticTest”?

Is there a way of determining how LocationTest chooses its "AutomaticTest"? Sometimes it's clear from the ...
8
votes
0answers
482 views

Does Mathematica use the Elliptic Curve Method (ECM) in FactorInteger[]?

I'm not a mathematician, and I'm not even going to pretend that I understand anything of the ECM. But I know it can be a fast method for factorization. I benchmarked the factorization of ...
7
votes
2answers
424 views

How does Mathematica determine that an evaluation should be terminated?

How exactly does Mathematica determine that evaluation of particular expression should be finished and the result should be returned? Here are some examples of unclear behavior which have arisen, ...
7
votes
1answer
555 views

What are the algorithm details of FindRoot?

The Help page of FindRoot says: "by default, FindRoot uses Newton's method (Newton-Raphson) to solve a nonlinear system". But I ...
7
votes
2answers
193 views

Get name of hidden inbuilt functions (like Ticks drawing)

how do I get the name and definition of a builtin Mathematica functions? For instance, I would like to see how default Tick plotting function is implemented. However, it is not clear where it is and ...
7
votes
0answers
104 views

Apart may use Padé method: what's that?

How does Apart work? The page tutorial/SomeNotesOnInternalImplementation#7441 says, "Apart ...
6
votes
9answers
824 views

Find the smallest positive integer that satisfies a certain condition

I know Mathematica is really powerful when it comes to functional operations like applying a list of tasks to a list of variables. Sometimes I feel like it isn't the most powerful tool when it comes ...
6
votes
2answers
98 views

Algorithm in RandomChoice[{w1,w2,…}->{e1,e2,…},n]?

I wonder if someone happens to know the actual algorithm implemented in the particular overload of RandomChoice that handles explicitly presented discrete ...
6
votes
1answer
232 views

What algorithm is Mathematica 9 using for “SpectralEmbedding” of graphs?

When I specify that a graph should be realized using the "SpectralEmbedding" procedure, what paper / algorithm for spectral embedding is this based on? I was unable to find any documentation for ...
6
votes
1answer
100 views

What is the simplest way to determine which call to a superfunction has generated a Message?

I have a complicated function which contains many calls to NIntegrate, NSolve, FindRoot and ...
6
votes
1answer
440 views

The difference between “SymbolicProcessing” -> 0 and restricting the function definition to numeric values only

The Documentation tells us that there are two ways to disable symbolic processing of the integrand by the NIntegrate function when it is known that it just slows ...
6
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the underlying algorithm for GroupElementToWord?

What algorithm is Mathematica 9 using for GroupElementToWord[group, g]?
6
votes
0answers
145 views

Finding hidden treasure (aka finding undocumented functions) [duplicate]

I was searching for a way to determine if a point is within a polygon and stumbled upon rm -rf's answer. (actually, I really wanted to find a point within a ...
6
votes
0answers
108 views

Design considerations behind `O` (a.k.a. BigOh, a.k.a. Landau Order)

This works without any warnings: O[Log[x]]. This raises a warning: O[x^2]. I have a few questions around this: Why is it a ...
5
votes
2answers
268 views

How to interpret the FullForm of a SparseArray?

SparseArrays are atomic objects, but they do have a FullForm which reveals information about them. What is the meaning of the ...
5
votes
3answers
223 views

How could I implement the equivalent of NextPrime

I would like to know what an implementation of the function NextPrime would look like if it were implemented in Mathematica's core language.
5
votes
2answers
205 views

Where can I get detailed information on how the Plot command works?

The command Plot[x^2, {x, -3, 3}, PlotStyle -> Arrowheads[{-.025, .025}]] /.Line -> Arrow produces this output. What I don't understand is what ...
5
votes
1answer
229 views

Can we know the background code associated with basic mathematica functions

I wanted to know how computers calculate basic functions like Sqrt so first I checked how humans do it I found that they use something called "Newton's method" that ...
4
votes
2answers
291 views

Implementation of builtin function Fold

In the documentation for fold, it says Fold[f,x,list] gives the last element of FoldList[f,x,list]. But this is surely not the way it is implemented, right? ...
4
votes
2answers
387 views

Any ideas on how GeneralMiniMaxApproximation is implemented?

GeneralMiniMaxApproximation is used to construct minimax approximations of parametrically defined functions. I am curious about how ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

Use of Strassen's algorithm

Strassen's algorithm is an algorithm for matrix multiplication that is asymptotically faster than the naive one. In practice, the matrices involved have to be quite large before Strassen's algorithm ...
4
votes
1answer
287 views

How does Mathematica calculate the nth prime?

When I enter Prime[2000000000000], the two-trillionth prime, Mathematica gives 61427839512211 for the answer after several ...
4
votes
1answer
986 views

Methods for NonlinearModelFit

I am using NonlinearModelFit for a thesis project. I get quite different results if I change the Method to LevenbergMarquardt or QuasiNewton or ConjugateGradient ...
4
votes
1answer
309 views

How does Mathematica's LowpassFilter work?

I don't really understand the documentation for the LowpassFilter[] function in Mathematica. In the course I have about signal processing, low-pass filters come in ...
4
votes
0answers
90 views

Given two samples, how does LocationTest select its AutomaticTest?

How does LocationTest select its "AutomaticTest" when testing two samples? Background: A previous post poses a similar question ...
4
votes
0answers
84 views

JewishNewYear date limitation

The documentation for the function "JewishNewYear" in the "calendar" package declares that the year argument must be between 1900 and 2100. No explanation is given for this limitation. The function ...
3
votes
2answers
202 views

What does MinimalPolynomial do?

suppose $x^5-x-1=0$, $y^7-y-1=0$ and $z=x+y$. I want to find a minimal polynomial expression of $z$, such that $p(z)=0$, and the code can be written like this: ...